For many of us, if we want to eat healthier we’ve got to strategized our food bill and meal planning.
But the fact is that if you really want to eat well, you don’t need to spend more money.
One of the biggest tricks is to bulk out your meals.
It’s not something you should be embarrassed about, because people have been bulking out their meals for centuries.
If you are concerned with your finances but you still want you and your loved ones to eat well, here are a few ways to bulk out your meals that can make a big difference.
Of course, it’s one of the best ways to bulk out any meal.
But it doesn’t have to be something that is bland and flavorless.
When it comes to making vegetables taste great, there are plenty of options.
From herbs and spices to just making a really easy soup.
You can cook this chicken orzo soup in an instant pot or on a stovetop with plenty of vegetables and it tastes fantastic.
Lentils and Beans
Lentils such as red lentils or green lentils are amazing to bulk out loads of meals.
If you like making casseroles or curries and you are trying to cut down on meat, lentils are high in fiber so you will feel fuller, but they are also a decent dose of protein.
Because lentils get a bad rap because they are bland, this makes them the ideal way to bulk out dishes because you can start playing with flavors and spices.
Additionally, beans such as kidney beans can be an amazing way to bulk out meals that you wouldn’t usually associate with kidney beans.
For example, kidney beans can go great in a spaghetti Bolognese.
You might think that oats are just something for your oatmeal, but the fact is that if you’re trying to bulk out a meal like chili or bolognese, oats can be the secret ingredient that really adds more without demeaning the flavor.
Just a few sprinkles of oats can make dishes go further but there are plenty of nutritional benefits of oatmeal, including a decent dose of fiber and protein.
Because oats take on the flavor of the dish, this could be your secret weapon to making meals go further!
Of course, we couldn’t talk about bulking out meals without mentioning the humble potato!
But what we need to do to get the most out of it is to not discard the skins.
You can use potatoes to bulk out dishes like curries or soups, but all the nutrients are in the skin.
What you can do is take the skins off, fry them in a little oil with salt and pepper and you’ve got makeshift chips to go on the side!
Bulking out a meal is not something we should be ashamed of.
Everybody needs to stretch their finances further, and what better way to do it than to bulk out your meals?
If you’ve got children that need to feel fuller or you are concerned that you have to greatly reduce your portions, bulking out your meals is one of the best ways to make everything go further.
White Bean and Sausage Chili
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 2 tsp ground chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 13 oz. Andouille sausage sliced into 1/2" thick pieces
- 1 lb. dried navy beans rinsed and picked through with rocks and broken pieces removed
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper pinch each
- In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, chili powder, oil, garlic, cumin and oregano. Stir.
- Place in microwave and cook 4 - 5 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Remove from microwave and place in a 6 quart slow cooker
- Add chicken broth, water, beans, sausage, soy sauce, sugar, liquid smoke and bay leaves to the slow cooker. Stir till combined.
- Cover and cook until beans are tender. 9 -11 hours on low; 6 hours on high. Stir halfway through cooking.
- Let chili settle for 5 minutes and remove fat (if any) from surface using a spoon.
- Disgard bay leaves.
- Transfer 1 cup of beans to a bowl and mash using a potato masher or a fork.
- Return mashed beans to the slow cooker and let sit for about 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Can be topped with scallions if you desire.