With the prices of groceries continuing to increase and take out costing an average of $7 to $13 per person, it makes sense to not waste food and to cook more often. However, this is easier said than done because the average Canadian buys take out or eats out an average of three or more times a week (for Ontarians) according to this CBC Survey .
When it comes down to it, it really boils down to the lack of time with our society being so “go, go, go” all the time. Most people feel that they are exhausted from the long work day and the last thing they want to do is work some more by making dinner. With hidden calories in sauces and hidden ingredients in take out items like McDonalds (do they really put cocaine in their food to make it so addictive? That’s the rumor amongst my friends anyways!) the calories eaten can really add up… resulting in an unhealthy diet and even worse, an unhealthy waistline
Well, eating healthier isn’t really that difficult, you just have to put your mind to it.
Here are four tips on how to eat healthier for less:
- Do It Yourself.
This is one of the easiest (and really not really that time consuming) ways to eat healthier. I admit I was guilty of this. Instead of buying the packaged shredded mozzarella, buy a mozzarella block and grate the cheese yourself. It might be tempting to just buy the package for $8, but you can save at least $4 for more cheese and more freshly grated cheese!
Another easy to way to save money and eat better is to buy fresh ingredients and make your own quick meal (and freeze it) instead of buying a prepackaged high sodium version of the same food. Case in point- lasagna! I bought a $20 “family pack” of Club Pack Lasagna from Superstore and it is still in my deep freezer. Eleven months later. Yet I finally learned how to make fresh lasagna and it’s surprisingly easy and with half the preservatives too.
2. Be Creative With What You Have in the Fridge
Most of the time, after a long day, we open the fridge, look inside, and become overwhelmed with the abundance of food options (or lack thereof perhaps) in the fridge. Sometimes it can be so overwhelming that the wave of indecision hits and you’re left with not making a decision at all except to pick the phone and order delivery. With fantastic apps like Epicurious or the Food Network app where you can filter through “main ingredient” recipes (you know, for all the extra eggplant you have hanging around in your fridge).
3. Freeze Your Leftovers and Batch Cook
Lots of foods freeze very well, like lasagna, chili, and soups and can be made in batches, frozen in separate individually portioned sizes. This saves time and money (and leaves fewer dishes to wash too) because it’s like making your own frozen microwave dinners except you know what’s actually in your meal instead of having ingredients that you can’t really even pronounce.
- Eating Well has a great list of recipes that freeze well and are also healthy
- Delish.com also has 18 freezer meals recommended by Martha
- If you want to take it one step further, get a chest freezer and freeze your meals to your heart’s content!
4. Slow Cooker It!
Another great way to save money and time is to throw all your ingredients in the slow cooker before work. When you come home, you’ll come home to a nice aroma of a home cooked hearty meal, the perfect cure for cold weather. Slow cooker meals don’t take much preparation or time at all, usually 15 minutes maximum for prep work. They are my favourite “go-to” meal when I’m feeling fatigued from cooking after work and honestly, it is a no fail way to put a smile on your face when you come home and know that dinner is already done!
Here are five slow cooker recipes to get you started.
Hopefully these four tips help get you started to shy away from take out meals to home cooked healthy and hearty meals that are good for your soul and good for your budget.