By: Kelly Atyeo, B.A.Sc., M.H.Sc., P.H.Ec.
Budgeting is an important part of organizing your income to ensure that you have money available for life’s essentials. One of those essentials is food – which Canadians spend approximately $7,980 on per year.1
Since food is a large expense – it also presents an opportunity for budgeting and finding ways to be thrifty in the kitchen!
Prior to Grocery Shopping
Make a weekly grocery list. Make a list of items you need before you enter the grocery store. Having a list will help you resist the temptation to purchase items that you don’t really need. Also – shopping for the week and not for the month will help you be very clear on foods that will get eaten and not go to waste.
Develop a meal plan. When creating your grocery list – think about the meals that you’d like to make during the week. This will help you strategize buying larger items like a roast chicken that can be used for multiple meals.
Here are a few tips for grocery shopping to make a healthy meal on a budget:
Try shopping with a grocery list app, like the downloadable app from chicken.ca. This handy app lets you create multiple lists, share your lists with other members of your household and browse recipes for healthy meal ideas.
Buy chicken legs/thighs in bulk – and chicken breasts with the bone in.
Look for produce that is ripe or bruised – they may be discounted and perfect in soups/stews.
Check your stores weekly flyer and take advantage of coupons.
Look for deals at various grocery stores – prices aren’t always the same!
Healthy Economical Meals
With a little bit of love you can make a frugal chicken taste rich and be healthy!
Focus on Flavour
Adding bold spices to a dish is an inexpensive way to make your food pop without bursting your purse strings.
A great example is this chicken recipe made with canned tomatoes and herbs. Canned tomatoes are an affordable way to add acidity to your dishes and blend flavours – and if you buy salt free – you’re keeping it heart healthy!
Making a dish that can go from one meal into 2 or 3 for leftovers is a great way to maximize your overall budget. If you have the opportunity to buy ground chicken in bulk – you can make the following recipe in a larger batch and separate it for various applications.
The ground chicken base of this recipe can be made in larger quantities and easily be incorporated into the following healthy meals:
Pasta with simple meat sauce by adding some canned tomatoes, oregano, parsley and basil (letting simmer).
Mexican tacos with hot sauce added to the ground chicken with sautéed onions and chilli powder – making a great filling!
Using the ground chicken to make this super easy and tasty Sloppy Joe recipe!
Another great recipe for batch cooking is this Lemon Roasted Chicken.
Use leftover meat chopped up to make the these tasty meals:
Whether you’re having a lunch with coworkers or a social dinner with family and friends, dining out can really bruise your budget! And that seems to be the case as Canadians spending at restaurants is steadily increasing to approximately $2,226 of our food budget.2
Here are some tips to enjoy your dining experience on a budget:
Work Lunches. If you’re use to buying lunch at a cafeteria/restaurant at work – bring your lunch from home at least 4 days of the work week. This quick Chicken Panini Sandwich would be perfect to take to lunch!
Ordering In. Is still considered dining out! Life is busy, so try to have meals planned so the default isn’t the delivery guy! Having a Chicken Lasagna in the freezer would be a great Friday night meal after a long week.
Restaurant Meals. Use going out to eat as a special occasion. When you are going out for dinner, share appetizers with friends/family to cut down on the cost. Depending on the formality of the dinner, you can even save the coffee and dessert for at home!
Have fun shopping, cooking and dining out on a budget…and see how it can be rewarding in so many ways!
- Statistics Canada. (2015). Average household food expenditure, by province. (Catalogue no. 62F0026M). Ottawa, Ontario: Minister of Industry. Retrieved March 13, 2015, from www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/famil132a-eng.htm
- Statistics Canada. (2015). Survey of Household Spending, 2013. (Catalogue no. 11-001-X). Ottawa, Ontario: Minister of Industry. Retrieved March 24, 2015, from www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/150122/dq150122b-eng.htm