How to Feed Your Family for Less

Nutrition // Lisa Donaldson, APD, M.Nutr&Diet, B.Edu

I often hear people say “It’s so expensive to eat healthy!” This is especially true for anyone with a big (or even small) family.

So, I thought I’d share a few meal ideas and tips that are both cost-effective and healthy!

Cost-effective proteins

Meat, fish and chicken always stand out on a receipt as they can be some of the most expensive grocery items. To reduce the cost, try some of these tips:

  • Buy bulk meat packs or meat that is on special and freeze
  • Add lentils or legumes to mince dishes to bulk out the portions. Kidney beans and lentils are cheap and work really well in bolognese, taco mince or Shepherds’ pie
  • Try eggs as the hero on the plate! Boiled and poached, or made into omelettes or frittatas – eggs are a nourishing and cheap source protein
  • When cooking a chicken casserole, bulk out the portions with diced tofu! It works really well in hearty winter casseroles with flavoursome sauces! My very fussy toddler loves tofu

Add wholegrains and frozen veggies to the plate

Growing kids need (and love) extra carbohydrates to fuel their active and growing bodies.

Ingredients like quinoa and freekeh are fabulous, but the following options are far more cost-effective.

  • Wholemeal pasta or brown rice are a fibre-rich and cheap carbohydrate source
  • Peas and corn are a winning combo. You can serve them as a side or add them to your casseroles or bolognese
  • Try meals like a tuna pasta bake loaded with some frozen peas and corn for a cost-effective option. Serve with a side of salad

Buy seasonal and shop around

Heading to the Farmer’s Markets or buying seasonal can really reduce the cost of fresh fruit and veg.

Adapt recipes by swapping out expensive fruit and veg for more seasonal ones.

Be smart about your choices – if asparagus is expensive, opt for green beans. Swap expensive ingredients for similar (and cheaper) ingredients! Also, looks for fruit and veg that may be unconventional in its shape and look. Often these are the ‘rejected’ produce, even though they still taste the same.

Now, let’s put some of these suggestions into a recipe! Click here for 12WBT’s Beef and Bean Chilli Recipe which is delicious, cheap and feeds the whole family!

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