October 23, 2009

Saving Money on Healthy Foods—Part 4

Part 1 of the series

Part 2 of the series

Part 3 of the series

Today our focus is on milk and dairy. Since many people are allergic to cow’s milk, I’m including some other options and ideas as well as addressing traditional dairy products.

How to fit more dairy into your day:

  • Start the day out with dairy. Breakfast of yogurt, fruit, and granola makes a yummy breakfast. Traditional cereal and milk is a staple in many households.
  • Pack dairy in the lunchbox. Pack cheese slices or string cheese sticks as a snack for your children. If you want to make it extra fun, use mini cookie cutters to make fun shapes. Don’t throw away the “scrap” cheese—add it to casseroles or freeze it for later use.
  • When you catch a mark down on milk, use it for just about everything. Make homemade or boxed recipe pudding. Add it to creamy soups. Make your own yogurt.
  • Make Soaked Oatmeal. Soak 2 cups of old fashioned oats in 2 cups of milk overnight in the refrigerator. Bring 2 cups water to a boil and add 1 t. salt. Stir in oat mixture and stir until heated through and thickened. Serve with butter and real maple syrup. The oats will only cook about 3 minutes and will be fabulous. Add what oatmeal you do not eat to an oven safe ramekin and pop in the toaster oven the next day for baked oatmeal.
  • Desserts are an easy way to add dairy to your diet, but many people are trying to cut calories and sugar intake. Instead of a heavy dessert, serve fruit with cheese or slightly sweetened real whipped cream.

How to save money when purchasing dairy:

  • Know that milk can be frozen. When you catch a great deal on milk but cannot use it before it expires, freeze it. Remember that the milk will expand when frozen, and to prevent the jug from bursting, pour a little of the milk into a separate container to allow for expansion.
  • Use coupons for dairy and allergen free options. While coupons for regular milk are a little harder to find, ones for cheese products, yogurt, organic options, and soy are readily available on line, in the newspaper and via loadable coupons. Make sure to couple the coupon with a sale to get the best deal.
  • Cheese can also be frozen. Mozzarella and softer cheeses if shredded tend to clump together, but harder cheeses such as cheddar do great in the freezer. Stock up if you have room.
  • Watch the deli section for mark downs. I’ve found feta cheese at a clearance price. Since I had a coupon, the feta was around $1 for a block and the perfect addition to the salad I was making that night. It never hurts to run by that section of your store to see if any goods are to be found.
  • Buy local. I prefer Cruze Dairy Farm milk for many reasons, and the price in comparison to organic milk is on the top of the list. Their milk is not certified organic but is grown using organic methods, and the cattle are grass-fed. All of that, and I save money—who could ask for more?
  • If you are using soy or almond milk, consider making your own. A friend once told me that she does this for her stepson with great success. Do a quick internet search, and you’ll find recipes to get you started.
  • Make your own yogurt, cheese, ricotta, farm cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt cheese. These are very easy to make, and when you catch a great sale on milk or have a coupon these can be very inexpensive. To make many cheeses, you will need milk that has not been ultra-pasteurized. Since most milk in the grocery has, opt for a local choice or raw milk if your state allows. For the locals, Cruze Dairy Farm is great for making cheese! If you’d like to learn how to make cheeses or yogurt, contact your local branch of Slow Food International, your local agricultural extension agency, or 4-H to inquire about classes.
  • Realize that there are other sources for calcium if you are not able to use dairy—cruciferous vegetables, fortified juices and products, and white beans are also options for calcium that at times can be less expensive than dairy.
  • Use dried milk and dried buttermilk when cooking to help save money. Add dried milk to recipes with water to add some calcium to the dish.

What other ideas do readers have for eating more protein or saving money at the store when purchasing dairy items? Please add any tips to the comments section so that all readers may benefit.

1 comment:

  1. These are some great tips! Buying cheese and milk on sale and freezing it is an excellent idea.