If you are new to this series you may want to start at the beginning HERE. While each tip is separate and you can do just one, when you combine all the tips, you will save the most.
This is a new concept to many people. Many people, especially those who cook from scratch think that they need to buy groceries every week to have healthy food. We cook from scratch here a majority of the time. It is something I love to do and prefer it over prepackaged foods. But I make it a point to not shop for 1 week out of the month. There are a few reasons for this and a few tips that I can give you on how you can still have fresh healthy food for your family without shopping.
First the reasons why I do the no shopping week and why you should do it too.
The first reason is that it helps us to use what we have. Sometimes you shop so much and have so much food coming in that some of the food gets lost. Whether it is in the fridge or in the cupboard, it gets lost in all the other items or pushed to the back. By not shopping you are forced to check what you have at home and use it. IT helps you to not waste the items you have already spent your hard earned money on.
Another reason I do it is to save the money I would have spent. By not even setting foot in the store I save money. It helps me to stay focused and be accountable for the money we have. The money we would have spent that week can go to another thing for that month and help to find another goal of ours.
The last reason I do it is so I can get creative with my cooking. It keeps cooking fun and fresh. I have a tendency to cook the same things all the time. It is safe and it is easy because they use the same ingredients. By having a week where we use what is in the house, I am able to stretch myself a little and reach outside of the norm. I little secret I use when doing this is www.Supercook.com. You can search by ingredient. One of the best parts about it I think is that as you enter ingredients and recipes come up they also show you what items you need to do the recipe. So you can put in a few of the main items you have and then check for the rest of the ingredients to see if you have them.
A few tips to Keep it as healthy as possible.
Cook Once Eat Twice – This is the best secret anyone can do. By prepping and cooking twice as much as you need you can freeze 1/2 of the meal and eat it later. Then it is prepared with fresh ingredients and you are eating the same healthy things as if you made it that day. It also is SO nice to not have to cook again. you just take out your frozen homemade meal and heat it up to eat.
Freeze your Produce – I often cut up produce when I first buy it (blanch it if needed) and freeze it. When you do this you are preserving the fresh vitamins and such that are in the fresh produce. This also cuts your preptime later for cooking (an added bonus!)
Use Beans Instead of Meat – I am going to talk more about this next week, but this is something that I often use on the week I don’t shop. I usually use dry beans so they store well and I can always have them on hand. Then I can stretch my stored meat as well.
Can you think of anything else that would help you to have healthy meals on no shopping week?