Family meals on a budget
It is a common belief that cooking for a family on a budget is very difficult. But this does not have to be the case! There are so many simple recipes out there that are not only easy and quick to make but also inexpensive, healthy and delicious. Lets look at how you can cook for family meals whilst still saving money.
To get started, divide your grocery shopping list into two parts – one for fresh and frozen produce and the other for store cupboard items. Then you will have a list of what you need to buy weekly or monthly. Next, plan your meals ahead of time (think about what you can make with the food on hand). Plan your menu so it has variety and it doesn’t get too repetitive. Your diet should be balanced, but it shouldn’t get too repetitive. For example, if you eat an omelette for breakfast one day, try something different the next day like cereal or eggs and toast. You don’t want to get sick of your food.
This is where most people run into problems because they think they need to buy everything they need at once when in reality they just need new ideas! Look on the internet for family meals recipes and see how many different option there are!
Cooking can be a daunting task, and it can also be expensive to feed your family well. But with these tips, cooking for a family on a budget will become much easier.
1) Cut your cooking time in half by prepping ingredients ahead of time. Chop veggies and fruit ahead of time for smoothies or salads so you don’t have to spend endless minutes chopping when you’re hungry.
2) Start with a good one pot dish that feeds many people like spaghetti sauce or chili to save on grocery costs. Add just enough meat or protein for the number of people in your household and then top with pasta, rice, beans, or other grains for more texture and flavour. You can add in something like lentils to a spag bol to make it go further.
3) Always plan out what you are going to make before you go grocery shopping so that you aren’t tempted by the offers!
4) Talking of offers – its only a good deal if you need it! Two jars of pasta sauce for £2? Woohoo! But – would you have bought it if it wasn’t on offer? If not, don’t get it. And – pasta sauce is the easiest and cheapest to make at home. Use a tin of tomatoes or passata – add to sweated chopped onions, and then add herbs of your choice. You can make loads of this at once and then use as a base for lots of dishes. For more batch cooking ideas, click here.
5) Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan. Yes, I know we have covered this. But I cannot stress how important it is. You can even meal plan your lunches by cooking extra the night before. Check out some lunchbox ideas here. When you are grocery shopping, it is important to plan out what you are going to make for the week. It is also important to know what ingredients you need and which ones you already have at home. This will save time and money on your grocery bill.
You could also look out for deals on food subscription boxes which make a great alternative to a family meal plan.