Thursday, June 1, 2023

Frugal Food Shopping Tips to Improve Health on a Budget

 

frugal, health-promoting food shopping tips


Saving money at the supermarket doesn't have to mean giving up nutritious foods. Here are brilliant tips that help us keep our food budget in check, yet still eat wholesome foods that nourish us.


Consumer food prices rose 7.7 percent for year ending in April 2023. Rising food costs make us look for new ways to keep a firm check on spending. 


This post illustrates many food shopping tips that can help save money, without sacrificing good nutrition.



Plan Ahead



Read food advertisements, collect coupons, and see store apps to learn what's on sale. Sign up for free store loyalty programs to get the perks. 



Before heading off to the market, menu plan for one or two trips a week. Let's find recipes that include sale items, so we can start off on the right food.



Practice makes progress. Notice how empowering it feels to gain skill at adapting old standby recipes from cookbooks and online to healthier versions. 


If we choose, we can also update
family heirloom recipes this way by adding, subtracting, or substituting one ingredient for another.



Just be mindful to include menu items that fit within food categories of whole grains, veggies, legumes, protein, fruit, nuts, seeds, and low-fat dairy or dairy alternatives.



With a written menu plan in hand, check to see which ingredients are already in the fridge and pantry. 



Make a shopping list for the rest.



Fill shopping cart with ONLY those items on the list. 



If a product is unavailable when we get to the store, replace it with a food that  provides similar vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting compounds as the original one. 



Being consistent and deliberate with our food shopping routine is a time-tested way to save money, improve health, fuel our bodies well, and keep within our budgets.



It's worth the effort to research
which foods are nutrient dense (quality over quantity). Colors 4 Health has many blog posts that can help. Feel free to use the search bar for healthy eating ideas.


See a Few Samples Below:








Frugal Food Tips to Improve Health on a Budget




Set the intention to find recipes that can easily be put together in the time we have, made with cookware and utensils we already own, are at our cooking skill level, and ones that we're interested in trying out.



When we vary our diet by trying a few new dishes each month, we get a chance to include the best of the fresh produce that's in stock on the day we actually do our shopping. 



Colorful fruit and veggies feed our senses and satisfy our appetites as well. 


eat produce that's colorful as the rainbow


It's wasteful and expensive to buy food we won't use. So if we'll be eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner in a restaurant or as takeout during the week, budget for that. 



Caution: We can’t control the amount of sugar, salt, and fat that goes into meals we eat out, and often meals grabbed on the run lack as many nutrients as those we make at home. Restaurant meals and takeout foods are often more costly as well.



Economize Where We Can



Save part of weekly food budget for future sales of healthy staples like quinoa, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, canned beans, and high-fiber cereals. 



Find and compare unit prices listed on shelves to get the best price. Buy store brands if cheaper. Many off brand food companies use the same quality generic products in canned and frozen goods as those found in brand names.



Keep in mind, if a product is not on our list, we're less likely to impulse buy it. 



It also follows that if we don't bring junk food into our abode, we save money, eat healthier, and take a giant step toward resisting temptation and maintaining health.



Don't even head down an aisle, if it doesn't stock a product on the shopping list.


For example, skip the flavored beverage aisle if at all possible.




Focus on shopping the perimeter of the market. One wall of most markets has produce, another protein sources, and another fresh bread. 


Smart shoppers are aware that in general, the interior sections of the store contains shelves with the most highly processed foods. If a product appears at eye level in the market it usually follows it's more expensive than products that are stocked on the shelves above or below it.


Learn to choose the most unrefined, whole food version of an item available by reading every label.

Read Every Food Label


Processed foods and drinks or fully prepared deli foods are more expensive for the most part than those we make from scratch. Processing and packaging costs, as well as time it takes to prepare these foods are all transferred to the consumer.


Most prepared foods contain added sugar, high fat, high salt, or additives and preservatives. Some include added colors, thickeners, and artificial flavors. Use prepared foods in a pinch, but don't rely on them to meet nutritional needs. 


One way to tell a processed food is unhealthy is if the ingredient list is more than three or four ingredients long.


Pre-plan the purchase of snacks. Don't buy junk food; make a choice to get munches like unsalted nuts or seeds, veggies and hummus, low salt pretzels, or air-popped popcorn instead.


