Image by: geralt
By Robert Spencer
We all dream about starting something, being our own bosses, happily going to work, and being able to provide for our families without having to worry about a job that we don’t like or which bill to pay first. However, for some of us that entrepreneurial dream is just out of our grasp. Before we worry about being able to make our dreams come true, we have to worry about the present situation: putting food on the table.
We’re all hard working people but some have to struggle a little harder than others. For some it’s luck and for others it’s just the short end of the stick. Unfortunately, the cheapest items on the grocery shelves aren’t the healthiest. In fact, most cheap foods are packed with “flavor enhancers” (that are bad for your health) and preservatives (that aren’t really that much better).
What are the healthiest options for the working man on a budget? Or the family man on a budget? Check out some of your options in the list below.
#1) More Than Ramen and Mac & Cheese
There really are better options than your college must-haves. I’m sure that you got really creative with Ramen noodles while you were in your dorm (I know that I lived off sites like this). However, we should have grown out of that stage by this point in our lives, right?
The key is to look at other things to spice up “regular” meals. Sure, rice and beans are cheap. You know what else is fairly inexpensive as well? Eggs and potatoes. Eggs are a great source of protein and potatoes (especially sweet potatoes) are a great filler as well.
#2) Those Green Leafy Things…
You may not have a green thumb. Perhaps your wife does. You can even start your own vegetable garden as a family project. Chances are if your kids grow their own vegetables, they will be more apt to eat them anyway.
You don’t have to stop their either. Fresh herbs are good for your health and help to add flavor to meals so that you will use less salt.
You can also grow your own fruits. Some are a little harder than others but grapevines and strawberry patches are always a good way to start.
#3) One Chicken to Rule Them All
One roast chicken can give you so many options. In most grocery stores, you can find whole chickens frozen for anywhere from $4.00 to $15.00 (it depends on where you go and whether or not you get organic). From that one chicken you can have two different meals: chicken and potatoes on Monday night then Tuesday, you can use the bones to make a chicken broth for soup.
If you’re tired of the whole chicken and potatoes thing, you can pull the meat off the bones and mix them up with some stir fry for an Asian meal. If you’re feeling more like Mexican, you can throw the shreds into a tortilla and mix in some rice and beans for some burritos. Need more ideas? Check out this awesome list at Cooking Light.
#4) Who Has Time to Cook?
Some of your wives may complain about cooking. After a hard day at work, no one really wants to spend time in the kitchen, right? Well, it might help motivate you and your wife if you make a family affair out of it. You can all meet in the kitchen and help cook dinner. It’s quality time together. You’ll be teaching your kids some healthy habits. You will also be saving money by not eating out. Not only that, it’ll be faster if you have some help.
You don’t even have to do it every night. If you all meet in the kitchen on Sunday night, you can cut up the veggies and prepare the meat one day and then freeze them in individual bags. Cut up all of the veggies that are needed for a pot roast on Wednesday, throw them in a Ziplock bag, then throw them in the freezer. Wednesday morning, empty the bag(s) and all of the pot roast necessities into the slow cooker and let it do all of the hard work while you and your wife are working hard. You get to come home to a nice, home-cooked meal. Slow cooker liners make clean-up that much easier as well.
#5) Don’t Get Left Behind
Don’t throw food away if you make too much. Leftovers can be saved for the next day. You can even revamp it into a new meal. Leftover chicken? Throw it in a casserole with some rice, broccoli, and cream of chicken soup for a warm casserole.
Grate too much cheese? Have half of an onion left over? Don’t throw them away. Just wrap them up for later use.
Now it’s your turn. What do you and your family do to save time and money on food? What do you do to ensure that you and your family are eating healthy? What healthy habits have you picked up since you’ve been out of college? Got something to share? Let us know what’s on your mind by writing your thoughts, ideas, and questions in the comment section below.