Christmas lunch is at your friend’s house this year, and he asked you to bring a plate. Money is tight. So you ask yourself, “What’s cheap, healthy, but also looks awesome?”
While a platter of mangoes would certainly be a cheap, healthy, and colorful contribution, you want to look like you’ve put in a bit of effort.
If you’re in need of inspiration, here are some proven ideas.
First, Choose Your Ingredients
Check your pantry for inspiration or ingredients. Crackers, dried fruit or nuts are great ideas for a charcuterie board. You can use herbs and spices to add flavor to dishes, or you can use packets of dry pasta to make a pasta salad. It’s also a great way to clean out your pantry.
Focus on fruits and vegetables that are in season, so cheaper and more readily available. Keep an eye out for your local fruit and vegetable store or market, as they usually offer seasonal fruits and vegetables in bulk at discounted prices. Check this seasonal food guide to help you plan your Christmas menu.
Ask around for deals by talking to your local butcher, fishmonger or grocer and let them know your budget. They may suggest less expensive cuts of meat (like, Oyster, blades, rumps). try to cook corned beef or roast chicken in a slow cooker with lots of vegetables. Casserole can be frozen and can be useful for leftovers.
Lean towards legumes. These are packed with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. They are also economical and a great way to add texture to salads. Canned chickpeas, cannellini, kidney beans or butter beans are quick and easy additions that can make dishes more complete. You can even turn canned chickpeas into homemade hommus for a healthy and delicious side dish. Check out these healthy legumes receipts.
7 ways to cut food costs this Christmas