Tips for eating well on a budget

Feeding my family a healthy balanced diet - without breaking the bank - is a subject very close to my heart. Organix have kindly sent me loads of great tips for eating well on a budget which I have shared here along with some of my own tips. I'm delighted to be working with them again this year as part of their 'No Junk Journey' campaign.

Meal Planning

Meal planning is my absolute number one top tip for eating well on a budget. It saves us money, cuts down our food waste and helps me to feed my family a healthy balanced diet. It saves time and helps me feel more in control during the week. Here's a few meal planning tips:

  • Have a look in your fridge & freezer to see what needs using up. Baked bubble & squeak is a great recipe for leftover mashed potato.
  • Use seasonal recipes to save money and get the best quality produce. Butternut squash & feta salad is perfect in the autumn.
  • Think about where you can make extra portions of dinner for packed lunches the following day.
  • The NHS recommends at least two servings of fish a week (including one oily fish) so make sure you get them in there, even if it's something as simple as a creamy tuna pasta or sardines on toast.
  • Once you have made your meal plan, make a shopping list based on that. Don't be tempted to buy more than you need.

Make meat & fish go further

I prefer to buy less good quality meat and fish these days than lots of cheap stuff. It's more expensive but I have a few tricks to make it go further:

  • We eat vegan or veggie meals 3 times a week, like chickpea curry. It's so much healthier and cuts the food bill right down.
  • I make meat go further by cutting it into smaller pieces or bulking it out with beans or lentils, like beef & butter bean stew and turkey dhansak.
  • When buying chicken I tend to go for thighs as they are the tastiest (in my opinion) and also they are much cheaper.
  • Squeeze out the sausage meat from good quality sausages to make super-quick spaghetti & meatballs - a few sausages go a long way.
  • Leftovers roast chicken makes a lovely chicken satay stir-fry bulked out with lots of vegetables to make it go further.
  • Strip the carcass and prep the leftover meat after a roast as soon as possible. it's easier and quicker to do while it's still warm and much less inviting when cold.
  • Good quality tinned fish is in-expensive and readily available. Tinned salmon makes great fish cakes mixed with mashed potatoes, spring onions, seasoning and an egg to bind. Quick escabeche-style mackerel is a great recipe for tinned mackerel.

Use the freezer

My freezer is jam packed with things which I freeze instead of throwing away:

  • I freeze leftover cream in an ice-cube tray and then add a cube or two straight into dishes which require a tablespoon or so of cream such as chicken in cider.
  • Houmous can be frozen and used as a dairy-free alternative to cream in a risotto or pasta dish like red pepper, tomato and houmous spaghetti.
  • I finely chop and freeze celery, onions and carrots which are going soft and cook them straight from the freezer - perfect for tomato based sauces.
  • I freeze all sorts of cheese leftover from Christmas to use in cheese sauces or soups such as broccoli & stilton soup. It can be grated first or just cut into cubes.
  • Stale bread gets blitzed into breadcrumbs and used straight from the freezer in all sorts of recipes such as pork & apple burgers.
  • When there's a glut of apples in the autumn they get peeled, chopped, sprinkled with lemon juice and frozen to be used in breakfast smoothies and apple & blackberry crumble cake.

Now over to you! Do you have any tips or tricks for eating well on a budget? I'd love to hear them, please comment below.