Pretty much every day in my job I come across people who are time poor and or stretched to the limits in terms of their finances. This often leads to poor food choices, whether it be because of the perceived ‘cheapness’ of the fast food, or the fact that it is more often than not, fairly fast and often an easy option when the kids are screaming ‘what’s for dinner, Mum???’.
I say perceived ‘cheapness’ because more often than not, when families add up how much they have spent on food for the previous week, including whatever was bought at the supermarket/ market/dairy/restaurant and fast food stores they are shocked to find out how much it actually is that they have spent. These days you can easily spend $40-50 feeding a family of four standard fish and chips. If you are buying takeaways three or four times a week, that is already $120-200/week. For takeaways!!! Whaaaat??
When I add it up in front of families, they are shocked.
In comparison, eating well doesn’t have to be expensive.
Here are my top tips on how to do it.
- Plan. Head to the supermarket once/ week with a list of ingredients needed for the meals that you have pre-planned. Don’t go when you are hungry if you want to avoid all those unnecessary extras turning up in your trolley – you know what I mean; the chocolate/ chippies etc.
- Buy fruits and vegetables in season. If it’s the middle of winter, embrace pumpkin, leeks, kiwifruit and oranges for example. Buying things like strawberries and most salad type vegetables at the moment will more than likely push your grocery bill sky high.
- Keep a stock of non-perishable staples in your pantry. Things like tinned tomatoes, some form of bean or lentil, tinned fish and a form of starch such as rice, pasta or couscous can be lifesavers. Eggs in the fridge are another must. In fact just from those few ingredients listed you have the base for fritters, Moroccan baked eggs and tuna pasta in a tomato sauce! Easy!
- Buy one packet of spice or herbs each week to slowly build up your collection. Exciting and flavour filled meals are just a couple of weeks away!
- Buy meat when it’s on special and freeze it. Use it the following week once you have found a recipe you want to use it for. You can then ensure you plan to get all of the other ingredients you need for it in your next weekly shop.
- Keep a stock of at least one to two different frozen vegetables in the freezer. This ensures you have some form of vegetable to pad out meals at all times. Get creative when using vegetables. You are only limited by your imagination!
If you need any help with budgeting or healthy eating advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Bitewize Nutrition for your own personalised plan.