Myth: You live alone so cooking meals for a party of one can be as costly, if not more, than eating out every day. Fact: There are a number of ways to stock your kitchen and cook meals for yourself without breaking the bank. CalorieCount.com’s Director of Nutrition Rachel Berman has put together a list of tips and kitchen staples that can help you become healthy at home without spending too much money. Here are a few of her tips:
Meal planning lowers stress, saves money, and reduces food waste, so try picking a “theme” each week. For example, if you pick Mexican food the week, you’ll use a wide variety of ingredients like salsa, black beans, avocados, cheese, corn, and whole wheat tortillas. With these ingredients, you could make black bean quesadillas, a spicy egg scramble and Southwestern salads or wraps.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Washing and preparing food ahead of time saves you time during the week. If the veggies are already washed, you are more likely to grab and eat them.
Stock Your Pantry
By keeping these staples in your kitchen, you can make healthier meal decisions when in a bind and on a budget.
Some of Rachel’s Must Haves for the Fridge, Freezer and Cupboard:
Eggs – They last for a long time so buy the dozen, it’s cheaper than the ½ dozen
Low-fat milk – You can also buy almond or rice milk to store on your shelves
Frozen fruits and vegetables –Full of nutrients AND they don’t spoil as quickly
Frozen lean meats/seafood – Bought in bulk, they can save you money
Whole grain bread – A loaf in the freezer lasts 4-6 weeks
Whole wheat pastas and sauce
Whole grain cereal
Rachel Berman, RD, CSR, CD/N is the director of nutrition for Calorie Count, a free health and wellness Web site with about 4 million members and growing. Ms. Berman provides users with practical science-based information related to nutrition, weight loss and health.