How to Save Money on Food

Everyone slips into an eating routine. Some of us like pasta; others will prefer to have potatoes or rice with every meal. Some of us will not consider it a meal unless there is meat on the plate. The key to shopping on a budget is to be flexible. The same goes for vegetables; buy what is in season and what is plentiful and that guarantees that you will pay less.

Meat and Poultry

How to Save Money on Food How to Save Money on Food

For most portions of meat, you need to be thinking about 100-175 g/4-6 oz per person. Food like beef steak, chicken and roast pork should be around 175-225 g/6-8 oz per person. Do not worry too much about the size of a joint of meat you can always slice it up and use it for another meal the next day. You can also freeze sliced meat wrapped in kitchen foil in portions. Meat varies in price – consider stewing steak rather than beef steak or other less expensive cuts that can provide you with an equally delicious meal at a fraction of the price, and do not forget minced/ground meat. See the Basic Techniques section for more in-depth advice on the different meats and meat cuts that you can cook.

Fish

Oily fish like trout mackerel and herring are great substitutes for a meat meal. One or two of these whole fish is ideal per person. They are relatively cheap and nutritious too. White fish is getting more expensive, but there are still bargains to be found. A 175-225 g/6-8 oz fillet is more than enough for one person. You can poach, fry or bake white fish. It is simple and is full of nutrition. There are plenty of other options, and do not disregard what you might think are more expensive alternatives. Check out the fresh fish section in your store. They will have promotional offers and they are bound to have reduced items towards the end of the day.

Pasta, Noodles and Rice

As we will see, these can form the basis of any meal. A generous 75 g/3 oz portion per person is ideal. Pasta, noodles and rice are filling and can be combined with vegetables, fish and meat or even just a simple sauce. A large, family-sized bag will provide plenty of meals for a couple and it keeps for ages in the cupboard. Just take out what you need per meal and seal the bag again. You can seal the bag with a washing peg if it is not a self-seal bag.

Vegetables

Eating fresh vegetables is an essential part of a balanced diet. They can be eaten as part of a meal or even as a meal in themselves. Vegetables are very versatile but you must not overcook them or you will lose most of the goodness and flavor.

  • Cost of frozen: Do not forget that, although frozen vegetables are more convenient and often cheaper, they can be more expensive than fresh seasonal vegetables.
  • Variety: Be flexible with your choice of vegetables.
  • Seasonal: Buy according to the seasons and keep a look out for special offers.

Freezing Perishable Foods

Most of these perishable items can be frozen. Here is the essential list. Remember they are perishable, so will have a use-by date:

  • Bacon: Invaluable chopped up and used in a whole host of pasta and rice dishes. Just freeze in usable portions.
  • Vegetables: If you over-buy when they are on offer, you can always prepare them and freeze them. We will look at this way of preserving food a little later.
  • Bread: If you are likely to waste bread, then freeze the loaf ready sliced and take slices out as you need them – you can toast them straight from the freezer. However, if you need to defrost them, you may need to plan ahead to give them time to defrost naturally. Bread defrosted in the microwave can turn out soggy!

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