It’s the new year and many of us have things we want to improve on. For some that may in the finance department and for busy families it can be their grocery bill that’s hard to control. Grocery shopping and meal planning can feel like a daunting task sometimes, especially when you’re trying to stick to a budget, eat healthier and be more time efficient. But Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship says it is possible.
“Children consume food so quickly, sometimes we feel like we've gone grocery shopping four days ago, and poof, where is all the food? So I think just having those routines that you don't have to think about is so so helpful, right? Those habits, like what are the items I always buy, what are the items we always eat and then you sort of have a foundation for your sanity,” she said.
Katie says if you're going to challenge yourself with something new, make it one thing at a time. One fun, new vegetable per trip and eat the things that will go bad, first.
“All your greens and everything that you know, gets wilted in four to five days, eat those first. And one thing that I do that helps save both time and money is I always buy a cabbage.” Katie says it’s way cheaper than buying spinach and it lasts a lot longer. “It's super inexpensive, has a totally different nutrient profile than the other greens. There's actually a lot of good, good vitamins in cabbages. And so then on week two, when all your lettuce is hopefully not wilting, because you've eaten it. You can have a cabbage salad.”
You’re also making less trips to the grocery store. “I try to make a meatless meal like once or twice a week, because I know that helps my food budget. It's super easy to make in bulk. So if you want to make one quick switch, rather than finding a new recipe or learning something totally new, try like white rice to brown rice or to black rice, or buy a new legume. We use a lot of lentils. So here's a great budget saving tip. We have taco night, once a week. So again, I don't have to think about it. It's every Wednesday, and we do one pound of ground beef, which is money, right? And about an equivalent of lentils, mix it all in, double the taco seasoning, and it just tastes completely normal. But you see, it's like whatever you would normally spend on the meat because lentils are probably like 43 cents, you’re saving.”
Another cost saving measure? Katie says every time she cooks meat, half of it goes into the freezer for another meal.
“The other meat trick, if you want to do one change in 2021 is to try buying the whole chicken. Chicken breasts get all the fame because they're so easy, but a whole chicken is easy too. I throw it in my Instant Pot and I let it cook for a couple hours. And then here's a real budget saver. First of all that one chicken is going to probably provide three to five meals, you know casseroles, chicken, a mexican meal, stuff like that. Plus, I'm going to take the bones, I'm going to take some onion skin, some carrot ends and some celery and stuff I would literally throw away, throw it in my pot and make chicken stock. And I can do that three times with the bones and get about three to four gallons of stock and save $30 to $40 and it takes about half an hour of my time.”
Katie also says it’s important to know your price points and know how much your family can eat because that can save you a lot of money in the long run.
She did a great price comparison study on finding the best deals. You find that here.
For recipes and more resources check out her full blog at: https://www.kitchenstewardship.com/
Katie has a message and more helpful tips for FOX 17 viewers. Find out more by clicking here.