Tips for Eating and Shopping Well

Source: A Snap Cookbook: Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown 

Buy Foods that can be used in multiple meals

For example, if you buy corn meal you can make both polenta, corn bread and fried polenta strips. If you buy yogurt you can eat it with fruit, make raita, tzatziki or use it in soups or drinks.

Think Weekly

When you’re on a tight budget it’s easy to feel like there isn’t enough variety. Mix it up by buying different staple foods, like grains and beans each week. Yes, this week you may have had black bean chili, black bean tacos and oatmeal every morning, but next week you will have chana masala and hummus with yogurt for breakfast. Also, if you don’t mind shopping, try to

plan things so you pick up your produce every couple of days to make sure it’s at its freshest. It’s a lot more inspiring to pull out a bunch of crisp vibrant greens than to unstick the wilted mess from the bottom of the fridge.

Start Building a Pantry

If possible, and admittedly this can be difficult for people on their own, start buying at least one or two more expensive items for the pantry each week you go shopping. Things like olive oil, soy sauce and spices are expensive initially, but you use little enough with each recipe that they go a long way. If you get just turmeric, coriander, cumin and some fresh ginger suddenly

you’ll have a world of flavorful dishes to make with inexpensive and everyday foods. Check out the next section for more specific items to build your pantry.

More Veggies = More Flavor

Nothing livens up the bowl of rice like summer squash and corn! Vegetables make the best sauces, they are earthy, bright, tart, sweet, bitter, savory, rich. Make them a priority on your grocery list and you won’t get bored.

Buy eggs!

With these babies in your fridge you are only ever minutes away from a satisfying meal. Scramble an egg with some leftovers or put an egg on top of a salad, bowl of grains or vegetables and deliciousness is guaranteed.

Don’t  Buy Drinks

All the body needs drink-wise is water. Except for milk, most prepared drinks are overpriced and deliver a lot of sugar without filling you up like a piece of fruit or a bowl of yogurt. If you want a special drink make an agua fresca smoothie or tea at home.

Buy a Pepper Grinder

Seriously, banish pre-ground pepper from your life; it loses all of it’s flavor when it sits around. Pepper is not just some dusty, crunchy black stuff that people seem to think is important, it’s essential to bringing out the best in everything. Fresh pepper creates pops of intense

flavor on the tongue and lights up bland dishes. One of the most popular pastas in Rome is just pasta with butter and pepper, give it a try!

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