Did you start the new year off with plans to eat more fresh veggies and fruits? And also slim down your food budget?
These two commitments are not at odds with each other, despite what your current grocery bills may say. These two goals can play on the same team – your team for your health.
Here are a few ways to make enjoying more fresh produce AND having a reasonable food budget work for you
1. Take stock of what you have before you go to the store. Easy peasey simple as that. Check out what you have and incorporate your fresh veggies that are getting not-so-fresh into your next meal. Boom. One thing done without another dollar spent!
2. Make stock regularly. This is one of my favorite food stretching tips to share, and you may already be aware of the benefits of saving your food scraps! As you chop things like onions, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, sweet potatoes, ginger, and mushrooms, keep the ends that you would otherwise compost or throw away:
- Keep a produce bag from the grocery store right next to your cutting board and toss in all stock-worthy food scraps (even onion peels!)
- Keep the stock bag the freezer. Pull it out each time you are chopping.
- Once the bag is full, dump the contents into a pot and add a couple peppercorns or bay leaves and cover the veggies with water.
- Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour and voila! You have a flavorful cooking liquid for soups, braises, and for cooking grains and beans with added nutrition.
If you are using meat in your stock (chicken bones, beef scraps) you can cook the stock for up to 24 hours to make bone broth. Be sure to add a splash of apple cider vinegar to the stock to help release all that good-for-you gelatin.
3. Stock up on easy-to-use flavor boosters. This last tip is a sure-fire way to ensure you eat up all your veggies without any resistance (“Plain broccoli again? Ugh. Maybe not tonight”). Make big batches of flavorful sauces and dressings and keep in smaller containers in your fridge and freezer. With them, produce-centric meals and snacks come together in a pinch.
If you need flavor inspiration, check out my new sauces cookbook if you haven’t already!
I hope you enjoy taking stock of your food saving tips and that these three help you to keep your food budget manageable while still buying a bounty of fresh foods!