How To Keep Eating Well If You’re On a Budget

What to Keep Up

For families who have decided to buy healthy snacks, produce and whole grain costs may seem incredibly high. However, eating healthy snack instead of snack high in sugar is a natural way to boost energy and to curb and unhealthy appetite. Though healthier foods may be more expensive, they help to keep both adults and children fuller for longer, reducing the frequency with which such snacks are purchased and ultimately saving families money and supplementary energy boosters and appetite reducers. Eating healthy snacks also helps the body to feel more active. This results in increased activity and reduces the risk for heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases which cost a lot in bills and healthcare.

What to Add

Buying healthy food in bulk is a great idea for a large family. It’s a quick and easy way to make healthy choices, and lots of them, all at once. For those with smaller families, it is important not to over purchase quantities of food. Though it may seem smart cost wise, much of the food will be unusable before smaller families get around to preparing it. Also, families should try to add homemade recipes to menus. By involving the entire family in meal selections, children often feel more included and enthusiastic about healthy food options, thus eliminating food waste.

What to Cut Out

Though some fruits and veggies may be favorites, it’s a good idea to cut out those options that are more expensive in favor of cheaper options. For example, if a family member enjoys eating fresh cherries, but they are much more expensive than grapes, it may be a great idea to settle for the less appealing but still healthy and satisfying alternative. Also, simply by resisting the urge to buy by brand and by actually checking nutritional content and with prices, families can cut down on unnecessarily wasted money. Also, by eliminating unhealthy juices and beverages from diets, and by increasing the amount of water and fruits that are ingested, families can reduce sugar intake and save even more money.

What to Tweak

Many shudder at the thought, but leftovers are actually a great way to reduce food costs and to keep up a healthy, balanced diet. Often, families opt for fast food and other unhealthy options because of time limitations. By reducing homemade meal frequency to just a few times a week and making enough for leftovers, families can still eat healthy food without feeling rushed or pressed for time because of the need to prepare new ingredients. Reheating food also decreases the necessity for going out for lunch during work and school hours, thus leaving more room in the grocery budget for healthy options.

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Low Calorie Cooking with 360 Cookware Vapor Technology

360 9pc Cookware Set

Low Calorie Cooking Technology!

360 Cookware is a line of high performance,
stainless steel cookware that promises to handle all of your traditional recipes beautifully while also providing the opportunity of cooking with fewer calories by eliminating the need for fats, oils or extra water.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, the secret behind 360 Cookware is a vapor seal that creates a low but intense heat that permeates food evenly from all sides. The specially-designed lid can be engaged to create a floating seal, surrounding food with even, controlled heat from 360 degrees, locking in flavor, texture and nutrients, all without excess fats or water.

After steam starts to escape from food, you spin the lid and the seal is engaged. The vapor technology cooks food faster and on a lower heat setting so it uses less energy than traditional stainless steel cookware. The heat is so well distributed that you can bake a cake on the stove top! Food even tastes better and is more nutritious because the low heat doesn’t destroy vital nutrients and texture.

And you can feel good about purchasing green cookware that is “Made in the USA.” Not only does 360 Cookware use less energy, it is also manufactured at the greenest cookware manufacturing plant in the country.

360 Cookware is made of multiple layers of high-grade metals including interior layers of bonded aluminum that are carried up the sides and throughout the lip of the pan. All 360 Cookware is encased in surgical grade, non-leaching 8/10 T-304 stainless steel, so food does not come into contact with soft metals, non-stick coatings or other potentially-hazardous elements. Each model is constructed with an ergonomic, stay-cool handle, and comes with a lifetime warranty.

An added benefit of the vapor technology is the ability to cook healthy, one pot dishes. They have plenty of healthy recipes featured on their website, so we tested out the Tilapia with Fresh Salsa, Corn and Baby Spinach. The entire meal took about 20 minutes to prepare and the fish came out to light and flaky perfection!

360 Cookware – Tilapia With Fresh Salsa

Tilapia with Fresh Salsa, Corn and Baby Spinach Recipe

16 ounces best quality fresh salsa
4 cups lightly packed baby spinach
10.5 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ears corn, shucked, kernels cut from cobs (about 1 ½ cups)
4 skinless tilapia fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Smoked paprika
1 lime, cut into wedges

  • Pour the salsa into the stainless steel 3.5 Quart Sauté Pan.
  • Sprinkle the spinach over the salsa in an even layer, and lightly season it with a little salt. Sprinkle the black beans and corn evenly over the spinach.
  • Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper. Lightly sprinkle the fish with smoked paprika. Arrange the fillets in a single layer over the vegetable mixture.
  • Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat until steam just begins to escape from the lid, about 5 minutes.
  • Spin the lid to engage the vapor seal then reduce the heat to low. Cook the fish for 2 minutes then immediately remove the pan from the heat. Let stand off-heat for about 5 minutes until the fish is just cooked through. (It should flake easily with a fork.)
  • To Serve use a spatula to divide the fish, vegetables, and sauce among 4 plates. Serve with lime wedges.

