Healthy Pantry With Coupons
Jan 26, 2018
Are you saving money and preparing healthier meals in 2018? Us too! This year is our year to save more money than ever, and to strengthen up as we do it. Our family is complicated. Each week I prepare a ridiculous amount of meals. Some of those meals are to eat right away, others are to pack in lunches or use at a later date.
I work from home so I cook all my meals at home, my 15 year old home schools and eats like a teen age boy, my college daughter just moved back in and is commuting in her final year of college and keeps STRANGE hours, my youngest is 12 and a picky eater, and packs a lunch for school everyday, and my husband who is 20 years older than me just retired and thoroughly enjoys snacking! So we have varied dinner times with different tastes. Lots of grab and go snacks, drinks and freeze ahead cooking takes place in our home
There are two big myths I encountered last year when I starting substituting healthier foods in my cart. The first is that to eat healthier, it costs more money. WRONG. The second is that to eat healthy it takes twice as much time. WRONG. At first I believed both of these myths, and it took several months for me to figure out how to keep each from coming true. Let’s discuss each.
- To save money eating healthy, you need to save money when buying ingredients. You can do this by watching the sale every week. Or, you can take control by building a healthy pantry. It’s coupon stockpiling with select interests. First, decide what you need to make cheap, fast healthy meals. My pantry desperately needed a stock of rice, whole grain pasta, canned vegetables, frozen vegetables, canned fruits, spices, olive oil, tomatoes and sauces, nuts, and beans.
Go ahead, make your list! Look at your pantry and freezer and take a quick inventory. What base ingredients are you missing? I wanted to add nuts and seeds to my diet and found out I had zero in the pantry. No wonder I wasn’t eating very many. We are going to refer to this list as your grocery HOT LIST. It’s what you need, and need lots of it.
Next, look at the brands. Do these brands offer coupons? Have you been on their website? Have you searched for that brand coupon in the Coupons.com database? It’s time. Start building your coupon stash of healthy food items from your hot list. If you don’t see a coupon for an item on your list, ask for a coupon from the website.
Now start stockpiling. When the item is on sale, and you have your coupon, or Ibotta rebate, it’s time to buy. Don’t buy one. Buy one for now, two for later. If you plan to fix a fresh rice dish this week, plan to buy a box of rice, and two more for the future. 3 boxes of rice should last you several weeks. Since you bought while it’s on sale, and with coupons or rebates, you are saving money long term.
- Time is another matter. Yes, you can spend hours in your kitchen preparing one meal. Or you can streamline a handful of meal options by gathering recipes you like. I love watching the video’s online. I watch most of them on facebook. SAVE a recipe you love by clicking the three little dots on the upper right hand of the video. It will keep them by date saved, but you can always find the recipe you are looking for later. Collect up only the videos your family will like and use those videos to help with your grocery HOT LIST.
Next, invest in a few good tools for meal prep. Have containers that you can freeze ahead meals, or use for cutting and chopping ahead of time. Good containers are easy to find and buy online. Use those to cut down on time. Use kitchen appliances that save you time. I absolutely could not cook without my crock pot or rice cooker. Both are cheapy ones purchased near the holiday shopping season and both save me oodles of time. Did you know you can cook rice, in the same time you can take a shower? Did you know that if you cook rice in the evening when taking a shower, then put it in the fridge it stir frys best the next day? It’s true! So cook ahead while you are doing something else. I’ve cooked baked potatoes in the crockpot, roast meals, dump and go meals, even desserts. Use your appliances to save oodles of time.
There are three base vegetables I keep on hand: Onions, carrots, and celery. I can find a way to add one of the three to every meal I prep. These items are super cheap, and keep for weeks. They save me time too. Why? Because If I chop them up with my food processor for the week, I just grab one and start cooking. Rarely do I have to think about it.
Start considering make ahead meals, freezer meals, or even freezing ahead portions like rice sides, that will save you time later.