Soup: The Budgeter’s Winter Go-To Meal

by Jessica Sommerfield · 1 comment

Eating healthy may have been one of your New Year’s resolutions, but if you’ve scanned the grocery aisles lately, especially the fresh areas which contain the least processed items that are better for you, you’ve discovered that it won’t be such an easy task. If you don’t buy food purposefully and plan menus to avoid waste, it can be very costly to eat healthy. This is especially true in the winter months when many fruits and vegetables are out of season and priced accordingly.

One of the best recommendations for getting the healthiest return on your grocery money in the winter months is to make soup – lots of it. Soup is an especially warm and inviting meal on cold winter days. There are many healthy choices for soup, such as vegetable and vegetable-meat soups, chicken noodle, tomato, minestrone, lentil, and others. What’s more, they are great budget-savers. Here are a few reasons why.

  • The ingredients in soup are cheap and versatile.

The broth-base in many soups is can be homemade from the juice left over from a ham, chicken, or beef roast. Otherwise, soup stock is inexpensive. If you use grains or beans in your soups, these items are available in bulk to make them even cheaper per serving. You will need to cook dried beans longer than canned ones, but if you use a crock pot, you can simmer them all day while at work or running errands. Leftover fresh vegetables which would normally go to waste are great thrown in soup; frozen vegetables are cheap and healthier than some canned versions with high salt content.

  • Soup goes a long way, and can be easily frozen.

A huge pot of soup or chili can feed a large family easily, with leftovers to spare. If you are single or a smaller family, cooking a large pot of soup is not a waste, because you can eat off of it for several days, which is especially helpful on busy days. Soup also keeps well in the freezer. Dish it up in serving or family meal-sized portions to be easily reheated at a later date.

  • Soup is filling, and it tastes good, too.

If you have teenagers with big appetites, you will appreciate this trait. Soup has a lot of liquid as well as bulk, or fiber, so it will fill you up fast without a lot of calories (or expense). Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it has to be tasteless or boring, either. Experiment with seasonings to find new ways to add flavor without adding salt.

Getting the most out of your grocery budget while making healthy choices is important, and so is your time. Cooking up large batches of soups in your free time is a great way to be a good steward of both, and grow in your cooking skills.

Bonus Tip:

Another way to save on your monthly Internet and TV costs is to find a current ATT U-Verse coupon code or at least a promotion to knock down your home service bill.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Priswell August 28, 2012 at 10:41 am

And soup is easy to make, too. If you use skinless, boneless chicken, brown it in your soup pot till done. Then take a a fork and pair of kitchen scissors (I keep 3 pairs of Fiskars going in rotation, I use them so much), spear the chicken on the fork, and cut off chunks of the chicken until it’s all bite sized. Let it brown a little bit more, then pour on water, herbs, and chopped veggies.

I use a manolin slicer (specifically a Borner slicer for me), to chop veggies and it’s QUICK! Chop the veggies while the meat is browning, and you can have a pot of soup in about 40 minutes, maybe less.

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