It may seem odd to let partially cooked fish stand off heat to cook but trust us, the multi-layered construction and heat retention create convection oven-like heat, so the fish comes out flawlessly. Can’t wait to try baking a potato on the stovetop!


The Truth Behind Stemware

You might cast off specialty stemware as a mere wine snob pretension, but once you see the light, it’s extremely difficult to go back. The best way to understand how drastically a wine can change based on the glass it’s presented in, is to conduct a very basic experiment.

Pour yourself some red Burgundy (Pinot Noir) in a clunky, thick-walled wine glass from IKEA with a relatively short and narrow bowl. Then pour some into a broad Schott Zwiesel “Burgunder” or Burgundy glass.

The first thing you’ll notice is how much more aromatic the wine will appear when drunk from the glass with the deep, rounded bowl. This shape allows for more of the wine’s surface area to interact with oxygen, which will amp up the wine’s aromas and will allow you to experience the wine’s delicate flavor nuances. A large bowl also enables you to swirl the wine vigorously, which will help with aeration and will soften a wine’s tannins if they start out being quite assertive. Drinking wine from a stout and narrow glass makes aeration challenging and can hinder a wine from truly expressing itself in the glass. Do your wine (and yourself) a favor and give it a proper stage upon which to perform. The difference will be completely worth your while.

The second thing you’ll notice when comparing the two glasses is how elegant the wine will taste when drunk from a crystal glass that has thin, fragile walls. The reasoning behind this might be less than scientific, but pressing your lips to a thick wall of glass is simply not appealing. The last thing you want to taste when sipping a glass of wine is the actual glass itself.

Matching Glass Type to Wine Type

Unless you consider yourself an über wine geek, you should be good to go with three types of wine glasses: a narrow flute for Champagne and sparkling wines, a smaller glass for whites, and a larger, deeper glass for reds.

The key to sparkling wine is maintaining its effervescence for as long as possible. A long narrow flute only allows a small portion of the wine’s surface area to be exposed to oxygen, which keeps the bubbles in your bubbly from dissipating too quickly. Try drinking a glass of Prosecco from a standard red wine glass and your sparkling wine will turn still real fast.

There are many variations within the white wine glass category including a tulip shaped glass for highly aromatic grape varieties like Riesling, a narrower bowl for crisp varieties like Sauvignon Blanc and Grüner Veltliner, or a more bulbous glass for rich Chardonnays and Viogniers which see some oak, but generally speaking, most whites will show well in a smaller glass.

Like with the red Burgundy example, most red wines (specifically those that are high in tannins such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec) will benefit from a glass with a large, deep bowl, which allows for ample oxygen contact. You’ll find a slew of red wine glasses on the market that are tailored for specific red wine styles or grape varieties, but any larger sized glass will do. Bordeaux glasses are typically taller and slimmer than Burgundy glasses, since Pinot Noir is a very delicate and aromatic grape variety that benefits from a good amount of air.

World Class Stemware Brands to Look For:


Schott Zwiesel


About the Author:


Etty Lewensztain is the founder and owner of Plonk Wine Merchants, which features organic, biodynamic and natural wines, as well as some of the best cheap wine under $20.

Why is Non-Stick Cookware so Popular?

The use of non-stick cookware in the United States spread like wildfire following its introduction to the market by DuPont in 1945. And, the American chef, professional or otherwise, has really never looked back.

It should be noted that the term “non-stick” can be applied with different meanings. Some refer to the non-stick qualities of cookware materials like iron or stainless steel. Here, though, it is being used to describe Teflon or other PTFE coatings.

And, there have been advancements. The 1980s saw the introduction of ceramic-based non-stick surfaces that have been infused with everything from titanium to diamonds to increase its strength. But, they still fall within the non-stick class of cookware.

Non-stick cookware is everywhere. It would not be far-fetched to guess that there is at least one piece of non-stick cookware in every American kitchen today.  It is the go-to cookware for nearly every cooking demographic in the country, whether you’re an amateur or pro, young or old, on a budget or in the money.

What makes non-stick cookware so popular? It comes down to three things: it’s inexpensive, there’s a lot of it out there and it gets the job done.


You can get a complete non-stick cookware set for as little as $30. There’s just no other type of cookware that can offer that price point. It will not be the greatest set in the world, but for someone on a budget who needs a way to heat up soup it’s just the ticket.

On the other hand, you can find high-quality non-stick cookware sets for as much as $600 or more.

The advantage is that non-stick cookware is not beyond the reach of any budget. But, why does the price for non-stick cookware fluctuate so much?


It’s not so much what’s on the inside as what’s on the outside when it comes to non-stick cookware. The non-stick polymer coating can be sprayed on to a variety of metals, which can be incorporated into any number of designs with varying build quality. That way, you have your choice between an $8 non-stick aluminum pan and a $140 non-stick stainless steel pan with a copper core.

Cooking Ability/Quality

Why do people love non-stick cookware? Well, because food doesn’t stick to it! Good non-stick cookware can be used even without butter, oil or spray and food will still slide right off of it. This paves the way for healthier cooking, too, which only adds to the value.

