feeding family on a budget

How to eat well on a budget

With increasing energy and food costs, many of us are trying to tighten our purse strings and find ways of saving money – being more mindful of what we spend on food each week, is a great place to start!

Creating, and sticking to, a realistic grocery budget, doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste and you can still create healthy meals that the whole family will enjoy. 

Here are 8 simple steps to saving money on your weekly food shop:

  1. Make sure the whole family are on board!  You all need to be willing to try and reduce the amount you spend on food: can you take a cup of coffee with you instead of buying one?  What about a packed lunch instead of a pre-packed sandwich?  Those multipack crisps in the cupboard are much cheaper than grabbing a single packet on the run!  And you don’t need a takeaway when you have a library of quick and easy family recipes (like mine!) at your finger-tips!!
  2. Carry out an inventory.  Write a list of all of the food in your fridge, freezer and cupboards.  You will be surprised at what you find lurking in there!  By doing this, you may well be able to go a week (or two) without spending much on food at all.
  3. Organise your cupboards.  Make sure you can see everything and that it is easily accessible.  There is so much inspiration online for this: I like Instagram with two of my favourite accounts being Declutter with Emma and Blissfully Organised And some great products: check out Lakeland’s expandable shelf organisers and rotating organisers
  4. Plan your meals and shop from a shopping list.  This is vital as it ensures that you always have the correct ingredients to hand to create tasty meals.  It also reduces your food waste, stops those impulse purchases and reduces the need for those last-minute take-outs!  A website like mine makes this really simple as I have the simple, tasty recipes and the shopping list – no excuses!!  And don’t forget to add some healthy, filling snacks to your shop: protein yogurt, chickpeas (for hummus or just roasted), Love Corn, veggie crisps/straws and seaweed thins are all good examples.
  1. Ditch the labels! Be willing to go for the cheaper, own brand products: I am a massive fan of Aldi for basics such as tinned tomatoes and beans.  I also really like the Ocado range of ground coffee, the M & S Greek yogurt and shop own brand bread and cereals.
  2. Reduce the amount of meat you eat.  Plan for a couple of meat-free days a week – good for your pocket, your health and the planet! I love a meat-free dinner -here’s one my favourites that you can try now. You can also bulk out meaty meals with vegetables and pulses.  Try halving the mince in your bolognaise, lasagne or cottage pie and adding a tin of lentils or some blitzed mushrooms.  Can you cook a smaller piece of meat and add an extra couple of side dishes: a cauliflower cheese is always a favourite here… and don’t forget to throw in the leaves to make it go even further!
  3. Buy in bulk and batch cook.  It is often cheaper to buy larger quantities of food items and it doesn’t take much more effort to double a recipe and freeze half.  I have started to use silicone freezer bags as they take up less space meaning I can fit more delicious, precooked meals in my freezer!
  4. Love your leftovers.  I never throw anything away – I either pop it in the freezer for another day, or I have it for lunch.  I often change it a little to stop myself from getting bored:  chilli and rice may become a chilli sweet potato for lunch, pasta can become a pasta salad with a few extra ingredients, leftover meat often ends up in a pitta bread and roasted vegetables get tossed together with a bag of mixed grains. 

For more hints, tips and recipes, you can follow me on social media or sign up to my weekly meal planner service : it’s only £5 a month and I can promise you that you will save much, much more than that!

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