Filling bellies on a budget

I’ve been asked about filling hungry bellies on a budget.
And if your kiddies are anything like mine, they have times when they seem to be unfillable!

The basic idea is for each meal and snack to have carbs for energy and fibre, protein for muscle growth, and fats for energy. Foods with fibre, protein and fats slow down the absorption of the food, making kiddies feel fuller for longer.

The cheapest foods, tend to be ultra processed carb foods like white bread and noodles. Many families use these as staples to feed their kiddies because they are cheap.

The problem with these foods is they lack fibre, fat, protein and general nutrients so there’s nothing in them to keep a kid or teen sustained. They provide energy, but that’s about it. Ultra processed carbs are also quickly broken down and absorbed by the body, meaning an empty tummy in under an hour.

If you can, try and switch to more whole food carbs – which will be higher in fibre and nutrients (vitamins and minerals), like, rice, oats, millet, potatoes, kumara, pumpkin, grainy bread, corn, pasta etc.

If white bread and noodles are your kids favourites and a staple in your cupboard, then add foods that are high in fibre, fat and protein to it. For example, a salad and egg sandwich with mayo, toast with baked beans and cheese, scrambled eggs on toast, noodles with frozen veggies boiled eggs.

Keep food Simple

Making food from scratch is cheaper than buying it premade – for example making your own gluten free muesli is 1/4 of the cost of store bought!
Eat in season! Fresh produce that is in season will be cheaper. If you can buy seconds or ugly fruits
Frozen veggies are cheap and healthy and a great option when you can’t get it fresh
In season fruit like apples an pears at the moment are cheap and if you add peanut butter or cheese or hummus it makes an excellent snack
Legumes like lentils and chickpeas are super cheap – buying them dried even cheaper!
Choose cheap cuts of meat and slow cook them, chuck and rump steak are great in the slow cooker.

Some cheap food ideas:
🍎 Rice porridge cooked with milk and/or coconut cream – if you need to use milk powder and water as that is cheaper than milk. If you add stewed apples or bananas to it, you increase the fibre. If you add toasted nuts or seeds you add fat and protein. You can make it sweet by adding cocoa powder and calling it chocolate rice pudding. You can use other grains for this too, oats, millet, amaranth.

🍎 Frittata, omelette, scrambled eggs. Add vege’s to increase the fibre, add smoked fish, left over chicken etc to increase protein, add cheese an oil to increase the fat.

🍎 Baked potatoes! Eat these hot or cold – cold potatoes are high in resistant starch and great food for your gut bacteria. Stuff them with baked beans, tinned tuna and aioli, left over cold meat and salsa, left over mince, cheese and pasta sauce.

🍎 Stuffed apples and pears with custard

🍎 Root vegetable wedges with aioli and onion jam

🍎 Homemade baked beans (cheaper than tinned and lasts a week in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer)

🍎 peanut butter on apple or pear slices, peanut butter on celery sticks, hummus and carrot sticks

🍎 Pumpkin soup and garlic bread

🍎 potato + veggie fritters

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