Cheaper Eats, Bigger Meals

5. Cheaper Eats, Bigger Meals

Food is fast-becoming the hot issue of the day, if you’ll excuse the pun. A House of Commons committee reckons about two million aren’t sure they can keep food on the table.

Headlines about foodbank queues and parents struggling to keep kids fed during school holidays are the tip of the iceberg. Prices are going up and incomes are less secure, leaving us wondering ‘What if our money suddenly stopped?’.

There are loads of things we can do to stretch a meagre meal budget. But Quids in! has boiled these down to two key things we can do on a daily basis. Number five, then, on our Finance 5-A-Day relates to food: Scan the shelves for deals and beef up meals with the cheaper stuff.

There are good offers and bad. BOGOF deals (buy one get one free) on things we don’t need can, frankly, bog off. List all the family favourites and stock up whenever they’re marked down. But also think about switching cheaper ingredients into a fave recipe.

“I wanted to do a healthy Bolognese and was gob-smacked that spinach was £2.50.” Maria is a peer advisor at the Quids In Centre in Gloucester, handing out money tips to her neighbours. “I just thought, ‘Well, what else in here is green?’ I found a bag of sprouts reduced to 69p. It sounds weird but I fried them up and bunged them in with carrots. It was lush.”

“Then I looked around for meat. Beef was pricey so I picked up some cheap turkey mince. I had Quorn in the freezer so I bought just half what I needed.” A cheap way to bulk out meals is to add loads of veg. Baked beans, rice, pasta or even breadcrumbs are all an option. Most veggies are cheaper than meat and cooking in bulk saves both time and the cost of using the oven. If we have a freezer, stretching everything to a second batch means ready meals for next week!

Check out our celeb chefs’ cheap eats here.