For many Filipino families, cutting daily expenses while maintaining the quality of their meals is now more important than ever. To support homecooks in managing their resources amid these challenging times, MAGGI shares a few cooking tips and kitchen hacks to help them become a madiskarteng budgetarian.
- Meal planning is a must – By planning ahead, homecooks are able to manage what they spend for shopping, and have better control over their food choices. When dishes are put together at the last minute, it usually leads to the use of ‘instant’ or less fresh ingredients and homecooks may end up spending more than they intended. A weekly menu not only makes it easier to create a balanced diet, but it also helps ensure that homecooks have all the ingredients needed and enough prep time for each meal. For example, homecooks can consider one-pot meals as a healthy option for busy days; or use their free time to make a recipe, or at least portions of it, several days ahead.
- A shopping list is an opportunity to save – Once you have completed your meal plan, it is time to make a list of ingredients to purchase. MAGGI believes that sarap sustansya must be abot-kaya, so a grocery list is crucial in ensuring that funds go to the essentials first. Recipes that don’t require expensive or hard-to-find ingredients are best for stretching the budget. Choose fruits and vegetables that are in season, and ingredients that the whole family will enjoy.
- Be ‘wais’ when going to the market – There are simple techniques to make trips to the market more efficient. To begin with, go early! In the case of wet markets, going early increases the chance of getting everything needed and at the freshest stage. Make sure enough time is allocated for shopping so that items can be inspected for freshness, and that labels can be carefully checked. Avoid falling for false economy, or buying the cheapest item despite its poor quality. These items inevitably go to waste because it will provide little to no benefits, so keep in mind that sometimes, quality means sulit. A lesser-known trick is to eat before going to the grocery or market, as this reduces the urge to spend on something else.
- Meat alternatives are great for any meal – Alternatives are a great way to maximize the budget in preparing meals for big families. For example, protein sources like tokwa, beans, and eggs are flavorful, nutritious and in many cases, cheaper alternatives to meat or fish. Conversely, adding vegetables, mushrooms, or even dried fruits to protein dishes not only adds volume and much-needed micronutrients, but also elevates taste. On occasions when even common ingredients are unavailable, it’s a good practice to be flexible by swapping out one ingredient for another.
- Start an edible garden – The best way to cut costs on buying food is to grow your own ingredients at home. It doesn’t have to be a full-scale farming operation – just focus on growing vegetables that are easy to plant and are commonly used for cooking like sitaw, eggplant or tomatoes, or even just herbs. Homegrown veggies can give easy access to fresh ingredients for free, and make a big impact on the family’s intake of healthy food!
- Waste not, want not – MAGGI advocates for zero-waste in the kitchen and recommends the use of ingredients that are already in stock, consuming highly perishable ingredients first. Avoid throwing food by transforming leftovers into another dish – not only is this a great way to save on food costs, but also reduces food waste. For example, the remaining two pieces of fried chicken from last night’s birthday celebration can be tomorrow’s chicken sopas. It is also important to employ food handling and cooking techniques that reduce food spoilage. Lastly, turn vegetable peelings and scraps into compost for the garden, or save cuttings or seeds from fruits and vegetables that can be planted and propagated.
Rosalyn Simba, Business Executive Officer – Food and Dairy Culinary Business Unit at Nestlé Philippines said, “MAGGI’s main mission is to help homecooks around the kitchen throughout the whole cooking process. MAGGI encourages moms to be a madiskarteng bugetarian who cooks flavorful, family friendly-meals that are affordable and nutritious!”
As the trusted partner of home cooks, MAGGI hopes to give easy ways to serve tasty, healthy meals even on a tight budget.