It’s no secret that cooking at home is a great way to eat healthier, you’ve probably heard it a million times. Plus, studies have actually shown that those who eat at home consume less sugar and fat, and more fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Yet, a lot of my clients struggle with this. And do you know what the number one reason I hear is? It’s too expensive.
Cooking at home totally does NOT have to be a burden on your wallet. There are so many ways that you can do it on a dime, if you think outside the box. Want to know what my first response is to everyone who tells me this? Get ready:
My #1 tip to save money when cooking: Don’t follow the recipe.
Yup, you heard it folks. A food blogger who actually CREATES recipes, is telling you not to follow them. Now, I wouldn’t advise that you leave out baking powder, flour, or any other staple ingredients. What I am saying is to use the ingredients that you have VS going to the store to buy exactly what it is calling for. Here’s why:
- Not buying something = saving money. That one is a no brainer.
- Chances are, if you don’t have an ingredient on hand already, the likelihood that you’ll reach for that again is slim, since you’ve made it this far in life without it. So, it will probably just go to waste after the recipe you bought it for.
- You’ll probably end up liking the dish BETTER because you are subbing ingredients you already have and know you like.
There is always a follow up question when I talk about this tip, and that’s “So, how do I do that?” Let me give you a few ideas:
- Spices: Use what’s in your pantry. Yes, the flavor of the dish will change, but like I mentioned above, you’re using spices you know you like. Garlic, onion powder and cumin are my go-to versatile subs.
- Fruits: Take a stroll through the produce section and find out what’s in-season. Chances are that those ones are on sale and actually taste the best. Just be sure to sub like items, such as a berry for a berry.
- Veggies: Frozen is TOTALLY okay. My freezer is one of my best friends. I knew I wanted to marry Joe when he bought us a deep freezer. Okay, just kidding, we were already engaged- but I was thrilled none the less!
- Pasta/Grain: This is so simple, but a lot of people will go out and buy a different shape of pasta because they think they can’t use what they already have. Or, simply sub rice for quinoa in a recipe, or whatever it is that you have on hand.
These simple swaps can save you TONS when cooking at home. It can seem daunting at first, but the more you practice this the more naturally it comes.
Need more direction with this? Contact me! I’d be happy to help!
Do you have your own #1 tip? Share it, I’d love to hear!
Want to read more on meal planning? You might this.