Ashley Mason | Saving Money Healthy Eating Seasoned Onions and Mushrooms

Eating healthy can be such a loaded word depending on whom you talk to. Some people equate healthy to shopping organic; others say no processed foods. I’m in the camp that says healthy is best that you afford on your budget.

I love looking at food blogs and magazines for inspiration, but sometimes specialty ingredients are hard to find or too expensive. It’s no fun to spend a lot of money on an ingredient only to use a little and have the rest go bad by the end of the week.

Call me old fashioned, but I take delight in getting the most out of my groceries and that usually means using the same ingredient multiple times during the week. I buy a chicken, I eat it roasted one night and in a stir fry the next. A head of cabbage becomes stuffed cabbage and later coleslaw. Maybe I’m utilitarian, but it just makes sense.

Ashley Mason | Roasted Romaine Pan Roasted Chicken

Now I’m not going to promise that you’ll save hundreds on your grocery bill each month (though this excellent book does) but I have found that by adopting these rules you’ll get a lot more out of the food you pay for. Less waste means more food on the table.

  • Make a meal plan: Before you go grocery shopping, plan a week of meals. If you stick to your meal plan, you’ll already have everything you need for a healthy satisfying dinner at home.
  • Mix and match: Look for ways to use an ingredient one or two times during the week. Planning over the weekend affords me the time to think about what I want to eat and fit their ingredients together. (Think of it like a brainteaser that actually saves you money.)
  • Reduce your grocery trips: You’ll actually save money by going to grocery store less often. Supermarkets (yes, even Trader Joe’s) are designed to distract you with impulse purchases.
  • Consider planned overs: Cooked chicken or roasted vegetables can be a huge time saver in a more complicated recipe.
  • Try changing up the recipe: Even if a dish doesn’t usually call for an ingredient, use it anyway. Shepard’s pie, stir fry, and pastas are a great catch-all for random, hard to reuse produce or meat.

Don’t think for a second that your meals have to be boring. Choose exotic ingredients and absolutely pick food magazines for inspiration, but just like I select clothes for a pared down wardrobe, I try to consider the versatility of my ingredients before I make a commitment.

In my featured meal today uses chicken, romaine lettuce, onions, carrots, and mushrooms. I used my left over chicken to make a soup. The romaine were used as lettuce wraps earlier in the week. I have no problem finding a use for my other ingredients.

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