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Eat Well, Spend Less: 7 Ways To Stay On Track During Summer

My food budget is out of control. A combination of it’s-too-hot-to-cook weather and the general laziness of summer has taken me over and I’ve apparently thrown menu planning and frugal shopping out the window!

While I’m OK with not having the lowest food budget in the world, the past few weeks, I’ve gotten more than a little careless in the past few weeks – to the point that I ran to the store to pick up a few things for dinner and made so many impulse purchases that it would have been cheaper to eat out.

Sigh.  My friends in the Eat Well, Spend Less series are here to get me back on track – and hopefully you, too, as I can’t be the only one who’s become a prudent shopping failure this summer?!  This month, we focused on eating well and spending less during the crazily hectic summer months.

Here’s a roundup of everyone’s tips and strategies for feeding your family healthy food without blowing the bank during the summer!

Freezer meals for traveling

Jessica is Mrs. Freezer Cooking Extraordinaire.  Really, she has a cookbook coming out next year on this very topic, and I am dying to read it!  There’s way more things you can make ahead and freeze than just casseroles with cream of chicken soup, and I love her ideas for taking freezer meals on the road!

When we vacation, we’re usually able to stay at a place with a kitchen and take most of our meals with us.  I’m going to be exploring Jessica’s recipes for some new ideas for things that can easily be made ahead, packed in a cooler, and then just heated up when you get to the hotel!

Kitchen maintenance before you leave

There is nothing better than returning from vacation with a fantastically clean home, and nothing worse than returning to a stack of rotten food and dirty dishes.  Mandi has some practical advice for things you should do in your kitchen before you leave on vacation so you don’t return home to a mess!

She is so totally right on with this statement: “I don’t mind a little stress before we leave for vacation if I know it will pay off while we’re away and when we get home.”

Get through summer without relying on concession stands

Everyone knows that concession stands and amusement parks have the most overpriced food ever, and Shaina’s here to help with tips for getting through summer without relying on cotton candy stands and drive thrus.  If you need a pep talk about packing lunches, Shaina’s your girl!

The kids and I have been hitting the park quite often this summer, and our favorite packed lunch has been popcorn – yes, just popcorn with butter, salt, and pepper!  Popcorn would not normally fill us up if we were sitting at the dinner table, but for whatever reason, a gigantic bowl of popcorn, eaten at the park, is a great sack lunch for us!

Tasty, healthy snacks on an airplane

Yeah, those little pretzels and a half can of Sprite are not going to keep you satisfied on an airplane ride.  Aimee has a great list of easy snacks and light meals that can be taken on an airplane, and a recipe for cookies that pack a yummy and healthy punch.

No more “it’s too-hot-to-cook” excuses

I’m right there with Tammy, who’s giving us ideas for what to fix when it’s too hot to cook.  Summers in Colorado are really not that bad, but when you consider the fact that most of us have no AC, there are usually a few weeks a year when the heat inside is stifling and there’s nowhere to escape it (aside from driving around the neighborhood with your vehicle’s AC blasting).

Most people say to bake in the mornings when it’s hot, but Tammy is spot on when she says that only works to heat up the house of the rest of the day!  She recommends baking (if you must) in the evenings, and has more great ideas for getting food on the table without heating up the house.

Healthy food over a campfire

Camping out doesn’t mean you have to eat hotdogs at every meal.  Katie has a list of six ways to eat well and spend less while camping.

If only she had posted a list of six ways to keep your toddler from screaming all night long while camping – then I might be able to take advantage of her other camping tips!

More food tips for summer

I shared the types of foods that will go on sale during the summer so you can be prepared to stock up at rock-bottom prices.  And, Alyssa and Katie may be sharing some more great tips later this month!