Thursday, December 8, 2011

Healthy (Budget Friendly) Family Recipes

So you want to eat healthy, but you're on a budget and you have a family to feed? No problem. This can be done. 

The first step is finding out where you can get good for you foods at a cheaper cost. 

Low and behold, I give you Costco. I am more and more impressed with them lately. Their brand of chicken is antibiotic and hormone free. They have huge tubs of organic spinach, not to mention quite a few other fruits and veggies that are organic. The have wild Atlantic salmon, tubs of gluten free hummus, and sausages that are all natural and nitrate free. Since healthy living is becoming more mainstream, more and more places are getting in on the health craze, which is good for all of us. 

Even at your local grocery store (in the regular food aisle, not the fancy healthy food section) they now have gluten free pancakes mixes, brownie mixes, and bread mixes. I had no idea until last week! Incredibly impressed, I am.

Another option, as mentioned here, would be simply avoiding "The Dirty Dozen" fruits and veggies. Or going to your local farmers market. Believe it or not, farmers markets can be cheaper than grocery stores.  In Mesa there is a place called Superstition Ranch Market. It's an indoor market which has incredibly low priced fruits and veggies. You can leave there with bags full of good stuff for $15. Sometimes it's hit or miss, and it's not all local or organic, but it's great if you're on a budget. A lot of towns have places like this just waiting to be discovered. Do a Google search for local food markets and see what you come up with. 

Now that you have your foods, it's time to get recipes. 

The key to a healthy recipe is the ingredients. You don't have to get all crazy and buy out your local health food store, thus spending a zillion dollars. You simply cut out the bad and add in the good. You substitute, if you will. Instead of butter, use olive oil. Instead of white flour, use wheat or a gluten free version. Limit fried foods or avoid them all together. Make your dinner plates be veggie packed. If you want to save meat, which is always the most expensive thing, substitute a meal once or twice a week with another type of protein, like beans or quinoa. 

I am no recipe making genius. I either accidentally make a recipe out of hunger or I re-create something I've seen. I like to take recipes that other people have and make them good for me. I  sign up for Whole Foods emails where I get recipes about once a week. Yes, Whole Foods can be expensive, but the recipes are great and they very often have amazing coupons. Plus, you can always substitute what they call for in a recipe with something else that's more affordable. 

If you can't do gluten, sign up for Living Without's weekly recipe. I also like Eating Well as they often have pretty good recipes and budget plans, all in one.

Another trick I learned from my whole foods cuisine training with Rachel was: Shop Ahead, Chop Ahead, Cook Ahead. This simply means make enough of whatever you're working on for plenty of leftovers. This way you're not spending extra time trying to come up with a new healthy recipe for dinner or lunch the next day. 

Here are some yummy, budget friendly, healthy recipes to try out with your family.

Beef and Potato Salad with Smoky Chipotle

Cincinnati Chili

Also, one of my favorite dinner items is breakfast. Make this quiche recipe and you'll stay on your budget, plus have leftovers. The beauty of it is that you can add whatever you want to it. More veggies, more seasoning, whatever you want.'s so easy to make. The only "special" ingredient you need is almond flour.

If you have kids and you need to get them eating healthy, smoothies are a great start. You can make a yummy green smoothie or a berry antioxidant rich one, providing them with good nutrients and a delicious start to their day.

To make a green smoothie, take my Banana Smoothie recipe and add in a handful of kale or spinach, or both. To make it tropical, add in a peach or mango. For a berry mix, throw in a variety of berries and blend. Voila. Good for you and delicious.

One of my favorite snacks is the peanut butter apple sandwich, which is a kid favorite. It's incredibly easy and good for you, but I took the recipe from Whole Foods and made it even easier and healthier. Just use the apple and peanut butter and leave everything else off. The apple in itself is sweet enough if you get the right kind. If your kids allergic to peanuts, no problem. Substitute almond butter instead.

Thanks to my two Jessica's for wanting info on this topic! Excellent Idea!

More questions? Let me know. Or if you have any healthy budget friendly recipes, email me. Sharing is good for all of us.

Related Posts
Paleo Comfort Foods: Review and Recipes
Veggie Salad with Very Easy Vinaigrette
Gluten Free Banana Bread
Recipes from The Gluten Free Baker and more from Paleo Comfort Foods

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