A new baby in the house can make eating healthy food a little harder than before. Not only is your time not your own, but the household budget often takes a bruising.
Here are 11 ideas to help you and your family eat healthy food without breaking the bank.
1. Do an audit of your food on hand
If you are anything like me, you have a pantry full of stuff you’ve bought for a single recipe then forgot about. So go through the pantry, dispose of anything that’s too far past the use by date (gift to your compost or to the chooks) and then work out what’s left. Who knows, you may even get a week or so worth of recipes out of it.
2. Buy in bulk
When you are grocery shopping, think about what kind of storage space you have and buy pantry staples in bulk. You can get these at your regular supermarket.
3. Shop locally
Get your fruit, veggies and small, quality cuts of meat at a local farmers’ market. If there isn’t one near you, then go to the local butcher/fruit and veg shop. Local produce is known to be better for us thanks to the fresher nature of the food.
4. Buy less meat
Meat is expensive, and a lot of the stuff in supermarkets is less than ideal. Buy higher-cost, quality meat, but eat less. Supplement your diet with more than the usual amount of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, legumes and eggs. If you love your meat, try for just one or two nights are week that are “meat-free” and get a bit creative so that you don’t feel as though you’re missing out just because you’re not eating meat.
5. Eat seasonal food
Not only will it taste better, but it will be more nutritious, less expensive and better for the environment (reduced cold-storage warehousing).
6. Grow your own
Young kids get a huge kick out of the whole garden to plate thing, so you might find that not only does this cost less, it encourages the small people in the house to eat their veggies. And it’s so much fun.
7. Make baby’s food
You don’t need high tech gadgets. Most babies are happy with fork-mashed veggies. Although if your infant has a trigger-happy gag reflex, you might want to make their veggies very smooth. Jarred baby food has its place for convenience, but it can be very expensive for every meal.
8. Get into preserving
If you have storage space to spare, canning, drying, and freezing fresh fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to make the most of seasonal food year round.
9. Cut down on processed foods
These “fillers” are easy and convenient, but they don’t provide the nourishment of fresh food and their empty calories leave us hungry for real food.
10. Opt for package-free school lunches
Buy one of those handy lunch boxes with various separators and compartments so you can get rid of the snack-sized packets of sultanas, biscuits and more. This means you can buy snacks in bulk, and package them yourself.
11. Use a recipe planner
You can make up one yourself or download one of the many smart phone apps on the market. If you have meals planned ahead, and stick to a shopping list, you will find yourself doing less impulse buying. Also, meals can be planned around seasonal produce or pantry staples, which means less wastage.