Feeding a family on a budget can be tough work, especially when you’re trying to strike a balance between healthy food choices and saving money.
The good news is that setting a budget before hitting your local Coles or Woolies doesn’t have to result in poor nutritional food choices, nor does it preclude having fun with food for your children.
Make Food a Game
It’s important to make food fun for children whilst maintaining a good variety in what they can eat.
So eating out once in a while when you feel you can afford is part of this – as is ordering in those “sometime” food treats from time to time, especially if the kids enjoy it.
Encourage experimentation in your kids’ diet, so that there is more diversity in their nutrition.
Cost-effective food delivery providers such as Deliveroo don’t mean you have to break the bank.
Choices such as pizza are classics, but there are also healthier alternatives too.
The kids will enjoy deciding what to order, and your children’s reaction to different dishes will also give you some great ideas for preparing food of your own at home.
When it comes to basic day-to-day shopping and food preparation, it’s important to bear a few truths in mind.
Firstly, buy in bulk when you can. Usually, a large bag of rice is one example, and it’s usually much cheaper than the smaller packaged bags.
This leads neatly to the next piece of advice; always look at price per weight rather than price alone.
It’s tempting when you’re in a hurry whilst shopping to grab something off the shelf that’s on special. But often, the price per weight still exceeds other perfectly acceptable and potentially more nutritious brands.
On a similar point; look at ingredient lists rather than packaging.
This is a truer measure of quality and the main ingredients are always listed first by percentage (even when those percentages aren’t given). Try not to be misled by funky or attractive packaging that the kids may badger you for.
Go back to basics in preparing most foods yourself rather than buying pre-processed ones. So, for example, pre-packaged pancakes are OK and tasty enough for busy parents on the go.
But making your own with plain flour, an egg and milk doesn’t only work out much cheaper by weight but they’re also far tastier – and the children can help make them.
Finally, try not to be swayed too much by foodie trends such as your Kangaroo meat which are lean but expensive.
Chicken is an affordable meat, and it’s as nutritious as it ever was for our parents’ or grandparents’ generation when it was regarded as a rare treat.