With the winter months comes less fresh fruits and veggies to choose from. And with that, food costs usually go up. But just because we don’t have as many great fresh options available to us, doesn’t mean that feeding our family has to be expensive. In fact, I have found a few great ways to help save money on food this winter. The foods are not only budget-friendly but delicious and nutritious too!
Use Everything You Have
The first trick when it comes to trying to save money on food costs is to use everything you have. What I mean is to make sure you reduce food waste by getting creative with leftover items. This doesn’t have to mean eating leftovers for multiple nights in a row. Because we all know that the kids will riot when that happens!
But, you can get creative with the leftovers and create a completely different dish. A good example of this is when I made a huge pot of coconut rice in my Multi Use Express Crock-pot. I freaking love this thing because it makes my life so much simpler! I used the rice originally to go with a pumpkin curry that I made. But I usually make a lot of rice at once, so we had a lot of leftovers. I knew the kids didn’t want the same meal again the next night. Instead, I made a casserole out of the rice with black beans, pinto beans, spices, salsa, cheese, and sour cream. It was a huge hit!
Another great way I regularly do this is with pasta sauce. The kids love pasta night, but not all of us eat pasta sauce on our noodles. So, we don’t use a full jar of pasta. Instead of letting it stay in the fridge and go bad if we don’t use it fast enough, I use it as a sauce base for my cassava pizza crusts. That way I can use up the entire jar within the standard 7-day time frame and I don’t have to spend the extra money on pizza sauce.
No matter how you look at it, just get creative with your leftover items and it will definitely help feed your family for less this winter. And save you a ton of time also!
Great Staple Foods
One of the best ways to help save money on food costs, not only in the winter but all year round is to keep staple foods on hand. Staple foods may not be the same items for everybody, depending on the foods you prefer to eat or grew up with. But, overall, these foods have a very little cost associated with them and can be stretched pretty far. Plus they fill you and your family up, so you won’t be as inclined to eat other foods on top of your meal.
Staples I Keep On Hand
Some of the best staple foods I have found, that I continually keep on hand are:
- Rice – various types, but preferably whole grain since the fiber helps fill you up and slow down insulin uptake.
- Beans – dried are the cheapest and go the furthest, but sometimes you can find a great deal on the canned no sodium added versions also.
- Potatoes – Russet potatoes are great for baked potato night, and the smaller versions work great for oven potatoes or mashed potatoes.
- Pasta – this is one of the cheapest foods for the amount you get and can be used so many different ways.
- Vegetable broth – this works great in soups, making rice, flavoring casseroles, etc.
- Canned tomatoes – fire-roasted tomatoes usually have the most flavor, if you can find them.
- Coconut water – this is a regular go-to for making rice because it adds so much flavor and keeps the rice tender.
- Oats – we use Gluten-Free oats to make overnight oats or oat balls for breakfasts for the kids and they stay full for a long time!
If you can keep even a few of these on hand, it will help make your winter budget stretch a lot further.
Soups and Chili
Winter is the best time for warm, hearty soups and chili. And I love making them almost as much as I love eating them. Most of the time the rest of the family feels the same way. But it’s hard to please everyone all the time, so I try to keep a few options in the freezer.
Ultimately, one of the easiest, and sometimes the most flavorful option is a vegetable soup. I call mine the Kitchen Sink Vegetable Soup because it has everything in it but the kitchen sink. This soup is very simple to make in that you can throw whatever vegetables you have at your disposal in it. I usually add one of my cans of fire-roasted tomatoes and a quart box of low sodium vegetable broth. Don’t forget to add whatever spices strike your fancy to top it off. Then just heat it on a slow simmer so the flavors mix. Since the vegetables always differ and so do the spices, the soup is never the same. Which my family likes because it is always a fun surprise!
My other favorite is a vegetarian chili. Which happens to be the only chili my daughter will eat, for some reason. This is almost as simple as the aforementioned soup. I throw a bag of Beyond Meat Feisty Grounds in the multi-use Crock-pot. Add in a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and 4 cups of beans. I usually use a mix of black beans, kidney beans and pinto beans.
Add a couple of bay leaves (we have a tree in our yard so I just make the kids go and pick some leaves for me). Then add in some chili spices, a pinch of salt and some pepper. To top everything off, add in a quart box of low sodium vegetable broth. Put the lid on and use the “Beans/Chili” option so that it will simmer slowly. It usually takes about 25 minutes and then we have hot, delicious, and nutritious chili. Yum!These are some awesome hacks to help feed your family for less this winter! Click To Tweet
Help Feed Your Family For Less This Winter Summary
Feeding your family for less this winter can certainly be done. And without too much complaining also! Just remember to use everything you have first to offset waste. This will reduce your overall grocery bill since you won’t have to spend as much buying excess food. Next, make sure you have a few staple foods on hand that can be stretched very far and fills up your family.
Lastly, try making a myriad of different soups and chili. Freeze whatever you don’t eat so that you can thaw them and use them at another time. Your family and your budget will thank you!
What are some of the best hacks you have found to help feed your family for less in the winter?