Keep your kitchen bills to a minimum with these simple ideas.
Five Great Grocery Store Savers
1. Look out for bargains. When shopping at the grocery store, keep your eyes open for specials and bargains. Buy extra of whatever is on sale. Canned goods are especially good to stock up on because they have a long shelf life. Cereals, dried fruits, pasta, rice and dried beans can also be great buys.
2. Freeze it! Buy ground meat chicken breasts and other frequently used meats in bulk and separate into individual portions. Wrap well and freeze for quick dinners.
3. Shred your own cheese. Instead of buying shredded cheese, purchase in bulk and shred all at one time to store in the refrigerator for whenever you need.
4. Make your own drinks. Instead of buying expensive sodas and bottled drinks, buy canisters of powdered mixes to make your own lemonade, punch or Powerade drink.
5. Make homemade "fast food." Kids love McDonald's, Taco Bell and the like, but they're unhealthy and very costly. Learn to make the kid's favorites from scratch and you will save big. Homemade pizza, for example, is much healthier easy to make at home and much more economical.
More ways to save on food bills
1. Turn leftovers into another meal. Baked chicken one night might be fajitas the next night, or a chicken salad, or chicken topped pizza.
2. Use less meat in your meals. Meat is an expensive way to get your protein. Get your kids used to not having meat as the center of a meal. Use less by mixing it with beans or grains. Great examples are chili burritos and stir-fries. Have meatless meals once or twice a week.
3. Breakfast is a great dinner. For a light dinner, omelets or a bowl of cereal with fruit can be quick, nutritious and filling.
4. Junk the junk! Commercial snack foods are costly and usually unhealthy. Most kids love to dip. Make a spinach dip and serve with fresh veggies or a fruit dip with fresh fruit. The dip will last four to five days in the refrigerator and you can keep cut up fruit and veggies available in the fridge for after-school snack attacks.
5. Make more now, save later. When making soups, stews and chilies, freeze the extra in Ziplock bags to pull out for meals as needed.