It's possible! Next Food Network Star's Susannah Locketti gives momlogic budget-savvy tips to help you feed your family a healthy (and deliciously creative) diet--despite the rising cost of food.
1) Eat meat like a cavewoman: For about three bucks, you can manage lean protein by buying drumsticks at under a dollar per pound. Lower the fat by removing the skin after baking or grilling. Marinate in teriyaki sauce, brown sugar and garlic. Bake or grill and garnish with chopped scallions, or coat with barbeque sauce. Before baking or grilling, drizzle the drumsticks with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs--thyme, rosemary or lemon balm. Also, try split chicken breasts. The meat is more tender and flavorful when cooked on the bone and generally costs less than boneless, skinless breasts.
2) Chew what you can afford: Gone are the days when the kids down a box of cereal in one sitting. When grocery shopping tell your kids, "This better last all week." Instead of cooking in large quantities, cook exactly what your family will eat--that way nothing goes to waste. Practicing portion control will not only save you on your grocery bill, you will probably notice the scale come down too.
3) Cook clean: Stick to basic ingredients and avoid pre-packaged or preserved foods. Not only will this save you money, but you will lower your sodium intake. Simple can mean serious flavor. Take potatoes for example: Most of us eat them mashed, baked or fried. Their are so many other options. Try cutting them into disks, season and cook them in olive oil with fresh or dried herbs. Or, cut them into cubes and toss with oil, crushed red peppers, salt and garlic. Then roast them on parchment paper in a 425 degree oven until browned.
4) Get back to basics:
Olive Oil: Purchase a light tasting variety so it can be used in both cooking and baking. You can substitute oil for butter in sweet bread recipes with great success. To stretch your oil, pick up a few silicone brushes. The brushes allow you to spread a small amount of oil on a large pan. This saves you fat and money.
Balsamic Vinegar: Always great to have on hand as a marinade or salad dressing staple.
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper: Kosher salt tastes better and you can also buy a large box for short change. Store it in a small decorative ceramic bowl so kosher salt is just a pinch away. A pepper mill is also a must--grinding brings out the fresh flavor of the pepper. You'll be amazed at the difference in flavor.
5) Let it grow: Fresh vegetables and herbs are just soil, seeds, water and light away. Grow in containers on your deck or in a sunny window. You'll save tons of money on fresh herbs year-round and produce in the summer. If growing from seeds scares you, buy the baby plants at a garden store.