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Eating Within Your Budget | U.S. News

The pandemic has significantly disrupted our jobs, our non-work related activities, social engagements and how we choose to nourish ourselves. Many people have seen their personal income take a hit and are trying to be creative and innovative in getting the most from the least when it comes to feeding oneself and family.

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How can we be safe and efficient when we shop – and proficient when we prepare food at home? Is it possible to maximize nutrition while minimizing costs?

Think About How You Shop

As a starting point, think about the way you shop and what you spend your money on when it comes to food:

  • Do you buy in impulse, or do you plan?
  • Do you buy foods that are ready to eat or do you cook from scratch?
  • Do you choose foods based on the dollar value or nutritional value?
  • Do you spend a lot on snacks, beverages and desserts?

Planning and Stocking

We don’t all know on Monday what we want to eat on Friday, but in our new COVID-normal, it is safer to minimize the frequency of supermarket excursions, so we may want to keep some foods around that lend themselves to quick preparation. For instance, frozen ravioli can be jazzed up with pesto or a puttanesca sauce (tomatoes, olive oil, olives, capers and garlic). Then throw in some frozen broccoli for a quick, delicious and nutritious meal.

Leftover Makeovers

You can also batch cook and then makeover your leftovers by changing the sauce, the presentation or the add-ins:

A batch of chili could be the base of several different meals:

  • In tacos.
  • As Spanish rice.
  • Sloppy Joes.
  • Over a baked potato.

  • Mixed with mayo, apples and celery for a chicken salad.
  • Mixed with BBQ sauce for a pulled chicken sandwich.
  • Sautéed with veggies and served over rice for a stir-fry.
  • Chopped and added to a cheese quesadilla.

  • Covered with sauce, cheese, sausage or veggie crumbles and extra veggies.
  • Folded over into a calzone.
  • Rolled thin and baked crispy for a bruschetta.
  • Brushed with olive oil and garlic and served with greens and beans.

Breakfast for Dinner

For the budget and time conscious, breakfast is always a great dinner choice. Eggs are high in nutritional value and low in cost. They can be scrambled, served as an omelet, an egg bake, a frittata. A quiche made with eggs, evaporated milk and leftover veggies – crustless or in a crust.

French toast, waffles and pancakes are all lower cost foods and can be prepared quickly and the batter can be enriched with added protein (nonfat dry milk powder or yogurt) and canned pumpkin or applesauce to add more produce.

Cereal is a great breakfast and snack choice but also works as a breading for meats or vegetables, as an ingredient in a trail mix and DIY energy bites. You can make your own energy bites with cereal, oats, dried fruit, honey, nut butter and powdered milk.


Snack hacks can put money back

Aboriginal leaders criticise $39m budget funding to non-Indigenous program for boys

Video: Budget a comprehensive range of programs not to be taken in isolation: Treasurer (Sky News Australia)

Budget a comprehensive range of programs not to be taken in isolation: Treasurer



Indigenous groups and Labor have criticised the Coalition for allocating more than $39m of extra funding to a non-Indigenous sport-based initiative for boys, but failing to adequately fund Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to meet the new Closing the Gap targets in its budget.

a close up of a flag: Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

The government has set aside only $46.5m over four years to support capacity-building in Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to meet targets set out in the new Closing the Gap agreement.

But a decision to allocate $39.8m of extra funding to a non-Indigenous sports-based initiative for boys has drawn the ire of Labor.

The Clontarf Foundation has been awarded the sum over four years from 2020 to expand and extend its program, “which supports the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men”, according to last night’s budget papers.

a close up of a flag: Labor’s Tanya Plibersek has criticised the Morrison government for not providing funding for Indigenous girls after the Clontarf Foundation received $39.8m for boys.

© Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
Labor’s Tanya Plibersek has criticised the Morrison government for not providing funding for Indigenous girls after the Clontarf Foundation received $39.8m for boys.

Related: High-income earners to reap 88% of Coalition’s tax cuts by 2021-22

Labor’s education spokesperson, Tanya Plibersek, criticised the Coalition for not including funding for Indigenous girls.

“Why do Indigenous girls miss out? There are many groups doing terrific work with Indigenous girls that would love extra funding so they can help extra people. I’ve seen this work firsthand and it’s changing lives – more girls finishing year 12, and more going on to Tafe and university,” Plibersek said.

“Given the trillion dollars of debt, I think Australians would have expected the Liberals to do much more to support Indigenous kids – both boys and girls.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Education pointed to lower retention rates for Indigenous boys in years 10 to 12 than Indigenous girls, saying that “additional support from the Australian government for the Clontarf Foundation will help to enhance the school education experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys and young men, which will contribute positively to engagement and retention to the end of year 12.”

The Clontarf Foundation, launched in 2000, operates 119 academies nationally, using a mix of state and federal government funds, philanthropic donations and powerful corporate partnerships – including Fortescue Metals Group, Wesfarmers, Glencore, AMP, and the Ramsay Foundation.

Clontarf plans camps, excursions and other activities with a focus on wellbeing, life skills and sport. In order to remain in the program, students must stay at school and “embrace the objectives of the foundation”, according to its website.

But questions have arisen over the years about its effectiveness.

A 2016 New South Wales Department of Education evaluation of Clontarf’s performance in the state found the program was having a “modest” impact.

The study found that it had a “positive attendance effect for