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Clever Cooking in a Tough Economy

By  Helen Hunter, ACSW, LSW, GCM

 

Families throughout the country are increasingly being challenged in finding creative solutions to eating healthy in spite of rising prices. The following are clever cooking strategies, which can assist today’s family in providing healthy daily meals without breaking the bank.
 
COOK EVERY MEAL
 
Make your own meals from scratch and you’ll save money since frozen and prepared meals, as well as eating out, are more expensive. Meals from scratch are usually made with fresh ingredients and you’ll have an opportunity to eliminate adding salt or sugar. This will result in a healthier meal for you and your family.
 
JOIN A DINNER CLUB
 
Many families are pulling together to cook for each other, thus saving money for cooking every night. Families are usually assigned one or two nights a week and they are responsible for cooking for the group. These families enjoy the fellowship with each other, and they are able to experience a variety of different foods. The best part, participants say, is that they don’t have to cook every night!!
 
MAKE SEVERAL MEALS AT ONE TIME
 
Many people cook on the weekend and freeze meals for the upcoming week. This can be especially helpful for those who are cooking for one or two, or who might have a very busy work week schedule, and don’t have the time during the week to prepare a meal from scratch. The sky is the limit as to the variety of different meals that can be prepared. For example, cooking a roast chicken on Sunday can result in having soup, fajitas, chicken salad, a chicken and vegetable stir-fry, a chicken casserole and a chicken over pasta dish later in the week.
 
 
GET CREATIVE
 
Use your imagination in creating exciting and healthy dishes from one main staple. In buying a whole chicken, for example, creative cooks can use the breast meat, the legs and thighs, and the bones to make several meals. As my grandmother always said “Waste not, want not”. She believed in using every scrap of food, and not throwing anything away! She was a creative cook!!
 
MAKE YOUR OWN INGREDIENTS AND FOOD STAPLES
 
Some creative cooks are making their ingredients, such as mayonnaise (eggs, vinegar, oil, salt and mustard) and brown sugar (white sugar and molasses). Others are making homemade bread and using dry milk and water to make regular milk. This saves money and is easy to do.
 
No one knows what the future holds in terms of the economy. However, with a little creativity, today’s cooks can ensure that they can provide healthy meals for their family. All it takes is a little imagination!
 

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