I've got several goals that I'll check in on Friday about that have some sense of connection to my kitchen pantry. Both DH and I need a healthier diet. We're not spring ducklings any more and the food we put in our bodies needs to not just fill our tummy's but support optimal health. Sodium, trans fats, simple carbohydrates, and processed foods need to minimized while plates filled with healthy vegetables, beans and legumes, and lean proteins become the core. I need to lose weight-a lot of weight. I need to lose more than 10% of my body weight, but I'm setting that as a goal. What goes on my plate will either hurt or hinder this effort. And of course, careful food buying and management will be an important component to efforts to test out and gear up for DH's retirement and us living on just my salary. The goal will be to defer tapping into DH's retirement and not count on Social security. I can trim away convenience foods and ready meal type ingredients that cost more and are less quality and save some dollars in the budget.
I've got a slew of low cost meals but too many are reliant on cream soups (Sodium heavy) and their siblings to get the meals made quick. Quick, fast food, is often the enemy of a healthy diet unless its fruit and raw vegetables. I think to not rock my boat too much, what I need to do is look for substitutes to transform both less than healthy dinner staples into both healthier and cost efficient versions. I'm going to give it a go-taking versions from my beloved 1987 church cookbook, and altering with substitutes. I also will take you along as I cook more with my daughter, enjoying more plant based meals. I won't harp about veganism, just the general health and cost improvements I hope to achieve with incorporating 1-2 meals per week without meat, and without relying on ready made meat free items. They are often very expensive, not filling, and give plant based eating a bad name as being unaffordable.
Here we go 2022. I may be entering the last 1/3rd of my life and I want it to be an active one. Good energy fueled by clean food can't be a bad thing and if it helps our financial goals, all the better.
A few quick substitutions and strategies
- Flavored Béchamel Sauces instead of Cream of soups
- Instapot cooked black black, kidney, pinto, and navy beans and chick peas to avoid the added sodium in canned versions ( This means I need to figure the damn pot out)
- Day old bread toasted and crumbled for toppings on casseroles or meat coatings, or as croutons for homemade soups and salads
- Homemade veggie and chicken stock, frozen in flat zip lock bags for hot dish, stuffing and soup bases instead of buying broth
- Cutting up more large carrots, celery cabbage and other veggies to eat with hummus or dip instead of paying for precut-including baby carrots
- More ground turkey instead of beef
- More rice bowl meals where rice is the base, then vegetables, and meat is used more as a flavoring