“It Makes Eating More Exciting:” Cooking Fast, Affordable, Delicious Meals – CBS Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Trying to put a reasonably priced meal on the table for a family, no matter how small, is getting harder and harder.
Eat in, eat out, get meal kits – what’s the best value?
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It’s right in the wheelhouse of nutritionist Leslie Bonci, so let’s start with the meals you make when they arrive in a box.
“First of all, it saves time,” she says. “You don’t necessarily have to go to the grocery store, you don’t have to prepare this food. You don’t have to put it away. Just open the box and you’re ready to go.
She adds that you don’t waste money since everything you need in the amount you need is in the box.
“So it’s spice and that’s all, ‘Oh, I bought cumin. I used it once and now I’ve wasted that $5 costing,'” she said. declared.
When it comes to serving sizes, Bonci recommends the “Three Bears” approach – “It’s just right.”
Also, unfortunately for some, no seconds.
“It’s like you can’t look for more, it’s like the bottom of the box, that’s all,” she explained. “There is no secret door.”
Bonci said the meals are nutritionally balanced, so read the prep times carefully so you know what you’re getting and there’s the intangible variety too.
“It’s not that same old chicken anymore, it’s like ‘oh, it could be teriyaki or it could be something with garlic or whatever,'” she said. “So it makes eating more exciting.”
As for ordering takeout?
“When you order, you also pay for the work of the chef and all the line cooks, that’s how it is,” Bonci said.
She added that you can save money by leaving the grocery store to your line cook.
“When I can grab that rotisserie chicken, I can grab a bag of mixed grains, and I can actually grab some prepared pasta, put it all in a bowl — absolutely effortless,” she said.
However, Bonci cautions if the boxed meal deal is a subscription, try it once or twice before committing to something you and the family may not like in the long run.
Does that mean less effort equals more cost?
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Generally, prepared foods from the grocery store tend to be the best alternative to full-fledged self-cooking at home.
WATCH: Quick and Easy Meals
Now, we’ve all been there, there are days when you don’t really plan on having dinner with the family – so what should be in the house to ensure you always have a meal to go?
“Number one, and still on the list, are bouncy canned diced tomatoes,” Bonci said. “You don’t even have to chop them, they’re ready to go and however you want to use them in the winter here in Pittsburgh right now…our not-so-fabulous fresh tomatoes.”
Next is canned beans, says Bonci, the protein is there, the fiber is there, and it can be the base of many different dishes.
Third, comes canned fish.
“It could be tuna which could be seven which could be sardines which could be clams,” she said.
Don’t forget the others that Bonci recommends, like pasta and peanut butter.
Wait… peanut butter?
“You know, peanut butter mixes with a little soy sauce and crushed red pepper, it’s a delicious sauce to put on something incredibly easy,” she explained.
Other things to keep on hand, according to Bonci, are rice, olive oil and canned vegetables.
Let’s not forget the breakfast.
“Oats, of course,” she said. “Then also another high-fiber cereal, then add canned or dried fruit.”
Bonci added that no pantry is complete without some boxed macaroni and cheese.
“You can take that and you can add a can of mashed cannellini beans to add a bit more protein and creaminess if you want,” she described. “You can add a can of peas and even tuna on top.”
Which is designed to be economical and ready to feed a family.
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These are just a few ideas, you can read more about Bonci on his Active Eating Advice website at this link!