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5 super simple ways to stretch your food budget (and still eat healthy)

Quick Take

As folks nationwide stock up on pantry staples amid coronavirus, food budgets can start to feel strained. We've got some simple tips to keep your budget in check, all the while eating nutrient-dense foods and avoiding food waste.  

 But First: A gift for you!

On this page

Buy whole foods

Waste less food (4 tips on how to reduce your food waste)

Buy in bulk

Batch cook

Repurpose leftovers and bulk produce

BONUS: how to get the most out of your MamaSezz ready-made meals

 

1. Buy whole foods

If you have the time and resources, preparing your own food from scratch rather than buying pre-made sauces, starters, and frozen dishes can help to stretch your budget. Think about it: a jar of hummus can cost up to $6, but a can of beans, clove of garlic, dash of cumin, and a lemon costs only about $3 total. That’s a 50% savings! Here is a quick and easy oil-free hummus recipe to make at home. 

2. Waste less food

If you’re buying whole foods, that means you’ll have a great deal of peels, scraps, and skins. Don’t let those go to waste! Try these 4 tips and reduce your food waste significantly. 

1. Freeze your scraps, bits and peels.

Each time you have leftover onion skins, pepper stems, celery tops, potato peels, and green bean ends put them in a designated baggie in your freezer labeled “veggie broth scraps.” Once the bag is full, use them to make your very own veggie broth!

2. Freeze meals and produce before they go bad.

Here are some proper ways to freeze your produce and some tips on freezing leftovers. 

3. Use fruit peels.

Leftover fruit peels can add a welcome zip to beverages like tea, mocktails, even just water! We especially like to add apple peels to tea or toss them with a big green salad. Oh, and whenever any recipe calls for lemon know that you can (and should!) use that extra juice and even the rind to give the recipe the extra oomph you deserve. Seriously, if you’re not zesting your lemons, stop reading this and go get a zester ASAP! (Pro tip: if you have a cheese grater, that's a zester!)

OK, now that you’ve got your zester...experience the magic of the humble lemon and its zest for yourself when you whip up this plant-based Blueberry Lemon French Toast recipe.

4. Make smoothies with scraps!

Another great way to use up “scraps” is to toss those babies right in the blender and make yourself a smoothie (check out some of our heart healthy smoothie recipes here). Celery leaves, strawberry tops, and kale stems can all be used in recipes that call for part of the aforementioned veggie or fruit. Just make sure you blend until everything’s smooth and creamy. 


3. Buy in bulk

This does not mean panic-buy large amounts of a certain item. This means buy larger containers or packages of the item. For instance, buy a large bag of brown rice, once every few months, instead of buying a small bag every few weeks. Some stores even have a “bulk section” where you can pour dried foods like lentils and grains, then pay per pound. Buying in bulk can save you, on average, up to 20% off your purchase. On some items, you can save up to 50% off or more! When buying in bulk you’re best buying shelf-stable items like dried beans, grains, nuts, dried fruits, etc.

4. Batch Cook

Batch cooking can not only save you money by promoting less food waste, but it can also save you a great deal of time in the kitchen. Batch cooking ensures that nothing in your refrigerator goes to waste. Spinach starting to wilt and mushrooms on the edge? Don’t let them go to waste! Make a massive Mushroom Tetrazzini, and freeze half of it in single-portion containers. Lots of veggies starting to soften in the fridge? Make a veggie stew and freeze it in single portion freezer baggies. Don’t forget to label them and add the date! 

 

5. Repurpose leftovers and bulk produce

Instead of letting leftovers go to waste, repurpose them to make new and exciting dishes. If you have a large batch of veggie stir-fry, you can repurpose it into tacos (just add shells, beans, and avocado), stuffed peppers (mix with rice and stuff into a pepper to bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so), or mix into a breakfast scrabble (with baked oil-free home fries and sliced avocado).  

 

BONUS: How to stretch you MamaSezz ready-made meals with inexpensive staples

Stocked your fridge with MamaSezz? Following these tips will not only stretch your MamaSezz meals but also add some fun variety to your plate.  Here are some of our team members' favorite ways to spice up your MamaSezz (and stretch it out):

 

 

Don't Forget Your FREE recipe: 

 

Key Takeaways 

  • Buy as many whole foods as possible
  • Get creative with your food scraps and learn how to properly freeze produce and leftovers
  • Buy your food in bulk to save money
  • Batch cook to avoid food waste (and time waste!)
  • Repurpose leftovers to make creative dishes with varying flavor profiles
  • BONUS: Stretch your MamaSezz with inexpensive staples like brown rice, brown rice pasta, potatoes, and more!

 

 

What you should do now

  1. We have been where you are and we’ve helped thousands of people (just like you) transition to eating a plant based diet. If you are looking for a guide that can help you with some of the big questions, and dramatically reduce your stress, this FREE Ultimate Little Guide to Plant-Based Eating is a great place to start.
  2. If you're interested in Weight Loss, Download this fantastic FREE guide Ultimate (little) Guide to weight loss
  3. If you’d like to learn about plant-based living go to our MamaSezz Blog where you can read hundreds of “How To” articles. If you’d like to learn about plant-based cooking go to our Recipes Section for easy step by step favorites.
  4. If you enjoyed this article, then so will your friends, so why not share it on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Email




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