MANILA, AUGUST 1, 2009 (STAR) It is a challenge that all moms must face sooner or later: preparing affordable meals that are at the same time good for the family’s health. That is not such an impossible task, as any mom can find ways to prepare quality, healthy meals each day while sticking to her budget. 

So how do you make sure that your loved ones’ health and enjoyment at mealtime are not sacrificed while you stretch and maximize a limited budget? Read on.

Plan your meals

Always plan meals for the entire week; this makes shopping easier and prevents unnecessary purchases. Create a meal planner so you know ahead of time what food items you need to buy even before you go to the market.

In making a meal planner, use the 3Gs — Go, Grow, and Glow — as your guide. This ensures that your meals will be nutritious. “Go foods” like rice and bread are excellent sources of energy; “Grow foods” like meat and fish are good for building muscles; and “Glow foods” like fruits and vegetables help strengthen our immune system.

Review your list first before you go shopping to make sure everything is within your budget.

Drink Bear Brand Powdered Milk Drink every day

Milk is one of the most affordable and convenient sources of nutrients available. Nutritionists and health experts highly recommend milk for supporting your children’s optimal growth. Adding milk in your family’s diet can help in meeting your daily nutritional requirements.

Bear Brand Powdered Milk Drink is an excellent source of calcium that helps make bones and teeth strong and healthy. It also contains protein for building and repairing tissues. It is also fortified with resistance-building nutrients such as iron that helps in having healthy blood and antioxidants zinc and vitamin C that support the immune system.

Shop at a wet market

Looking for more affordable food items? You can opt to shop at a wet market where you can have a “suki” to help you get special discounts and assistance in choosing the best food items.

Never also forget to compare prices and check the quality of the food items being offered to you.

Eat home-cooked meals

Eating home-cooked meals is cheaper than eating out. Preparing food at home allows you to have complete control of the cooking process and the ingredients you put in your food. It also helps you estimate the amount of food you have to prepare to lessen leftovers and waste.

Reduce food waste

Before you think of throwing out leftovers, consider first how you can still use them in making a snack or as part of another meal. For example, the leftover fried chicken at lunch can be minced and, with some dressing and spices, be turned into a delicious sandwich filling for merienda.

It’s important to properly store and re-heat leftovers when using them for other meals. Do not re-heat anything more than once to preserve its freshness and nutritional content. Too much heat kills certain nutrients and destroys flavor.

Grow your own

Why not cultivate a patch in your back garden to grow your own vegetables and fruits? This not only cuts down your food expenses but also allows you to grow organic, pesticide-free produce. Water and nurture your plants with your kids. This is a good family bonding activity. You and the kids not only get some exercise, but also learn the value of living according to nature and the importance of growing things to sustain life. 

Eating healthy need not be expensive. Once you have learned careful meal planning, shopping, and cooking, it’s much easier to give your family good, nutritious, and healthy food while following your budget.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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