Stretching Your Holiday Food Budget

We’re all trying to save money these days and during the holiday season, this could be something that many of us might find difficult. It’s not just shopping for holiday gifts, but our food budgets can get stretched thin as well. All those favorite holiday treats that we only indulge on once a year oftentimes force us to do a juggling act to serve our families healthy and nutritious meals mixed in.

So, how do you stretch your holiday food budget? Here are a few tips.

Serve Meals on Smaller Plates

By serving meals on smaller plates, it creates the illusion of more food and will help to match actual serving sizes of meals. This will help you get the most for your money and may even help you to better manage your fat, sugar, salt, and caloric intake as well as your waistline. This will also aid in avoiding food waste.

Cook Larger Amounts

Freeze any leftovers you may have and place them in containers that are perfect one- or two-meal servings. This makes it easy to reheat a healthy meal if you had a busy day.

Plan Ahead of Time

Creating a meal plan for the week may sound like an overwhelming task, but it will help you to buy only what you need for the week. Also, try to think of different ways that you can use leftovers or the same ingredient twice. Grilled chicken, for example, can be used a second time in a pasta bake or a salad for lunch the next day. This idea can help you reduce your food waste as well and thus save you some money.

Make Soup

This may not sound like a filling meal, but homemade soups are a healthy and nutritious way to use fruits and vegetables. Especially those that you might be ready to toss out. Add in some beans or lentils to amp up the protein or potatoes for something a bit more filling. You can even use that leftover grilled chicken. Freeze soup in single-serve containers, which is great for lunch on a cool afternoon. I also encourage you to check out some of our savory soup recipes! You can find them by choosing "Soup" as a category on our Recipes webpage.

Add in Fruits and Vegetables

In-season and local fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables are a great and affordable addition to a healthy diet. Make sure you store your fruits and vegetables properly when you get home so they’ll last longer.

Stretching your family food budget doesn’t have to take away flavor or variety. With a little bit of thought and planning, you can avoid wasting food and still provide your family with healthy and nutritious meals throughout the holiday season (and all year long). If you’re looking for more creative ideas, I encourage you to check out our Healthy Living Recipes.

From our Y family to yours, I wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season!