Hi, my name is Chef Ze’ and I have been teaching cooking classes for almost two decades. I love to cook but what really brings me joy is sharing cooking tips and life-altering nutritional information. I believe that food is life and everyone deserves good food. With that being said, part of my mission as a Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter board member is to share my knowledge of food and the food industry to help foster my sentiments.
Understanding your finances and how they affect your household can help your family through times of economic uncertainties. I am not a wordsmith but I bet that the word of the year will be INFLATION, and there is no way that anyone can escape its effects. However, as consumers there are ways that we can control how much it affects our bottom line, especially in the kitchen. When it comes to food consumption, cutting back is not always an option; for example, if your family includes children and seniors, their specific nutritional needs cannot be easily ignored.
To tackle food inflation, embracing basic culinary concepts can be a lifesaver. Understanding the foundations of proper nutrition will help you expand your food budget and give your family what it needs without breaking the bank. Practicing the following concepts will help you maximize your food budget:
- Understand the basic food groups and what foods are included- MyPlate.gov is where you can find this information along with some easy recipes.
- Buy whole food ingredients- convenience foods such as pre-sliced or individual serving size foods may seem like time savers but in reality, they are budget-busters and actually cost more per serving. Buy the bigger or bulk bag and invest in reusable containers and break it down yourself.
- Make dinner preparation a family affair- even the youngest member of the family can contribute to meal planning and execution. Every family is unique and whoever is in charge of meal prep can capitalize on those qualities and involve the entire household. Studies have shown that families who are involved in meal planning are more likely to eat healthier.
- Plan your meals in advance- when you plan your meals ahead of time you are able to properly prepare by gathering ingredients and assigning family members their roles in the meal prep.
- Eat seasonally available foods- MyPlate.gov provides a list of fresh fruit and vegetables and their seasonal availability. Although you can find many fruits and vegetables year round, nature is still the boss and many are best harvested and grown during certain times of the year. For instance, you can find citrus all year long in the grocery stores but peak season for citrus is during the winter months, when the fruit is at its best and more affordable.
Understanding the basic food groups and involving your family in meal planning is just the beginning to a more affordable grocery bill. There are more components such as basic knife skills and learning how to read food labels, just to name a few. Please look for your newsletter next month as I share more kitchen knowledge.