Pre-plan dessert shopping as well. Apples, blueberries, bananas, grapes, peaches, and other fruit make great desserts. 


See this colorful three ingredient recipe, "How to Make a Tempting Red White and Blue Dessert," for a quick and delicious dessert idea. 


Check all use by dates, and don't stock up on food that may not be used up before it goes bad. 


Make Food Choices That Align with Our Lifestyle



Plan meals to supply energy to fit in with our activity level. 


For those who need guidance consult with your health care provider and see "The Definitive Guide to Healthy Eating in Real Life." 



Then read about the benefits of eating the rainbow of plant-based foods in "Bloom Into Health."



Vary menu plan from week to week and season to season to prevent feeling blah about meals. 



Buying and eating in-season, local crops are fresher, because they haven't travelled long distances to get to the market. In-season veggies and fruit are often those featured in weekly sales.



Reap health benefits by replacing processed foods with nutrient-rich sources of proteins including canned or dried beans, tofu, tempeh, legumes, leafy green veggies (fresh or unseasoned frozen), unsalted nuts, seeds, nut butters, nut milks, and the like. 



Eating 5-9 portions of unprocessed veggies and fruit a day are better for our waistlines, heart, and prevent serious diseases including prostate and breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes, than ready made, greasy, deep fried, or preservative laden ones.


Locate the bulk bins at the grocery store.  

 

Buying food in bulk allows us to scoop out the exact amount we need for a recipe ingredient like quinoa, coffee, nuts, seeds, oatmeal, and flour.


It’s often more economical to get food staples this way, than grabbing pre-packaged (cereal, dried beans, whole grains, etc.) ones. 



If we’re just buying a small amount, buying bulk foods conserves food and money, a great combo.



What to Do with Leftover Food



After we finish eating our meal, if there are any leftovers, we can stretch dollars and save time, by eating remainder the next day. 


Another alternative is to freeze uneaten food and defrost and use it at a later date. 🍉🍅🍛🍠


At one time in my life, I worked at an upscale grocery shop as a personal shopper and menu planner. I learned many of these tricks of the trade then. 


Just know I offer this information for educational and entertainment purposes only. If you need health, nutrition, or financial information consult with the pros.


Before you go please comment below.


What is your favorite tip for saving money and health as a frugal food shopper?


Mine is don't go to the market when you're hungry, rushed, or tired. 



Which of my tips resonates with you? 


Please explain in the comments section below.

Did you learn anything new or interesting by reading this post? Does it help motivate you to be a more attentive shopper and why?

I read and appreciate every comment, but will not be able to publish those with links.

Thanks so much for the visit. Before you go, please comment and re-share on social media with a link back to this post.💖 


This post has been shared at Full-plate-Thursday-643


Monday, May 15, 2023

How to Make Vegan Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

How to Make Vegan Garlic Mashed Cauliflower Recipe


Garlic is a lively food seasoning that creates a culinary impact. Its  distinctive flavor, pungent aroma, and health benefits make it a sought after ingredient for cuisines from around the world.

garlic bulbs for Garlicky Vegan Cauliflower


Each segment of a garlic bulb is called a clove. The garlic plant is part of the allium (onion) family, and related to chives, green onions, leeks, and shallots.


Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, and member of the mustard family along with broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. 

Head of Cauliflower for Vegan Cauliflower Recipe


 Cauliflower is low calorie, and a cup size portion (107g) is only 27 calories. This veggie is low-carb too, with only 5 carbs in each cup. 



It's hydrating (water-packed) and rich in fiber and other nutrients. See more about cauliflower nutrition and health benefits from Web MD. 


This post will show you how to make a mouthwatering recipe that features both ingredients and is:



Simple to prepare

Tempting

Nutritious

Whole food plant-based WFPB

Comforting

Garlicky

Creamy

Keto friendly

Cholesterol free

Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly

Dairy-free

Gluten -free

Low fat

Economical





 Recipe for Vegan Garlic Mashed Cauliflower


Recipe for  Vegan Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Try out this scrumptious vegan recipe for garlicky mashed cauliflower. It's easy to prepare, nutritious, and appeals to those who enjoy eating mashed potatoes.

