I find it really annoying the supermarkets are still trying to get rid of all the leftover treats and nibbles before they use-by date. WE DON’T WANT ANY MORE! WE WANT HEALTHY FOOD (well I do!) I want BOGOF’s on fruit and veg, not 36 packets of crisps! Why is it always so expensive?! Having said that, I guess we shouldn’t worry why healthy food is costly, but why processed food is so cheap!
January is also one of those stressful months when our bank account seems to empty before we get to payday . So here are my TOP 8 TIPS that will help us save a few pennies and get everyone one on-board the boat to healthiness without going into the red or stretching our waistline.
Eat at home!
Although the cost of an average pub meal has gone down, we are spending more than ever before on eating out. Yes it’s great when you can’t be bothered but not so great for the piggy bank. Added to this, restaurant meals are often more calorific and we eat 20%-40% more calories when we eat out compared with eating at home! So plan some tasty dinners the whole family will enjoy and the bank will thank you for.
This may sound dull but can make a big difference. Do a menu plan for the week and then write a shopping list. This way you are more likely to just buy what you need and you can also plan in the use of leftovers. Plus you can ensure you eat a range of foods over the week so get your quota of fish, lean meat, rice, pasta, potatoes and different vegetables etc.
I am a serious bargain hunter and refuse to pay for overpriced food. The battles going on between supermarket continue but seem to be doing us a huge favour when it comes to driving prices down. Economy ranges have grown and the likes of Aldi’s Super 6 offers on fruit and veg are fantastic! 59p for a pineapple or bag of kale sounds great to me.
Also by going shopping an hour or so before they close, especially before a bank holiday, supermarkets have to get rid of perishable produce so practically give it away 🙂
Don’t go shopping with the Cookie Monster!
Don’t ever EVER go shopping when you are hungry. This is a BIG MISTAKE! You lose all sense of rationale and become an impulsive shopper – you’ll only end up throwing loads of junk in the trolley (or eating half of it on the way round) and it will only be when you get hoe you realise there is actually nothing proper to eat! Unplanned spending can mean a shock at the checkout!
Seasonal veg is often cheaper. Check out my last blog here to read more about the health benefits of seasonal food.
Having said this, you don’t have to stick to fresh – there really is not much difference in the vitamin and mineral content of fresh, frozen or tinned produce so go with what suits your budget and storage space.
Bulk it up (with beans)!
Protein, especially meat is expensive so bulk out your meals with nutritious beans and vegetables that will make your dinner tasty and satisfying. Plus your meals will go further. Add chickpeas, kidney beans, cannelini, borlotti, haricot beans or lentils – in tins are fine and really cheap. All these are high in protein so a great alternative to meat, even if you don’t want to be a vegetarian.
Slow cooking is a great way to use cheap cuts of meat and make them into a mouthwatering meal. Stewing, braising steak or oxtail for example are very affordable and chuck in a load of veggies or beans as above and you’ll be able to feed the 5,000! Better still, you can set your dinner off before you go to bed / work, it will do it’s magic and dinner will be ready when you need it.
This is also a no hassle way to batch cook – portion up the meal / leftovers into freezable containers and you’ll always have a fall back plan so you’re less likely to pick up the phone and get a take-away or nip out cos you haven’t got the time / energy.
Give yourself rules when the cupboards get low at the end of the week. See it as a challenge to rustle up something edible for tea with just a few ingredients – a bit like ‘Ready Steady Cook’ if you have ever watched that. I’ve done this at home with my husband. It suits our competitive natures and we have had a lot of fun. I think only once (when my husband cooked) it was inedible so don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
I’d love to know if you think any of these will be useful for you 🙂