I wrote this more a list for myself to refer to whenever I feel my diet slipping, but thought it might be good to share. Some are obvious, some I’ve started doing recently and really enjoy. Hopefully there will be useful tips for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike.
1. Buy a reusable water bottle so you don’t have to buy drinks when you’re out and about. I always kick myself for not heeding this advice.
2. Boil bones and vegetable peelings to make your own cheap and nutritious stock. It’s healthier than shop bought stock as you can control the salt content. See my post on ‘Doing a Roast Dinner the Smart Way’ for tasty ideas!
3. Make your own packed lunch. Needless to say, a lot of money can be saved by doing this.
4. Use cheaper cuts of meat. Just as tasty; I’d take slow cooked brisket over a rib of beef any day!
5. Reduce your portion size and freeze the rest. It’s better for you, and you get more meals! One thing I always forget to do is write the contents and date on the container. My housemates and I have had a few ‘Russian roulette’ style meals, I don’t recommend it…
6. I’m a newcomer to this tip, but buying fruit that is on sale/seasonal/canned, chopping it all up and freezing them in small portions make excellent smoothie packs. Doing this has made my breakfasts so much healthier as I’m guaranteed at least 2 of my 5 a day before I’ve even left the house. Plus, having a smoothie feels like a treat, and what’s more, you haven’t had to pay an awful lot for it.
7. Try going to the shops later in the evening. Most supermarkets start to put things on sale towards the end of the day, so if you’re looking for food to eat immediately, it’s a great way to save money as well as help reduce food waste. One of my friends famously returned from one such expedition with two shopping bags full of vege. How much did she spend? £2!
8. Rather that meal planning, writing a shopping list, then going to the shops, try seeing what’s on sale, and planning your week’s meals around that. The time when I spend the most money food shopping, is when I have a set shopping list written from a recipe I want to follow.
9. Whether you live with a group of people or on your own, bulk buying rice, pasta, potatoes and other carbohydrates is so much more economical than buying a small pack every time. For rice, it’s worth looking in oriental shops, as they tend to stock large sacks.
10. If you like fish, tinned tuna is your friend. It can be used in so much more than sandwiches. It’s handy for salads and pasta dishes. My personal favourite is tinned tuna stir fried with green pepper, garlic and soy, which can be served on rice.
11. Frozen vegetables like peas and sweet corn are so handy to have around. They’re cheap to buy, don’t go off like fresh vege, and can be thrown into most dishes that you feel need a bit more nutrients.
12. In my first year of uni, I noticed that my friend had bought packs of various meat, and individually packaged and frozen portions of it. I think this is an ace idea, as it reduces the number of times you have to run out to the shops to get near to compliment your meal. It also helps reduce portion sizes (I find it all too tempting to chuck the whole pack of chicken into the pan), and allows you to monitor your meat usage.
13. Tinned pulses and lentils are great for bulking out meals, also let you experiment with new cuisines. My adventure into making my own humous and trying Caribbean cooking started with tins of chickpeas and black eye peas, respectively.
Thank you for reading. Happy cooking, and please comment below if you have any other ideas!