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Thursday, February 19 2009

Planning economical meals will not only stretch your grocery dollar but can also produce more nutritious and interesting meals. Some of the suggestions in this article will help you save money in your weekly food budget while cooking tasty and appealing food for your family.

This article is not going to be about saving money by sacrificing quality or variety. Meals need to be tasty and enjoyable; and satisfaction in cooking comes from sharing excellent food that contributes to a sense of comfort and connectedness with those we love. Some articles about eating on a limited budget will urge you to give up (or save for special occasions) some of the foods that you consider important for your well being. So, it is important not to economize in ways that will result in boring or inedible meals, unhappy and hungry diners, or a depressed cook. It is possible to save money and still have pleasing food on the table as well as coffee in the morning and treats when needed.

First of all, consider the likes, dislikes and dietary requirements of those in your household. You want to cook food that others will look forward to eating; and make mealtimes stress free and relaxing. For instance, it is false economy to buy liver because it is on special at the supermarket if no one will eat it. This is an extreme example, but you get the point.

On the other hand, make an effort to broaden the variety of food choices and decide together to try at least one new dish each week. Initially, it is a good idea to stick to nothing out of the ordinary rather than exotic choices. The more people involved in cooking in your household, the more everyone will buy into change. Some families like to have kids cook one meal a week; or, if you are a two person household try to share some of the cooking.

When planning economical meals you should also take into account how much time you have available to cook as well as how much you like to cook. Retired folks or those who work in the home may make different menu choices than those who are away all day. Whatever your circumstances, you can save money on your food selection. Buy a slow cooker if spending lots of time in the kitchen is not an option or an interest.

Slow Cookers are extremely versatile and use much less electricity than an oven. You can put all the ingredients for a meal into the cooker in the morning and come home to a ready to eat dinner. Because the food is braised at low heat, less expensive cuts of meat will be tender and delicious when cooked by this method.

Probably, the key to success in saving money on your grocery bill is menu planning. While it takes time in the beginning to get into the habit, the payoffs are worth it in the long run. Not only will you save money; but your meals will have more variety. And, no more last minute panic about what to cook for dinner.

Keep track of what you spend on food for a couple of weeks. Include last minute and impulsive purchases. Also consider how much food you throw out in leftovers or spoilage in an average week. Check the calendar and consult with others in the household about activities for the week that will affect meal planning. Read up on the specials at your supermarket. Ask members of your household to contribute ideas about what they would like to eat.

Use the resources of the internet and cookbooks to find recipes that feature economical dishes. Explore the cuisine from other countries for new food ideas. When planning your menus make sure to incorporate leftovers into a future meal. Compare what you spend on groceries when buying according to your menu plan with what you previous spent. Hopefully you have saved money and reduced waste.

Watch for the next article about economical meal planning, focusing on food buying and preparation tips, to help you save money in your weekly grocery budget.

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 09:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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