Serve Healthy Food and Save Money In the Comfort of Your Own Home in 15 minutes or Less
There are some days when you are so tired, your schedule has been so hectic, and you just don’t want to cook dinner. Many times you hit a drive through which ends up costing your family at least $20. The other option is to eat at a sit down restaurant which will cost you about $40 plus a tip. You may choose the drive-thru to save money, but the food is far from healthy and not nearly worth the cost. There is yet another option for you to serve your family dinner for much less money when you are too tired to cook.
If you venture to your local grocery store or Wal-Mart you can find some very easy options to serve your family a fairly healthy dinner without having to do much, if any, cooking. You can eat in the comfort of your own home, which is much more comforting at the end of a long day, too. Consider picking up a roasted chicken, a bag of frozen veggies, and instant mashed potatoes. Chicken is cooked, so there is no preparation or cooking involved. When you boil the water for the instant mashed potatoes, place your frozen veggies in a steamer and place over the water. By the time the water is ready to add the potatoes, the veggies are cooked. Add the milk, butter, and spuds, and in less than 15 minutes you have a healthy dinner to serve your family. That same chicken paired with a simple Caesar type salad and whole or multigrain bread is another excellent option that costs far less than eating out. If you enjoy microwaving food from time to time consider picking up some precooked frozen chicken strips or breasts, instant rice, and a bag of apples. Heat the water for the rice in the microwave, and place the rice in the bowl and cover. While the rice is “cooking” heat the desired amount of chicken; while this is cooking slice up some apples. Another option is to heat the chicken in the microwave and while it is cooking, prepare a salad. When chicken is ready, toss on top of your salad. Doing this type of “eating out” is much less. On days when I am too tired to cook, using one of the options above I typically spend about $2.50-$3 per serving compared to spending $5-$10 per person at a drive through or sit down restaurant. I keep the meal idea simple; three items or less. Focus on a vegetable/fruit, a grain, and a protein. If you want to save even more money, consider a few options to have on hand at home.
On a weekend grill or bake several chicken breasts, steaks, and brown ground meat. Cook a lot of rice, mashed potatoes, and baked potatoes. When meat is done let the meat sit for about 10 minutes. Then slice and package in desired amounts into freezer safe zip style bags. Do the same for the rice and mashed potatoes. For the baked potatoes, scoop out the insides and prepare your favorite way for twice baked potatoes. Flash freeze and then package in zip style freezer bags. Instead of having to spend extra money at the grocery store, you will have a few healthy food items on hand that you can pull from your own freezer and microwave in less than 15 minutes.
How much are you really going to save? If we take the above figures of $20-$40 for a restaurant, that equates to roughly $5-$10 per person for a family of four per meal. When using the grocery store precooked and easily cooked foods to serve up a nutritious dinner the cost drops to $2.50-$3.50 per person saving a family of four at the very least $6. However, most typically the savings fall more in the $10-$20 dollar range. If you precook your convenience food at home, you can save even more money! Much More! You see the precooked convenience foods that you cook and freeze at home for convenience the extra cost to your family is ZERO. The food was purchased with your regular food budget money, so no additional money is spent. That means you can serve your family a healthy dinner even when you are tired and don’t want to cook, for FREE in 15 minutes or less!
For more inspiration, tips, an ideas, check out Eat at Home Cooks. This website is an excellent resource for making eating at home simple and justas rewarding as eating out. You can save lots of money maing this one simple change in your family. I have found some fantastic and simple recipes on this site. This month they had a nice series; Resolutionize Your Kitchen and in February they will be talking about freezer cooking. So check out Eat at Home Cooks and take the next step to healthy family finances, bodies, food, and mind.
Why not try some of these tips the next time you are too tired to cook and serve your family a healthy dinner and save money while you are at it?