Eating Healthy … and Frugal?

Eating Healthy and Frugal, header image

I have often heard people say that healthy food cost more, I may even have heard myself say that from time to time. This may be true if you are considering ‘healthy’ food to come in a box or package from the grocery store. Many of those items, while they are healthier then there alternatives, still contain preservatives, chemicals and fillers. The best way to be healthy and frugal with your diet is to make it yourself. When you DIY you know exactly what your are eating and you can substitute ingredients for healthier options.

TIPS:
• Try to buy produce when it is in season or a sale item, buy in bulk and freeze the extra
• Growing your own produce is a great way to stretch a buck, there are even some items you can grow from kitchen scraps

• Don’t buy packaged, processed foods … make your own when you can

• Cook large portions and freeze the leftovers for when you need a quick meal

• Cut down on your meat and try some alternative forms of protein. Most people consume more animal protein than they need. In other words, don’t make the meat the main focus of your dish

• Buy only what you need and plan your meals ahead. Try and incorporate some of the ingredients into multiple dishes so you get the most bang for your buck

• Buy ‘no-name’ brands when you can, however some economy brands may be stuffed with fillers and chemicals so check the ingredients first

• Compare unit sizes and prices to make sure you’re getting the most for your money, packaging can be deceiving

 

ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF PROTEIN:
• Beans and Legumes
• Quinoa, Seitan and Tempeh
• Tofu and Soy
• Nuts and Seeds
• Green Peas, Edamame and Leafy Greens
• Eggs

• If you eat meat, consider adding more fish to your diet. You can purchase frozen fillets (no batter) in the seafood section for about $10 a bag (around 10 fillet/bag) and each fillet has about 20g of protein.

 

HEALTHY INGREDIENT SWAPS:
• Applesauce in place of oil, butter or sugar
• Nonfat greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayo
• Mashed avocado in place of butter or oil in baking
• Mashed Bananas in place of sugar, butter or fats
• Rolled oats instead of bread crumbs
• Whole wheat flour instead of white flour
• Pureed potato instead of cream for soups
• Less salt, more spices

Advertisements

Fluffy Homemade Pancakes

This week I tried to post a recipe that I found on Pinterest and wanted to share with all of you, I ran into some copyright issues with a fellow blogger who had ‘adapted’ this recipe from one found on Allrecipes.ca. So after doing some research in recipe copyright laws, I have learned that basically a list of ingredients can not be copyrighted so I shall supply those for you, and as long as I tell you in my own words how I made this recipe then I am not breaking any copyright laws. Next time I make these I will photograph them myself and post them on this page. Well there is a lot to be learned in this adventure in blogging.

Pancakes are a staple at our house, my son is addicted to them and eats them for breakfast, when he gets home from school and any other time I will allow it. I basically have to buy syrup in bulk, it’s ridiculous how much of it we go through. I like to make a big batch of pancakes and freeze them so I can just pop them in the toaster for a few minutes and we are good to go.

DRY INGREDIENTS:
2 cups of flour
4 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of cinnamon

WET INGREDIENTS:
2 eggs
3 tablespoons of melted margarine/butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla

DIRECTIONS:
1. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl

2. Mix all wet ingredients in a separate bowl then pour into dry ingredients and whisk away

3. Preferably using a non-stick frying pan either sprayed with cooking oil or lightly oiled with whatever you have and heated over medium heat, ladle out a scoop of batter (I use a soup ladle). When the pancake starts to bubble, stick your flipper under it and if it’s brown you may go ahead a flip the pancake over. Resist the urge to flatten your pancake with the flipper because here is where they start to get fluffy. Check the bottom of the pancake after a few seconds and if it’s nice and brown you can go ahead and consider that a done deal.

4. Repeat process for other pancakes

5. If you are freezing them, allow the pancakes to cool and then pop them in a freezer bag

This recipe was adapted from Allrecipes.ca

Lesson Three: Find the Buried Treasure

In Lesson Three, we must challenge ourselves to get more organized. Go through your pantry and freezer, throw out all the stale or freezer-burned foods, then put a system in place that is going to work for you. You may wish to use bins or baskets in your pantry or freezer to help keep things organized. I grouped like things together, such as cans, pasta and rice, baking supplies, snacks, etc. In the process of doing this you may discover you have an abundance of almost finished bags of rice, random cans of beans and you may even find things you don’t remember purchasing.

Reasons to organize your pantry and freezer
• You probably have more food than you realize, you just can’t find it
• It’s easier to do inventory before you go grocery shopping, you can clearly see what you already have
• It’s less frustrating when you are trying to throw together a meal (it feels like you have nothing to make because you have to dig through your pantry and freezer trying to find ingredients to piece together a meal)
• Food doesn’t get wasted and left behind, I was pulling out freezer burned meat, stale crackers and ridiculously old bags of chips, etc.

Reasons to portion and label your meat and other frozen items
• No products are wasted because you have to defrost a pack of 4 chicken breast when you only need 2, etc.
• The labelling is especially useful if you’re sick of your husband/other holding up pieces of meat to you and asking you what they are
• When everything is portioned into convenient little baggies, it’s easy to group like items together or even put the smaller baggies into a larger freezer bag so you can keep all chicken together, all beef together, etc.

So far with the better organization and planning, dinner at our house has been way less annoying. I keep the meal planning list on my fridge so I can refer to it everyday and choose what’s for dinner. Because I have also been packing up the left overs, labelling them and freezing them … I am beginning to  build up my stock of ready to heat meals which I suspect will come in handy after the baby is born.

Download Meal Plan Sheet

Lesson Two: One Pot Wonders

In my quest for frugal meals I have discovered that it is all about the ‘One Pot’ Meal. Things like soups, stews, casseroles, pies, crock pot meals, roasted meat with veggies and stir frys ( I think that’s the plural form ). The advantage of these meals is that you can basically just chuck whatever odds and ends you have in your fridge into a pot or other cooking device and create a hearty meal that goes far. Obviously I’m not going to suggest living purely off these items alone, of course if you are an extremist you may wish to do so, but the rest of us can certainly incorporate these types of dishes into our lives 3 times a week or so.

Soups are great for lunches and they can be made in large batches and frozen. Feel free to get as creative as you want with soup, there really aren’t any rules, just chuck whatever you want into a pot and cook it. However, for a little guidance you may wish to consult such resources as Pinterest, Allrecipes, Martha Stewart, Canadian Living, Chatelaine or simply do a google search for one pot meals.

Another advantage of these meals is that they are easy. You basically just have to chop and dump things into a pot then cook for at least an hour. The only disadvantage is that you generally need to plan ahead because most recipes require a bit of time for cooking in order to get the most flavour out of the dish. Lucky for us, Planning Ahead was lesson one.