Ingredients:

I large head of fresh cauliflower (organic if possible) or 2 packs of cauliflower rice

3-4 cloves garlic

3 or 4 sprigs of fresh parsley, basil, or rosemary, or other fresh or dried herb

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable broth, or water

¼ cup gluten-free oat milk, hemp milk, soymilk, or nut milk of your choosing or vegetable broth instead

Salt and pepper to taste 


What to Do:


1. Cut off green leaves from bottom of cauliflower. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer. Use these greens for sautéing or to add to vegetable stock, casseroles, soup, or stews.

How to cut green leaves off cauliflower



Continue prepping the underside of the cauliflower. Use a sharp knife to cut out as much of the hard core as possible. Chop the core into tiny pieces to include in this dish. 

Smart consumers and frugal homemakers alike aim to conserve food and use every edible morsel. To learn more read food-waste-not-want-not-checklist.

2. Then cut or snap off florets into individual pieces. 

Soak all in a large bowl of clean fresh water long enough to allow sand and dirt to sink to the bottom. Rinse and place into the steamer basket of a large saucepan, and cover.

NOTE: a steamer basket is a handy kitchen utensil. It lifts cauliflower out of the water and off the bottom of the pan. Steamer baskets prevent veggies from losing nutrients as they cook. If you don't have a steamer, use a covered sauce pan. Simply put cauliflower directly into an inch of boiling water and cover. Just test the veggie every minute and remove from water, as soon as cauliflower is very tender.

3. Use a covered steamer pot or covered sauce pan to cook cauliflower on medium setting. Cook time depends on the size of the florets and how large a head of cauliflower you use. 

Steam Cauliflower Florets in a Steamer Pot


Cook time will be between 15-20 minutes for regular florets or about 10 minutes for cauliflower rice. When very tender, remove from stove and allow pot to cool uncovered on a hotplate.

4. While cauliflower is steaming prepare the garlic. Carefully remove the thin outer covering of the bulb. 

Then remove 3-4 cloves from the bulb with your hand or sharp knife. Peel each clove by placing the side of a paring knife on top of the clove and press down until the thin white or purplish white skin comes off. 

Either mince garlic with a paring knife or chop it in a food processor. 

5. Sauté garlic in 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. For those who count calories or omit oil, use vegetable broth or water instead. 

Sauté minced garlic till lightly brown


Cook time will be anywhere from 3-5 minutes. Cook until garlic turns golden brown but not burnt.  When ready, blend into drained steamed cauliflower.

Note: Garlic is an aromatic, and the smaller the pieces of cut garlic, the bolder it tastes.


6. Place cauliflower, veg milk, garlic, and additional seasonings of choice into the bowl of a food processor. 

Timing is everything so use the pulse setting to make this dish as creamy or chunky and flavor packed as you like. 

Eye the mixture as the machine works, and stop it before the mashed cauliflower becomes cauliflower soup.

Cooked cauliflower can be mashed with an immersion blender or even a hand held potato masher.

Sprinkle on fresh or dried herbs as a garnish. My favs are fresh chopped rosemary, parsley, and fresh basil.

Serve cauliflower immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. It can be frozen for up to one month.



Before serving cauliflower that has been refrigerated, preheat oven to 325 degrees F and cook for half an hour or until the top gets a little crispy and browned.

 

This recipe serves 4 as a side dish and is a wonderful alternative for mashed potatoes.

Before you go please comment below.

Did this recipe intrigue you?

Do you currently include cauliflower in menu planning? Please share about that below.

Did you know vegan garlic mashed cauliflower tastes rich, yet is a low-carb and low calorie veggie option? 

I've served it with mushroom gravy and vegan meatballs and received rave reviews.

I read and appreciate every comment, but will not be able to publish those with links. Thanks for understanding.


If you'd be so kind, please share the love by visiting my blog again. Re-share this post on social media with a link back to this post. 

This post has been shared at Whats-for-dinner-Sunday-link-up-420


This post has been shared at Full-plate-Thursday-641


This post has been shared at Senior Salon Pit Stop #261

This post has been shared at Talent-Sharing Tuesdays Link-Up 65