Is saving some money on your New Year’s resolution list? How about having more healthful meals? Cooking meals at home can help you meet both of those goals.
The holidays are memories now, but the bills for all the fun may be rolling in. Is saving some money on your New Year’s resolution list? How about having more healthful meals? Cooking meals at home can help you meet both of those goals.
- A home-cooked meal usually costs about 60 percent less than a meal eaten at a restaurant. For example, ordering a large one-topping pizza may cost a family $15, but making the same pizza at home may cost about $7. The savings add up!
- Meals eaten at home tend to be lower in calories and fat and higher in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
You might think you have no time to cook. These tips can make cooking a breeze.
- Organize your kitchen. Keep frequently used items such as cooking oils/sprays, spatulas, cutting boards and spices within easy reach. You will not have to search for them later.
- Clear the clutter. Before you start cooking, clear off your counters. This allows more room to prepare food.
- Have everything in place. Read through the recipe and gather the ingredients needed for your recipe. Organizing your ingredients helps you spot missing items and avoid skipping steps. Prep ingredients by draining and rinsing canned beans or vegetables, washing fruits and vegetables, and chopping what you need.
- Invite family members to help you in the kitchen. Children can learn valuable food preparation skills. Plus, cooking together is fun! Eating family meals has many benefits, too.
- Chop extra. When chopping veggies for a meal, chop more than you need and refrigerate the extras for use later that week. For example, chop an extra onion and refrigerate it in an air-tight container. The next time you need it, you can skip a step. For longer storage, you also can freeze most vegetables.
- Double your recipe. For your next casserole or stew, try doubling the recipe and freezing the extra. You’ll save time and make cooking dinner during a busy evening a snap.
- Clean as you go. Fill the sink with soapy water and wash the dishes as you cook.
- Save some for later. Freeze leftover soups, sauces or gravies in small reusable containers. Be sure to mark the container with the name of the recipe and date you froze it.
See www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable for more information about cooking and eating at home. “Like” us on Facebook and sign up for the newsletter.
Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., is a food and nutrition specialist and professor at North Dakota State University.