With fewer grocery trips planned in the coming weeks, I’ve been trying to come up with simple ways to make the food we do have last longer. Here are 7 super easy food hacks to stretch the groceries in your refrigerator and pantry further.
This post is in partnership with NOW® Foods. All opinions are my own.
These are definitely crazy times we’re living in. Although, I have to admit, not that much has changed in my family’s day to day life, other than we’re all at home.
I work from home so I’m used to it. I’m also used to my parents being at home [they’re retired and have lived with us for 5 years now], but having the kids at home all day and my husband working from home now too, there’s an adjustment period.
Another thing that has taken some time getting used to is cooking and groceries. While I cook dinner for the 6 of us nightly, now I’m cooking breakfast and lunch for all of us as well.
On top of more cooking, I’ve also not been running to the grocery store every time we’re out of something. Actually I’ve not been to the store in weeks. I stocked our pantry and freezer as soon as this all started and then have only had to make 2 grocery online pickup runs a couple of times since.
Now that more and more people are being advised to stay at home, I thought I would share with you a few ways that I’m making this an easy transition to not visit the grocery store as much so that you could use some of these same food hacks to be able to stay home and healthy with your family too!
Make a meal plan.
Any time you are trying to stick to a budget, have less food waste, or even eat healthier, the first tip is to always have a meal plan. But that’s because it works.
If your pantry and freezer are already stocked, start with a tour of those to see what meals you can put on the menu for the week. If they aren’t, make a meal plan and then shop accordingly.
Stretch your packaged meats further.
This is a HUGE game changer for me and one that I can see a huge difference in. For example, last night was Taco Tuesday in our house and one where I would normally use a whole package of ground beef. But with stores running out of fresh meat, I know that I need to stretch that further.
I had Q Cups on hand from NOW Foods and mixed in one package with half of my ground beef, along with my preferred taco seasoning. Quinoa is great to add to meat because it really takes on the flavor [and this Southwestern Barbecue flavor even added to the meal] and even disguises itself with the texture of the ground beef too.
So not only was I able to stretch this meal to make more, I was able to add some great nutrients and benefits with the added quinoa, like protein and fiber. While you can get quinoa in different varieties, I really do love the Q Cups as they’re the perfect size for my family and are ready in just 5 minutes.
Make your own bread.
This is one I haven’t done yet, but I have ordered all the ingredients online, like almond flour and yeast, to make my own bread. I have a bread machine, so I’m hoping to make a sandwich loaf in that, but there are also great no machine options too, like these:
Grow more produce from produce scraps.
I’ve always seen those fun experiments that you can do with your kids about growing celery and lettuce from scraps that you would normally toss in the trash, but I’ve never actually tried it. I think it’s time!
If you’re ready to try it too, here is a great post about 25 foods you can grow from scraps.
It’s also a great time to start planting seeds indoors for a future backyard, or even inside, garden. And believe it or not, you can actually grow your own food all year round!
Use scraps to make broth.
If you’re not regrowing produce with those scraps, save them for broth! You can put them in a container and keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. You can also do this with bones from meat you’ve cooked as well.
Here’s a great recipe to make your own bone broth.
Double meals, freeze other half.
Another super simple food hack is to double your recipes. While this may seem like you’re using more food, because you are, it’s a great way to have meals on hand in the freezer. This is especially great when using fresh ingredients that would go bad faster.
Take advantage of online shopping, delivery options.
It’s so important to stay home as much as possible right now, which means it’s a great time to try to do more online shopping and delivery options. I live in a very rural area so we only have the option of Walmart pickup and no fresh grocery delivery options. But there are a few nationwide options you can try like Misfits Market or Imperfect Foods.
While life might look and feel a little different right now and a few more weeks to come, I hope you see that there are simple ways to continue to feed your family on a budget without going to the grocery store. I encourage you to use these super simple food hacks to keep your pantry, refrigerator, and family fuller longer!