Now that you’ve rid your pantry, freezer and fridge of all those unhealthy foods, what do you cook?
- A good place to start eating healthfully is with soup. Whether in the slow-cooker or stove-top, soups are a diet and health staple.
- Need a slow-cooker? Plug “crockpot” into the for sale items on Craigslist.com and a few are bound to show up. Keep an eye out at yard sales, thrift stores and on Freecycle as well. Considering they can go for as little as $20 at Target or Walmart, it might be worth investing a new one with instructions and a guarantee that it will work and cook foods properly. If you are on a tight budget, though, a hand-me-down is better than nothing.
- Load the soups and chili with lots of vegetables, lean meats and beans. There are a great deal of soup recipes out there to take advantage of. Visit sites like Pinterest, foodnetwork.com, allrecipes.com or cookinglight.com for recipes.
- Avoid cream based soups and other items that add fat and carbohydrates to your soup. The more vegetable laden soups are best. Pasta, rice and potatoes are okay, but try to use them in small amounts. Sausage and fatty meats should be used sparingly or substituted with leaner meats.
- Don’t pile on the cheese, and resist the urge to use a lot of crackers, chips or bread with it. These defeat the purpose of eating a healthy soup.
- Take advantage of your produce drawers. Any items in your fridge that look like they’re going down hill will work just fine in a soup. Avoid using too many canned items, this can add a lot of salt. Rinse your beans, corn or other canned vegetables before adding to the soup, with the exception of tomatoes of course. Frozen vegetables are fine as is, though.
For some good soup ideas, read 101 Healthy Soup Recipes at Cooking Light. For crock pot soup and meal recipes, there are couple of places to visit. First, here is a list of skinny crock pot recipes at Texas Fit Chicks. Here are another 12 recipes that can help you get started with healthful home cooking.
Make sure to take advantage of fresh, and preferably local produce.
Saar’s has some great deals on fresh produce, especially if you watch their coupons. Load that cart up with everything fresh you can find.
MacPherson's Fruit & Produce on Beacon Hill, located at 4500 15th Ave S, Seattle, WA. is a popular stop for finding bargains on fresh produce. Shoppers rave about this discount produce source but also warn that the produce needs to be used quickly. Read all the great reviews for yourself at Yelp.
For more soup ideas, be sure to read my previous articles.
- Meal planning, a great way to save money This article has many great resources to help you stay within your budget. Not only that, by cooking at home you can eat more healthfully and save money.
- Grocery shopping in Seattle: Getting the most out of your local chain The title of this article says it all.
- Grocery bargains this week in South Seattle Though the bargains in this article are no longer relevant, be sure to watch the video for tips on how to make a chicken stretch through several meals.
Also, be sure to check out the first article in this series: Frugal health, eating right part 1: Getting Started. This primer will help you rid your kitchen of problem foods so you can prepare to cook at home and eat more healthfully.