Love it or hate it, cooking is a chore that never seems to end. As a single person, we can recall plenty of evenings involving a dinner of popcorn and red wine; however, this won’t cut it when growing children are involved. Ordering takeaway meals might be convenient, but it quickly adds up, and there aren’t typically healthy options available.


How can busy families ensure they are eating well without sacrificing flavor, time, or hard-earned cash? Check out our four tricks for quicker, healthier, easier meals for the whole family on a budget.


Mind Your Pantry

We can’t stress this enough; a well-stocked and organized pantry is going to save you an immense amount of time and money. Iit will also be easier to prepare healthy dishes when you have staple items at your fingertips. We recommend following the sales and stocking up on the following non-perishable items:

  • Canned Items:

o   Tomatoes

o   Tomato paste

o   Tomato puree

o   Salsa

o   Corn

o   Chickpeas

o   Black beans

o   Kidney beans

o   Coconut milk

  • Dry storage items:

o   Lentils 

o   Couscous

o   Barley

o   Bulgar Wheat

o   Basmati Rice (or another rice preference)


Spice Up Your Life

Herbs and spices add big punches of flavor without adding calories or fat. If you worry that your kids won’t eat anything that isn’t bland, then start off with cinnamon, parsley, basil, or other less aromatic herbs and spices. You’ll quickly work up to using chili flakes, coriander, and curry powder. We don’t think it’s cheating to buy pre-made spice mixes and always have a drawer full of flavor inspiration.


Smooching Smoothies

Our kids are obsessed with smoothies, and it is likely the only way that school runs happen on time. It is also a way to ensure everyone in the family gets enough fruit and vegetables. To speed things up and cater to different fussy family members, we have separately marked cups for our blender. This way, we can prepare the night before and simply blitz in the morning. Alternatively, when fruit goes on sale or if given a bumper crop from the neighbors, we spend a day chopping and freezing for grab-and-go options later on. Here are some of the smoothie staples that we always try to have on hand in our house:

  • Ice
  • Frozen strawberries
  • Frozen blueberries
  • Frozen peaches
  • Frozen bananas
  • Healthyroo protein powder
  • Almond Milk
  • Oat Milk
  • Honey
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Nut butters


Appreciate Your Slow Cooker

Anyone that knows us will be surprised that the slow cooker wasn’t first on our list. In fact, we have been known to bore a few party guests by rattling off various slow cooker recipes. We recommend that you don’t mess around with a small appliance and instead ensure that you purchase a slow cooker of about six to seven quarts. 


The slow cooker comes out in our house at least a few times a week, yet we rarely repeat meals. These meals are filling, cheap, healthy, and super easy. When we know that the next day will be chaotic, we chop and prepare the evening before, and then simply take the ceramic insert from the fridge to the appliance in the morning and switch it on. Dinner is then ready to go with no fuss and no mess. Some of our favorite recipes include:


We will sign off by giving you our last trick: plan and use your leftovers! Cold rice is ideal for making fried rice the next day. A bolognese sauce can be turned into a cottage pie, soup, or chili. Eating healthier is simple, but it does take a small amount of forward planning, leading to massive savings and less stress.