is it cheaper to dine out or buy foods and cook...Im trying to get my family to eat healthier...but it seems to cost more cooking at home....
If you purchase the raw ingredients in bulk and stay away from buying processed foods, it can be a lot cheaper and healthy to cook meals at home.
Buy things when they are on sale or in season and create a pantry for the storage of those items. When condensed soups such as cream of mushroom, cream of celery are on sale, purchase a case of them. This will last you for most of a year. When condiments are on sale, purchase them by the case.
When grains or baking supplies such as beans, rice, pasta, flours and sugars are on sale, purchase them in large quantity and store in air-tight containers to retain freshness and insect-free.
Keep an eye out on prices for frozen vegetables and purchase in large quantity when they are on sale. These will stretch your produce dollars when the fresh ones are out of season and more expensive. When fruit and vegetables are in season and you find a good price, buy in large quantity and freeze or can the extra amounts you won't use up before spoilage.
Prepare meals in large quantity and store the leftovers in the freezer in portioned sizes. These you will reheat in the microwave and will be for lunches you take to work or for nights when you just don't feel like cooking.
Make your own salad dressings and marinades rather than purchasing the very expensive bottled stuff. Same goes for iced teas. Make it at home, don't buy the bottled stuff.
Buy meats with the bone in, then remove the bone either before cooking or after cooking. Save the bones in the freezer until there is enough to make your own stocks for soup. Buy cheaper cuts of meat and use a slow cooker for preparing them.
Make your own yeast and quick breads. When you make bread, make extra and store it in the freezer. Freeze formed bread loaves for future baking. Make extra cookie dough, form the cookies and freeze them for future baking.
Do all your veggie prep work once a week. Plan out your menus and prepare all the veggies you'll need for the week. Peel and chop garlic, onions, celery, carrots, peppers, etc., and store in containers to pull from during the week for your recipes.
Frequent your local farmer's markets. You get a good selection of produce, can buy in quantity for freezing/canning, and the prices and quality are much better than what you get in supermarkets.