Keeping a family fed while being mindful of health and budget can seem an almost impossible task. It is no secret that many families are struggling with finances. In addition to financial issues, many families have limited time to invest in the kind of meal planning and coupon clipping we are so often impressed with on television shows. How can a modern family with working parents, sports, homework, music lessons, and a laundry list of activities, chores, and commitments, and financial issues, eat well? There is one answer to these questions and it is the 99CENTS store. You may have made up your mind that it is full of expired food, or that it is dirty. You may think you just can not bring yourself to shop at a discount food store. Truly, these are all misconceptions. The products carried by discount dollar stores have to meet the same guidelines as any grocery store. The products are not inferior in any way.
They have fresh produce, a bakery section, and freezers. Some even carry meat produced by popular local meat companies.
They have milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese, and cookie dough. You can find pasta, pasta sauce, soup, taco shells, breakfast cereals, juices, soda, pancake mix, flour, sugar, and yeast. These stores also carry lunch snacks, peanut butter, coffee, tea, tuna, canned vegetables, olive oil, spices, etc….There really is not much these shops do not carry. You can create great meals for each meal of the day with good ingredients and live within your budget. Feeding your family with limited financial resources is really easier than you think. As an example, meals which have been tested by a staff member can help you get started.
Our staff member bought Hunt’s tomato sauce, made with whole tomatoes and no preservatives. She also bought brand whole wheat pasta, a bag of brand spinach, a tomato, a cucumber, a bottle of brand dressing, a bottle of preservative-free Parmesan cheese, and a loaf of french bread. The entire meal totaled $8.00. If you want to add protein to this dish, you can go to the supermarket and buy $2.00 worth of ground beef, which is a sufficient amount of protein for this meal. Keep in mind, lean ground beef can have less fat than ground turkey. Next, she tried a delicious, and healthy, frittata recipe. This recipe calls for eggs, tomato, asparagus, feta cheese, skim milk, green onions, and olive oil. This meal would cost less than $7.00. You can add a fruit salad of bananas, apples, and strawberries for an additional $3.00.
She also tried a bean-based taco dinner. She bought brand taco shells, a can of brand beans, a brand jar of fresh salsa, a container of brand of Mexican cheese, a bag of chopped lettuce, a container of sour cream, a bag of limes, a mango, a bunch of cilantro, and a bag of red onions. Put the beans in a sturdy sauce pan, heat through, and partially mash them, leaving whole beans. Fill the taco shells with the beans, the cheese, lettuce, sour cream, and salsa. For a sweet and vitamin-filled salad, cut the mango into chunks, chop the red onions, and the cilantro, squeeze the lime juice from half a lime over the top, and you have a great addition to your tacos. This entire, delicious, healthy meal was $10.00. And there will be cheese, lettuce, onions, and limes left over for other recipes.
You may be thinking, these are unreasonable recipes, ‘my family wants meat and fish.’ The great thing about these stores is that you can get your pastas, grains, and starches for $1.00 which leaves more money free for the meat and the fish from your local chain store. If your dollar store does not carry meat, or you are just not….there yet, check your local chain market for the discounted meat or fish of the day. Our staff members have found all kinds of great meat and fish deals of perfectly good and fresh items for less than $5.00. Add fresh vegetables and you can have a great meal for a great price! Breakfast meals can be covered for less than a few dollars with cereals, eggs, pancake or waffle mixes. It is possible, and even easy, to make meals with well priced, fresh foods.