Are you feeding your family on a budget right now? The cost of feeding your family can add up, no matter how many family members you have. Many parents think that shopping on a budget means purchasing foods that aren’t as healthy.
The good news is that feeding your family on a budget doesn’t mean that you need to give up nutritious options! All it takes is a little bit of creativity and using nutrient-dense foods that are easy on the hip pocket.
Watch the video below or keep reading to learn more about feeding your family on a budget.
Feeding Your Family On A Budget
Including fruit & veggies (without breaking the budget!)
We know that our kids need to eat more fruit and veg. You don’t want to miss out on including a good amount of fruit and veg in the family diet – they are packed full of nutrients, fibre and antioxidants. But the cost can also add up, especially when using fresh produce.
With that in mind, we’ve pulled together some simple tips to keep fruit and veggies more affordable.
Buy in-season produce
This is easy to do if you shop at the farmers’ markets, but supermarkets sell everything all year round!
You can look up which fruits and veg are in-season for your area, but there is an even quicker way to do it: look at what is cheapest. When a fruit or veggie is in season, there is an abundance of it, which drops the price.
Another handy hint is to stock up when your favourite fruits and veggies are in season. You can use them in your cooking, but you can also freeze most fruit and veg to use later in the year.
Focus on the staples
There are staple veggies that are almost always cheap. Carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, cabbage and pumpkin are a few examples of vegetables that are low-cost year-round. Use these veg to bulk up your meals whenever possible.
Many markets and supermarkets also offer ‘seconds’ or ‘odd bunch’ produce. These are fruit and veg that don’t look perfect, so they are sold at a cheaper price. For example, you can get big bags of juicing apples and carrots or saucing tomatoes.
Grow your own
This is a great project to keep the kids occupied while they are at home! You don’t have to start an extensive garden overnight – start with some easy basics.
Greens like spinach and kale are easy and can be harvested quickly. Herbs like parsley, coriander, thyme and rosemary are low maintenance and easy to use.
You can simply pick what you need, which reduces waste. Your kids are also more likely to eat veggies and herbs that they have helped to plant and grow!
Affordable protein options
A big chunk of the family budget is often proteins. We want to make sure we provide adequate protein, as it helps our kids to stay full and maintain a stable mood! But it can also add up if you’re eating meat every day.
To help you stay on track with your budget, here are some tips for reducing the cost of protein.
Eat less meat
This is an easy way to save money! Aim to have a few vegetarian lunches and dinners every week. Vegetarian-based proteins can be much more affordable, as we’ll discuss a bit later.
Stretch the meat you have
Use ingredients such as wholegrains, legumes and veggies to stretch the meal. This allows you to use the same amount of meat you’d usually eat in one meal and make it last for 2-3 meals instead.
Use cheaper cuts of meat
Forget the lamb backstrap and porterhouse steak! Go for cheaper cuts of meat instead. Often, kids love cheaper cuts such as mince meat, preservative-free sausages, chicken wings and drumsticks.
Slow-cooked meats are often cheaper – think chuck steak and lamb neck. They go great in soups and casseroles. You can also buy a whole chicken and get multiple meals out of it – use the flesh for wraps, the wings and drumsticks as another meal, and then use the bones to make some broth.
Alternative sources of protein
Meat is not the only source of protein – there are others that are more affordable! Think:
- Fish – tinned options such as salmon and sardines are cheaper than fish fillets. You can mix them through pasta, add to homemade pizzas, or make them into fish patties with some eggs, zucchini and flour.
- Eggs – even good-quality eggs are cheaper than your average cut of meat. You can add them to any meal (or snack) of the day! Make up a frittata, whip up an omelette, bake them into egg muffins or boil them up for snacking on.
- Grains and legumes – these nutrient-dense foods have a decent amount of protein, and are super-affordable.
Using wholegrains and legumes
These are great cheap filler ingredients! Many cuisines, including Mexican and Indian, use wholegrains and legumes to make filling dishes that are also full of nutrients.
You can use options such as:
- Brown rice
- Wholegrain pasta
- Butter beans
If your family aren’t big on legumes, use them to bulk up your meat dishes. You can add some lentils into spag bol or some beans into your taco mince to make the meal stretch. Soups and curries can also hide legumes easily.
You can even make your own dips using legumes. Kids generally love hummus, and you can make it at home with just a few simple and affordable ingredients! This makes for a great protein source at lunch – simply add some brown rice crackers and veggie sticks.
When the kids are stuck at home, they are constantly eating! They’re bored, they have access to the kitchen, so they often graze away for hours. This is where the family food budget can blow out if you’re not careful.
The good news is there are ways you can keep tummies happy and stay on track with your budget.
Having set snack times
If you let your kids have free range of the kitchen, snacks will disappear quickly! That’s why we have set eating times for meals and snacks. Let them know that they can have one snack in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Pack a lunchbox
Even though most kids aren’t at school at the moment, you can still pack a lunchbox! This gives them a set amount of snacks and food to eat throughout the day.
Make your own nutritious snacks
There are plenty of homemade snacks you can whip up that are easy and affordable. Here are a few of our favourites:
- Homemade dip – make a big batch of hommus and serve it with brown rice crackers and carrot sticks. You can freeze the leftover dip as well!
- Brown rice cakes – even organic rice cakes can be found at your local supermarket for just a couple of dollars. Spread with peanut butter as a cheap snack that keeps your kids fuller for longer.
- Popcorn – popcorn kernels are incredibly cheap, and popcorn is fun for the kids to make with you! Simply pop it yourself in some oil – we use coconut oil, then sprinkle with some salt and rapadura sugar.
- Homemade baked goods – this is another good project for the kids to get involved with. You can bulk up your biscuits, muffins and cakes with cheap fruit, veg and grains such as carrots, apples and oats.
- Yoghurt – pre-portioned squeeze yoghurts aren’t worth it when the kids are home! Instead, get a big tub of plain natural yoghurt. You can add some fruit or a sweetener like maple syrup to flavour it.
Are you looking to feed your family on a budget, but still support their immune health over the wintertime? Make sure you download our FREE Foods To Boost Immunity Cheat Sheet here.