I get by with a little help from my friends…….
packaged meal helpers that is.
I am often asked if my menus include packaged foods. The answer is yes, they do. I am not sure if anyone without magical powers could make 5 dinners from scratch in just one hour.
Before you turn your nose up, let me explain…..
A few of my favorite packaged foods are….
Frozen chopped onions. No tears and they actually cost less than a full onion. The only ingredient in this package. ONIONS!
Most canned fruits contain the fruit and natural juices. Be sure to read the labels. You can always substitute with frozen fruit.
Steamers mashed potatoes- do have a preservative but the steamers sweet potatoes do not and they are much healthier than white potatoes. When a recipe calls for Steamers mashed potatoes you can always use the sweet potatoes if you are avoiding preservatives.
Steamers vegetables- I only buy these on sale and I buy tons of them. The only ingredient in the bag is the vegetable unless you get the kind in sauce. Albertsons and Kroger often have them for $1.00 a bag. The fresh are more expensive and so is the bulk frozen bag.
Most of the menus will have ingredients like soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, canned pineapple, Worcestershire sauce, jarred spaghetti sauce, canned diced tomatoes, etc. These are all considered packaged foods and most can be found in a healthy and even organic version at the local grocery store. Sometimes a recipe will call for a canned cream soup which they do sell in healthier versions.
We try to eat as “clean” as possible but clean eating does not mean you cannot eat from a package. I read labels and try to buy organic when I can.
Another question I am often asked is how much I spend weekly on the 5 meals. This question is not exactly black and white. Depending on where you shop and prices in your area, it can range from $50-$75
I am a bargain shopper and use coupons! I have a stockpile of items I buy when they are on sale. My weekly average is around $35-$40 for all 5 meals. There have even been weeks when all I had to buy was the meat because I had everything else on hand from buying during a sale. Watch those meat sales too. If you really want to save then stock up during a meat sale and freeze it.