Saturday, April 2, 2011

Frugal Tip for eating healhy on a budget ...

We survived Day One. Of course, who couldn't go only one day without spending money? I imagine everyone in the universe; except maybe Donald Trump or probably Oprah. I imagine that Oprah probably spends money just opening her eyes every morning. She probably pays someone to open her blinds for her. Anyway... back on topic....

As I mentioned on Monday, I did our usual weekly grocery trip on Thursday night. Meaning that we had plenty of fresh things on hand for dinner last night and Casey and I both ate leftovers from Dos Taquitos for lunches. See, no money spent for 24 entire hours!

What we ended up having for dinner (Chicken Nuggets) is a recipe that was supposed to be a "Freezer Meal" but we've made it twice now, and it never lasts that long. That's because it's So. Delicious. Seriously, it's just that yummy. And since Harris Teeter had chicken on sale for buy one get two free, I made a double batch.
See, it looks good doesn't it?
I also want to point out something important about this meal and really about this challenge. Frugal living can mean healthy eating too. One of the biggest reservations I had about 'coupon-shopping' when I first started doing this was that most of the coupons were for things like brownie packages, boxed pastas, sugary cereals, etc. Casey and I really don't eat a lot of "pre-packaged" or processed foods so I wasn't sure that coupon-ing would even benefit us at all.

After I started clipping and stocking up on things I realized that you can actually eat healthy on a budget. Yes, there are a lot of coupons for junk. But you don't have to use those. In fact, I would say that probably 70% of my coupons are used on things like cleaners, diapers, toilet paper, soaps, etc. Stuff that doesn't "go bad" and stuff that we will use, eventually.

For us, that freed up quite a bit of our budget to spend on fresh items (Household goods can be EXPENSIVE!). I also try to meal plan our weekly dinners around produce that's on sale. It not only saves us money, but it really gives us a pretty diverse set of recipes week to week.

In the winter months especially, eating "fresh" can be a bit of a budget buster. That's because fresh veggies and fruits are out of season and thus, higher in price. It's during this time that we use our best friend, The Freezer, to yield healthy side dish options: Frozen Vegetables. Things like these:
During Super Doubles last week at Harris Teeter, I was able to pair coupons with store sales and get about 9 packages of these quick-steam, frozen vegetables for around 40 cents a piece. That's a steal. Even better is that these veggies are usually picked at their peak and flash frozen to maintain their vitamins. So, they're just as healthy as their fresh counterparts. I really love the SteamFresh variety because they steam up in the microwave in usually around 5 minutes in their own bag (uh, hello, less dirty dishes??) and it's an insta-side to whatever main meal feature we're eating:

Frugal can be healthy!

(By the way, this is entirely my opinion of the SteamFresh line, but hey, if Birdseye wants to send a sister some free veggies...)

Again, I foolishly thought half of the nuggets would make it to the freezer and we could have an easy meal later this month. Of course, that's not what happened and we're eating the left overs for lunch and dinner again tonight. If you have more self-restraint than we do, I highly recommend this meal for your stock. I think it takes about 15 minutes to prepare and 20 to bake initially.

Oh and by the way, if you're baby is Beatrice Kate don't expect her to eat the same thing. She had one green bean and was all, "Oh, gee, that's filling. I'm soooo stuffed I just couldn't eat anything more." Sigh. Yep, the food battle rages on...

Tomorrow I'll give a tip about frugal gift-giving...

1 comment:

  1. We love those Steamfresh bags too. I am excited to see how the one month of no spending goes. I just don't know if I am that organized.