feeding kids healthy food on a budget

Eating healthily is not always easy. Organic, fresh food costs more than mass-produced food, which makes it hard for families on low incomes to afford. As a result, a lot of parents end up buying cheaper, less nutritious starchy foods that fill their kids up, but don’t provide the vitamins and other nutrients they need. So what’s the alternative?

Buy Food from Farmers Markets

Farmers markets are an excellent place to find locally produced fresh meat, cheese, fruit and vegetables. You can find all sorts of delicious and nutritious food at farmers markets, including organic grass fed beef, free range chicken, locally produced sausages and pies. Everything on sale at farmers markets is delivered straight from the field, so it is a lot fresher than anything for sale at a large supermarket. Shopping at farmers markets is also good fun, so why not take the family for a weekend jaunt?

Shop Locally

Instead of shopping at the nearest supermarket, try your local shops instead. There are always plenty of bargains to be had when shopping in small, local stores. Fruit and vegetables tend to be cheaper and fresher if you buy what is in season. Meat and fish are also fresh. If you shop locally regularly, you can haggle a bit over prices and take advantage of the best deals.

Try and buy what is currently in season and freeze the extra for a later day. Shop daily instead of weekly and go at the end of the day when fresh food is discounted for a quick sale.

Buy Food Online

Kitchen cupboard staples such as dried goods are often cheaper if bought in bulk online. Look for special deals from discount suppliers and buy enough to last you for a few months – food items such as rice and pasta won’t go out of date for ages. It is also worth looking for items that are past their ‘best before’ dates. There is nothing wrong with such foodstuff; they taste perfectly okay. The only date you need to strictly adhere to is a ‘use by’ date on meat and dairy.

Grow Your Own Fresh Fruit and Veggies

A cheap way of eating fresh food all year long is to grow your fruit and veggies. All you need is a small patch of garden or some pots and window boxes. Start off growing tomatoes, sweet peas, beans and herbs. Then, if you have the space and time, have a go at growing root veggies such as carrots, parsnips and potatoes. Nothing beats your own fruit and vegetables – they taste better and they are free.

Use Food Banks

If money is really tight and you are struggling to feed your family, ask for a referral to a local food bank. There is no shame in relying on charity for fresh food and vegetables. If it helps your kids eat healthily, it’s a good thing, so don’t let a misplaced sense of pride get stop you asking for assistance.

You can feed a family on healthy food, but you need to manage your budget carefully and buy what is in season rather than what you want to eat. And remember, junk food is always more expensive than healthy, home cooked meals.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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