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Eat Well For Less - Recipes
Can you eat well for less and save money?
The answer is yes you can, and we are going to show you how. It’s an old wives’ tale that eating healthily is expensive. The truth is it’s all in the planning. So whilst you may need a little more time to eat on the cheap, your purse will most definitely thank you for it.
Here are 25 tips which will help you on your way to eating well on a budget, whilst enjoying healthy, wholesome and delicious meals.
We really did mean it was in the preparation! Meal planning is the first stop to eating well for less.
- Pick a day of the week to plan your meals for the week ahead. A weekend is generally a good day to go for, as you have time to search for recipes you like.
- Write down every single meal for the entire week – breakfast, lunch and dinner, and snacks too.
- Where possible, try to go for recipes which share some of the same ingredients and make sure you go for recipes which will serve your entire family. It is much better to cook one meal for everyone, rather than cooking different meals to suit people’s tastes.
- Batch cooking is your friend here – so look at recipes which you can make in bulk and freeze for a later date. It is often cheaper to buy ingredients in larger quantities, and it means you have a healthy meal you can reheat or defrost another day. Dishes that are great for this are curries, chilli and sauces.
- Think about recipes that are filling, as well as balanced. You might be thinking ‘why eat a balanced diet?’ A balanced diet is so called because it gives us all the nutrients we need, whilst keeping us fuller for longer. An example would be something like a 5 5 bean chilli, broccoli and brown rice. This plate provides protein, carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals, as well as an excellent dish to batch cook and freeze (the chilli part, not the rice).
- Think about dishes which can be made from tinned goods or frozen fruits and vegetables too. Chickpeas, sweetcorn, tuna etc are all great tinned foods which can be the centre of the dish.
- Limiting the amount of fish and meat you eat in meals is also a good way to make savings, as these products do tend to be more expensive. Look to create more vegetarian dishes or opting for poultry like chicken or turkey.
- Think about buying fruits and vegetables that are in season. Local and seasonal produce that is aplenty is generally cheaper.
- Now you’ve got your meal plan you can make your shopping list for the week ahead. It may be helpful to write next to each ingredient how much you need of each item (ie 4 large tomatoes, 4 chicken breasts etc) to prevent overbuying (and spending more) and also prevents food waste.
- Many dishes consist of some of the same ingredients, and so it’s handy to do an audit of what store cupboard essentials are coming up in your meal plan and add these to your list too. Once they are in the cupboard you can keep coming back to them to add to your recipes.
Store cupboard staples:
- Salt and pepper
- Chilli flakes
- Mixed herbs
- Onions (you can chop these and freeze these for later – more on that below)
- Olive oil
- Dried brown pasta
- Tinned tomatoes
- Stock cubes
- Curry powder
- Garlic cloves
- Tinned beans – haricot/cannellini/kidney beans/chickpeas
The food shop
Now you’ve got your shopping list – it’s time to head for the supermarket. Some things to remember when you’re shopping.
- You don’t have to buy fresh vegetables – you can buy frozen and tinned too, which means they will last longer and go further.
- You can buy vegetables and chop them and freeze to use at a later date – like onions, peppers and green vegetables like spinach.
- Just because there is a deal on – it doesn’t mean you have to buy it. If you’re not sure what you’re going to use it for or when, don’t buy it.
- Look in the World Food Aisle for things like coconut milk, rice, beans, pulses and sauces etc – generally the prices are a little lower.
- Remember there are lots of ‘convenience’ foods you can make yourself – like ready to go tomato pasta sauce or pesto. These are things you can make cheaper yourself and freeze.
- Try to avoid anything that is prepared or labelled as a convenience or on-the-go – they will have a higher price point. This includes ready meals – you can make a spaghetti bolognaise for far cheaper than a supermarket ready meal.
- Try to resist the urge to impulse buy. If it’s not on your list – don’t buy it!
- In line with the above, make sure you don’t go to the shops when you’re hungry (it’s an almost definite way to pick up things you don’t need)
- When you’re looking at products, go for generic brands rather than well-known ones. The chances are the product will contain almost exactly the same ingredients and taste the same, for a fraction of the price.
- Buy in bulk were possible – such as rice, pasta, noodles etc.
Recipes to eat well for less
Here’s five recipes to get you going on your eat well for less journey.
Overnight oats x 4 servings
- 200g Rolled oats
- 1 tinned peaches
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 350 ml Milk (use supermarket brand nut milk if vegan or dairy free)
Spoon everything apart from the peaches into a bowl and mix. Pop into separate bowls or ramekins, and place the peaches on top (drained) Put into the fridge overnight – ready to be consumed first thing in the morning!
Easy pasta salad x 4 servings (batch cook)
- Medium pack of wholegrain pasta (penne, fusilli or similar)
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp pesto (green or red)
- A selection of veg – pepper, cucumber, sweetcorn, beetroot (whatever you have available)
- Salt and pepper
Cook the pasta per packet instructions. While it cooks, chop the veggies into small bitesize pieces. Mix together the mayonnaise and pesto for a quick and simple dressing. Drain the pasta and stir the pesto mayo mix through. Add the veggies and stir. The perfect pasta salad to be enjoyed hot or cold from the fridge.
Quick fajita wraps x4 (batch cook the filling)
- Chicken breast
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp each - paprika, chilli flakes, garlic powder and oregano (you can add coriander and cumin if you have it)
- Wholemeal wraps
- Lettuce (optional)
- Cheese (optional)
Chop the peppers, onions and chicken. Mix together the herbs into a combined mix. Heat olive oil in a pan and add the chicken. Cook until turning golden and then add the veggies. Cook for another few minutes and then add the spice mix. Once cooked, turn off the heat.
Grab your wrap and assemble with the lettuce, cheese and fajita mix. Put the rest of the mix into a Tupperware and enjoy for another easy weekday lunch.
5 bean chilli x4 (batch cook and can be frozen)
- 1 onion
- 2 peppers
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- 400g tin of mixed beans
- 400g red kidney beans
- 2 tsp sugar
- Fresh coriander (optional)
- Rice or jacket potato to serve (optional)
Heat a casserole dish or large saucepan with olive oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic and spices. Cook for a few minutes. Add the peppers. Add the beans with juice and the chopped tomatoes and stir until combined. Add the sugar and mix through. Leave to simmer until thickened for 15-20 minutes. Serve with chopped coriander on top and rice/jacket potato.
Quick and easy thai green curry (x 4 batch cook and freeze)
- 1 jar green curry paste (buy to use for multiple recipes & buy supermarket brand)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 courgettes
- 2 peppers
- 1 onion
- Pack of green beans
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 fresh chilli
- 1 star anise (optional)
- 250g Chicken or turkey pieces – or aubergine if you’re vegetarian
- Rice to serve
Chop the onions, courgettes, peppers and aubergine. Heat some oil in a pan and add the garlic, onions, star anise and the green curry paste. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Add the courgettes, peppers and meat if using. Cook for a few minutes until the meat starts to go golden. Add the coconut milk, the maple syrup and half of the chilli, chopped. Stir together and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve with rice.
What meals are you going to include in your budget friendly shop?