Since a non-stick polymer can be applied to any metal you are not really limited in the quality of non-stick cookware that is available. A non-stick polymer is most commonly applied to hard anodized aluminum to create affordable cookware of good quality, but it can just as easily be applied to stainless steel cladding, titanium, bronze or even porcelain enamel.

So, whatever cooking benefits you’re seeking, whether it is light cookware, cookware with good heat conductivity and so on, you should be able to find it with a non-stick coating if that’s what you prefer.

Non-stick cookware is also easy to care for as long as you take care not to scratch or chip the coating. If you follow this simple rule your non-stick cookware will provide years of service at a price that fits your budget.

Heavy Metal: A Cookware Material Review

Sometimes too many choices can make a decision more difficult, and thing is certain when choosing a new cookware set: you have a lot of choices.

Cookware is manufactured using all kinds of materials, but the most common are anodized aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, enameled metal, metal coated in a non-stick polymer and titanium. There are more, and copper can stand alone or be incorporated with some of these materials because it is a good conductor of heat, but these are the main categories.

So, let’s take a look at the properties of each.  

Anodized Aluminum 

You can probably find inexpensive pots and pans made from simple aluminum, but most aluminum cookware sets will be anodized. This is an electrochemical process that enhances aluminum, increasing its non-stick properties and rendering it non-reactive to acidic foods.  

The benefit of this over a non-stick polymer is that it is not easily damaged by metal utensils. It is also very durable considering how much lighter it is than cast iron or stainless steel.  

The drawback is that durable, lightweight non-stick quality tends to come at a higher price than cheaply made inexpensive cookware sets. That being said, Amazon have very competitive prices for anodized cookware sets such as the Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Cookware Set. read the review

Stainless Steel  

Stainless steel is durable, non-stick, stain-resistant and stylish. Stainless steel can be manufactured in several different ways with varying balances of metal added to the required chromium that makes it “stainless,” and these differences can impact quality and cost.

Something to remember about stainless steel is that it does not conduct heat very well and is often combined with either aluminum or copper. This is done by adding a disc of material to the bottom of the piece to help distribute heat, or the stainless steel is “clad” over an aluminum or copper core so that the conductive material runs up the sides and so better distributes heat.

Knowing how your stainless steel cookware is constructed will help you know how it will perform. In either case, though, high-quality stainless steel cookware performs very well. One of the best Stainless Steel cookware sets is the Cuisinart MCP-12 MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set. read the review

Stainless steel cookware can be heavy and it should be polished from time to time to keep it looking like new, and it should be hand washed.

Cast Iron

Cast iron cookware may be the most durable of the lot. It is heavy, dense and can survive a beating. It also cooks evenly and is easy to care for once it has been properly “seasoned.”

Seasoning cast iron cookware is necessary to keep it from rusting and to bring out its natural non-stick properties. It involves coating the metal with oil or shortening periodically throughout the life of the utensil. After seasoning a cast iron utensil should only be cleaned using hot water, and dried with a clean cloth.

Raw cast iron cookware is generally inexpensive and durable, which makes it a good choice for small investments. But, it is also very heavy and bulky and can be tiring to use for everyday cooking. 

Enameled Cast Iron

Enameled cookware is metal cookware that has been coated with enamel – a kind of smooth glass created with high heat. The metal coated could be aluminum, cast iron or some other metal.

Enameling can improve heat conductivity for more even cooking, as well as provide a non-reactive surface for cooking acidic foods. It is also very attractive and often comes in bright colors that can liven up a kitchen. 

Le Creuset have set the benchmark for practical, functional and beautiful enameled cast iron cookware

The drawbacks are usually cost, as well as being mindful of chipping the enamel. These pieces are not fragile, in fact they are chip resistant but they should be hand washed and they will chip if banged on with metal utensils. read the review


Copper is common as a core metal in high-quality cookware because it has superior heat conductivity. This enables a copper utensil to evenly distribute heat as well as hold precise temperatures very well.  

Copper is also very beautiful, and gives a kitchen an unmistakable Old-World feel.  

The concern about copper, however, and the reason why it is used more frequently as a core is because it is highly reactive with foods and can alter the taste. In fact, most copper cookware is lined with tin or steel, so the only real benefit as compared to a clad utensil is the style and appearance.  

Finally, copper cookware is comparatively expensive, but it is beautiful, unique and delivers high-quality performance.


Titanium combines super lightweight material with durability to make the perfect cookware for all-day use, or for people who can’t lift heavy objects. The question is whether the weight of the cookware you use is a significant factor in your cooking.  

The reason is because titanium does not evenly distribute heat and so will be lined with another metal. In other words, aside from being lightweight and durable, the titanium metal provides no other benefit.  

Titanium cookware sets are amazingly durable considering how light they are.  

So, you can see that there are many material options when it comes to cookware. So many, in fact, it is important to consider your needs and budget before jumping into a purchase. Hopefully, these short descriptions will give you an idea of how to best outfit your kitchen.