You’re a busy person on a budget, but interested in eating healthy. Where do you begin? Cooking food at home doesn’t have to take forever or involve advanced skills and it’s usually a lot cheaper than eating out. Because you control what you put into the food as well as the portion size, it is often also healthier than food from a restaurant.
Healthy eating will give you the energy you need to make it through a tough day of school. Without the proper amount of nutritious food, it will be difficult for you to focus on school work, sports, or socializing with your friends. Food is fuel. You wouldn’t get very far without fuel in your car, and the same is true for your body. Food is especially important for growth. You need the right amount of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to grow. Even if you aren’t worried about these things now, eating healthy when you are young can help prevent serious diseases in the future, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
New to cooking or looking to brush up on your cooking skills and terms? Start with the Cooking Terms and Definitions guide. Not sure what healthy eating means? Check out our Healthy Eating guide. Interested in making healthier choices in the grocery store? The Nutrition Facts Label guide will help.
When shopping on a budget there are a few tips that will help bring the price of groceries down. First, plan ahead and make a shopping list; this will help prevent buying any items you don’t really need. By planning ahead, you might also be able to buy in bulk. Generally, food is cheaper when you buy more of it. For example, if you plan to make two recipes that call for shredded cheese, the larger bag of cheese will be cheaper than buying two smaller bags. If you can buy fresh produce, items that are in season are generally less expensive (this varies by area). Frozen vegetables and fruit are a good economical alternative to fresh. Just make sure to look at the ingredients to ensure no sauces or syrups have been added. Most large grocery stores have a frequent shopper card with deals. Ask at the customer service desk then look for the sale signs throughout the store.
Below are some recipes, including some adapted from Quick and Easy Recipes for Teens, 2nd Edition. Hopefully you will find them to be a helpful starting point for cooking food that is healthy and inexpensive.