Feeding your family these days feels like it gets harder by the day. For many families, the rising costs for food are making it harder to make sure everyone is satisfied. These cheap and easy ways to make meals more filling can help fight inflation at the grocery store and keep your family well fed.
Start out small with just one or two tips and keep adding more as you go. Soon enough your family will be eating better than ever for a portion of the cost.
How to save money on food by making meals more filling
With a little work you can make meals more filling for your family helping make your food budget go further. When feeding a large family like ours it can make a world of a difference in the cost. Making sure meals are both filling and packed with nutrition helps to ensure that I do not hear that the kids are hungry 5 minutes after a meal.
Give your family a quality multivitamin
While this tip may not make much sense because a multivitamin is not filling or part of a meal this can be an amazing trick to help make your family feel fuller faster and longer. Cravings and hunger are often caused by the need to fill in a nutritional gap. When you give your family a quality multivitamin you fill in gaps that even the best diets fail to completely meet the needs of the human body.
Bulk up the vegetables
Vegetables are packed with fiber and very filling. If you have a garden you can grow your own vegetables. Many people even grow their own salad greens indoors with a hydroponics system during the winter for a frugal meal booster.
If you have a frugal place to get salad greens you can use this trick without growing your own. I find the local Kroger clearances bagged salads all the time allowing me to grab them for the family at a portion of the cost we just need to use them up fast.
Adding vegetables to your recipes not only helps to add more flavor but to give them a fiber boost that makes them more filling. Vegetables are bulky and can make the overall dish look like it contained a lot more food. The visual this creates makes food seem more filling visually.
Bulking meals up with grain is a great way to make them more filling and help them go further. Try adding pasta or rice to your soup or stews. You can bulk up ground meats by adding a hand full of quick oats that will soak up some of the fat and take on the flavor of the meats.
Making casseroles and other dishes that use a large amount of grains like pasta is a great way to make meals more filling and helps to save money on food when things are tight. Combining pasta and veggies is a great way to reduce the amount of meat needed in a meal without anyone noticing.
Many people will say not to do this because grains are not the healthier option for your family. Carbs tend to be processed and empty of nutritional value but there are healthy options on the market. You can find enriched pasta and rice. Whole grain pasta and even pasta made from vegetables. You can swap white rice for brown that is less processed and packed with more nutritional value. Adding filling grains does not need to sacrifice nutrition.
Serve bread with your meals
Adding grains directly to your meals is not the only way to use grains to make your meals more filling. One great way to do this is to take the time to serve bread with your meals. This can be as simple as serving toast with your breakfast.
This trick is commonly used at restaurants. Places like Texas Road House serves rolls with Cinamon butter, Olive Garden serves bread sticks, and Cracker barrel serves biscuits with almost everything. This helps make customers leave feeling more satisfied for the money they spend giving the meal more value without raising the cost a lot.
Use protein powder
One way I like to make meals feel more filling for my family is to add protein powder to them. I keep these powders on hand for myself so it makes sense to add them to smoothies, pancakes, and oatmeal for the kids. The extra protein boost helps to make the meals feel more filling and keep everyone content for longer.
Serve fruit with meals
Whether you are making the fresh fruit part of the meal or serving fruit as desert making fruit part of your meals is a great way to make them more filling. Adding fruit to oatmeal and such can be a great way to bulk it up and add flavor.
Try serving fresh fruit like watermelon before dinner in the summer to cool you off and fill you up faster. Serving berries with lightly sweetened whipped cream or serve apples with a dip made of peanut butter and a dash of ground cinnamon to help add a filling element to the end of the meal.
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