Cheap, Healthy Family Dinners

Are you always striving to feed your family healthy food that is cheap? If so, View my recipes here. My name is Alison mother of two hungry boys. Not only do I love to cook, I am always trying ways to make cheap healthy family dinners. I hear all too often from other parents that it is too expensive to cook healthy meals from scratch. There is no need to blow you budget, you can make cheap healthy family dinners. All it takes is a bit of planning and some shrewd shopping.

I grew up with my Mum cooking virtually everything from scratch, and apart from the odd thing or two, it was tasty. Liver and onions was definately not a favourite, and I still would not thank you for it. When I had my boys I was certain that I was not cooking one meal for them and another for me. They ate what I ate. Family life is busy enough with out cooking multiple dishes at dinner time.

Being organised helps. If you plan your meals for the week, write a list and do a big shop, it will save going to the supermarket more times than necessary and stop the impulse buying of convenience, or take away food when you are rushing into the supermarket after work saying ‘I don’t know what’s for tea’.  Having a freezer also helps. If you have a fridge freezer, or chest freezer use it! If you are making a chilli, make enough for another dinner and freeze it. For that day when time is limited, whip the chilli out of the freezer. All that is left for you to do is cook some rice and veggies.

How many times a week do you have a takeaway meal, and how much did it cost? If you add up the price of your takeaways over a month, you may be unpleasantly surprised just how they add up. I wonder how many cheap healthy family dinners could be made for a months worth of takeaways? I am not for a total ban on takeaways, but just be aware how many you are having, and the cost and health implications. Generally takeaways are high in calories, fat and sugar, all the things we should be monitoring to keep ourselves and our families healthy.

Cheap Healthy Family Dinners

Be shrewd when shopping. Are you someone who always buys branded goods? If you are, have you thought about changing to supermarket alternatives? Generally the supermarket versions are cheaper. Have a look next time you are shopping, and consider making a change, even if it is only one item to start with.

Most supermarkets have  for example, a ‘Budget’, ‘Everyday’ and ‘Premium’ range, however the difference apart from the price,may be minimal. ‘Basic’ fresh chicken breasts are exactly the same quality to the ‘Premium’ range. The only difference is that in the premium packet, the breasts will be of equal size, whereas in the basic range, pack sizes will vary. I go for the basic range, any chicken that is left over goes into a freezer bag with the weight on the bag, and into the freezer for another day.

Often, buying more than one of something will save you money. In my local supermarket, own brand baked beans come in single cans, and in packs of 4 and 6 tins. A single tin costs 35p which is 83p per kilogram. If you buy a pack of 4, the cost is £1.70 and 68p per kilogram. A pack of 6 costs £1.70 at 67p per kilogram. You can see the difference in price is quite marked between buying 1 tin, and a pack of 4. This process applies in all areas of supermarkets, larger packs being better value for money than a smaller pack. Doing this throughout your shop will ensure your goal of cheap healthy family dinners, will be that little bit further forward. However, don’t just buy things in a bigger pack for the sake of it. If it is something you do not use very often, it may go out of date before you have used it.

In the last few years the budget supermarkets have really taken off, and offer fantastic value for money. I am luckily enough to have one of the ‘Big 5’ supermarkets near me, as well as one of the budget ones. I can then pick and choose what to buy in each supermarket. Not everyone has this choice, or time to go to two different shops. If you have a budget supermarket near you, go in and see how you can make cheap healthy family dinners.