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I am so excited today to introduce a good friend of mine, Beth Cranford. Beth knows what it is like to try to put healthy meals on the table when life is busy and the budget is tight. She has created an incredible site called Eat Better Spend Less, where she posts awesome recipes and tips to create healthy meals on a budget. I asked her to answer a few questions for my readers, going into more detail about all she offers. Welcome Beth!
How did Eat Better Spend Less begin?
I hate to admit it Sheri, but this website was born out of my need to keep myself accountable to getting meals on the table for my family. For various reasons, I had gotten out of the habit of meal planning (and grocery shopping for that matter) and we were going out to eat far too often. When we did eat at home, we often had boring meals that I repeated a little too often.
Out of pure frustration with myself I declared “I have got to find a way for us to eat better and spend less money!” Shortly after that I had the bright idea that if I blogged about it, maybe I’d actually implement what I’m blogging about! I can’t say we’ve never eaten out since, but we’ve done a lot better!
And we’re back to having interesting meals like this one, and it doesn’t take any longer to make than a boring meal!
What kinds of things do you offer on your site?
In keeping with my strong belief in the power of meal planning, readers will find a monthly meal plan with meals that are appropriate for the current season, with linked recipes for most meals. My hope is that readers will bookmark the current month’s meal plan and use as many of the recipes as they need.
At first glance though, a reader will see that I mostly offer recipes. I try to do at least one main dish per week, since mealtime is the “problem” I’m addressing. But we all need sides and desserts, and muffins (!), so I provide some of those too.
Right now I’m working on a series about meal planning, as well as some reviews on my favorite meal planning resources. I’ve also got a freezer cooking e-book in the works, so watch for that. Sign up for my mailing list so you won’t miss it.
The goal of this site is not to promote a strictly whole-foods diet. I’m not at all against that, it’s just not the purpose of this site. At EatBetterSpendLess.com, if a meal is healthier than what you would have eaten at a drive-thru or even a restaurant, and if it cost less money, we call that a win.
We strive for the healthiest meals we can make while remaining realistic about our finances and time constraints.
Do you have any resources for sale?
I sure do!
Here is a list of e-books I have available so far:
- It’s Me or the Coupons (systems and strategies to help you save money with coupons).
- Emergency Meals (A collection of meal plans for 6 different meal time situations, such as “I need to cook for a large crowd.)
- Desserts That are Worth it (Just my favorite desserts, all in one place.)
- 16 Strategies to Eat Better and Spend Less (This one is free! Click here to get your copy)
How can you help the average mom put a healthy meal on the table?
The two things that help me the most are meal planning and freezer cooking. You can be as simple or detailed as you want to be with your meal plan. The key is to just start doing it. The same is true for freezer cooking. You can cook a whole month’s worth of meals in a weekend (not me, thanks!), you can simply cook two of each meal you make and freeze one for later, or something in between. Just get some food in your freezer, and I’m here to help you do that.
The most difficult part of making a meal plan is just deciding what to eat! We all get tired of the same thing, so it’s good to mix it up a bit with new recipes. Even if a new recipe is very similar to something you already make, just a small change can make it seem like a whole new meal. I try to provide recipes that appeal to “ordinary” tastes without getting too eccentric or focused on one way of eating.
Isn’t fixing healthy meals expensive?
I guess that would depend on how you define “healthy”. I think if you’re going for an all whole-foods diet, with grass-fed and free range meats, raw milk, and no grains, you may have to adjust how and where you shop in order to stick to a moderate food budget. But that’s not what we’re going for here at EBSL. Instead, we’re going for “better” not “perfect”. (Especially since we all know there is no way to eat perfectly.)
When you approach the grocery store with a meal plan and a shopping list, and when you are avoiding the pre-packaged and processed foods, not only have you come a long way in improving the health factor of your diet but you’ll be saving a lot of money.
Processed and packaged foods cost a lot of money and are generally not healthy. Avoiding processed foods is your biggest key in serving healthy meals and sticking to a budget. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend your life in the kitchen. Most of the meals I share can be made in less than thirty minutes. I promise; this can be done!
How can my readers connect with you?
The best way to stay connected is to sign up for my mailing list. (We all love facebook but let’s face the fact that only 2% of those who have liked my page will ever see my posts.) I send out an email each time I add a post, and I frequently send out free resources to my readers.
For the month of February, when you sign up you’ll get two free e-books. The first, “16 Strategies to Eat Better and Spend Less”, is always free. The Second “Sunday is Served; Sunday Lunch Simplified with Once a Month Cooking”, is free this month only. You can sign up here.
You can also find me at the following places:
- Facebook (This page combines Eatbetterspendless.com and my personal blog, bethcranford.com)