Feeding your family with nutritious meals on a limited budget is surely a tedious task. Cooking each day, and bringing out new recipes on each meal consumes more than half of our days’ time. Being a housewife and a mother, I do realize that we have to limit our food choices sometimes. But the growing period of our kids demands healthy diet. Come on; that doesn’t mean you need to cook same typical recipes each time. No, Not at all. A little creativity can bring out a delicious meal even on a limited budget. This is what I have been thinking about lately, and in due time, I have devised certain tips. These simple budgetary and shopping hacks can allow you to cook irresistible meals, while saving money.

#1: Broaden Your Cookery Horizon​

Bored of eating similar foods? Yes, it often happens. Sometimes, not only kids but we also want to change our menus, but the budget doesn’t allow! What I usually do is to try out a Mexican, or Thai, or an Asian recipe. These recipes focus on cheaper food items, alternate ingredients or spices, and herbs to make the meal delicious. Not only you need to spend less for the making a meal, but also save some time for a quick power nap. These recipes are quick to prepare and everyone like them. Trust me, not only it is a good experience, but it also broadens your knowledge about food and cooking methods.

#2: Be Wise In Selecting A Grocery Store​

It is my personal observation that different grocery stores charge differently for similar products. Most of them have too many attractions for kids, so most of your budget is likely to be spent on rubbish if you take kids with you. I would say, carry out a market survey and select a grocery store which has high-quality products at some reasonable rates. Once you have decided this, be their regular customer, because it may win you some extra benefits or discounts. Also, keep searching for discounts or special offers and try to avail them too.

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#3: Buy Only Nutritious Foods​

No doubt it is tempting to purchase canned, processed or junk food items, especially when your children are shopping with you. The cravings are irresistible, I know, but remember that the focus is a healthy and tasty meal. Instead of spending money on Pop tarts or bagel etc., you can buy high-quality eggs, or chicken, or vegetables. Make a large bowl of soup. It is quick to make when your children are creating other mess for you to clean up. Moreover, this will be fulfilling and nourishing your kids, as well as this will be tempting too.

#4: Concentrate On Diverse Ingredients

Well, all mothers have a common perception that using meat, chicken, cheese, and eggs are the only ingredients that will make the meals delicious. To be honest, this is not true. Just because of this, today, our kids are eating more animal food than fruit and vegetables. When going out for shopping, select new and colorful vegetables. Try new recipes. You got to trust me; this will surely encourage your kids to take vegetables. To enhance the meals, try different spices and herbs. Smoked paprika, jalapeno, Bird eye chilies, oregano, dry parsley, etc., can boost the flavor and appearance of your meal.

#5: Go For Seasonal Food Items​

I know, sometimes preserved jams, jellies, sour berries, or mango chunks become irresistible items to buy. But then, what is the difference between you and your children? Remember one rule, the best way to prepare a delicious meal is to go fresh. Make sensible choices by buying only seasonal fruits. A bowl full of seasonal mixed fruit is more colorful, delicious and nutritious than a basket of sour berries. It will also save you money, which can be spent on the next meal.

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#5: Consider Bulk Shopping​

This may look like an absurd and contradictory advice, but according to my experience, it is beneficial. Buy bulk food items from stores, especially those items which can last long. For example, you can buy a huge bag of potatoes and onions, and use them for the month. Online shopping also helps. I almost always manage to troll the internet for deals in pantry supplies and other staple items. It saves me money to buy a new cute dress for my daughter.

#6: Don’t Waste​

Prepare an adequate quantity of food which should be enough for the entire family, but would not be wasted. Cook carefully so that no food is burnt, spoiled or lost during cooking. While using pans and pots for glass top stoves, be careful because this cookware causes blackening of raw veggies.

I am almost always telling my kids not to waste the food and clean their plates. Moreover, cook those recipes which are liked by all or most of the family members. If one or two recipes of yours are not up to the mark, try modifying the cooking method or add a new ingredient to it.

You can follow these tip because these are not difficult at all, especially if you are motivated to do more for your family. Whenever I personally follow even 2 or 3 above listed bits of advice, I always end up with a tempting, healthy and tasty meal on my table. New recipes, colorful ingredients, and fancy serving make my kids happy and eager to try out the new things. I gain encouragement from my successful experiences, and also save money for a party night with children. Remember, what you save today, you spend tomorrow, so keep well to spend well.​

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About the Author

Austin Sims

Currently Executive Chef at famous NY restaurant, Austin began his tenure with as Chef de Partie. He has over eight years of experience, including tenures at two- and three-Michelin star restaurants. Austin is passionate about all things cooking – products, supply chain, management, menu design, and budgeting.

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