The cost of food is rising much the same as the cost of just about everything else. What is your family to do? Here are some suggestions for creating filling family dinners even when you are on a budget.

Stretching the Limits

When money is an issue, dinner doesn’t have to be. If you have a dollar amount assigned to your grocery bill each month, there are ways to make those dollars stretch to the finish line. Remember, eating at home doesn’t have to become a poor substitute for eating out. Besides better nutritional value, home-cooked meals can be created to last for more than one night. Leftovers make use of the entire meal so nothing is wasted.

Learn about meal planning. This involves creating a weekly dinner menu so you already know what you will be eating each night. You save money by not eating out as well as only buying what you need each week to prepare what you planned.

Tips for Creating Family Dinners on a Budget

Here are some ideas for filling dinner entrees.

  1. Buy meat from the butcher – Every meal doesn’t have to contain meat, but when it does, get the best price that you can. Butchers usually offer great deals on beef, chicken and pork. They can cut whole pieces of meat for you as well like pork shoulders or whole chickens. Purchase enough meat for a month of dinners.
  2. Choose frozen vegetables and fruit – Frozen is the next best thing to fresh. If you are worried about the shelf life of fresh varieties, frozen will last longer. Money won’t be wasted if your fresh fruits or vegetables go bad.
  3. Leftover magic – Extra food is food that can be used in another dish. For example, leftover chicken breasts from dinner can be used in a casserole, pot pie or homemade soup. Use leftover rice to create an Asian fried rice dish.
  4. Make casserole-type dishes – Lasagna is an alternative to spaghetti if you want to use spaghetti sauce. A pound of hamburger can go farther in a dish like this. For a meatless meal, add sliced veggies and cheese instead of hamburger.
  5. Homemade pizza – For the price of a large pizza at one of the local chains, you can make several pizzas at home. Offer up a variety of fixings so each person can choose what they want their slice to look like.
  6. Sandwiches – Every dinner doesn’t have to be four courses. Use leftover chicken or hamburger combined with barbecue sauce to create a zesty sloppy Joe or barbecue pulled chicken sandwich. Add a pickle and you’re done.

Dinner doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be nutritious or filling. Start with the ideas above and learn how to stretch your food dollars in amazing ways.

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