How to Feed a Family of Four for £50
With the cost of living rising and wages barely keeping up, feeding a family is becoming more and more expensive. I used to be really good at meal planning and budgeting, but have become lax in recent years. I seem to find that I’m very busy these days, and meal planning seemed to just add to my workload.
I’ve been silly.
Meal planning and budgeting saves time throughout the week and money on your shopping bill. I was just being lazy! So when I was challenged to feed my family of four for £50 I got back into the swing of meal planning.
Breakfasts were easy, I never have breakfast (bad, I know), and the husband and kids alternated between some supermarket own brand wheat biscuit cereal, and either Marmite or jam on toast.
I tried to get the best from my money, so I visited various shops like Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, my local market and a couple of pound shops. I would normally do an online shop at Tesco or nip in person after the school run. I would probably spent about £70 if I shopped online, or £80+ when I went in person (I’m so easily sucked in to ‘deals’ on display). I wanted to be healthy and frugal with my choices so I took a lot of care.
The evening meals where the hard part, but here is what we had.
Savoury lentil and veg meat-free shepherd’s pie
I’ve got one of those Ninja veg choppers so I make coarsely chopped vegetable base mix to bulk out meals. The mix in the picture it carrot, suede, mushroom and onion. To make this meal I threw the base mix in the slow cooker with a tin of drained and rinsed green lentils. I then poor in 3/4 of a pint of Bisto gravy and a tsp of curry powder and leave it for about 5 hours on high.
I skipped meat to keep the costs down and find the lentils offer the same texture. Without the meat, cooking doesn’t take as long, so it saves energy too. I then boiled and mashed some potato, spread it on top of the mix in a shepherd’s pie dish and crisped the topping in the oven with a sprinkle of cheese. If you want to save time, you can just serve with mash on the side.
Turkey chilli with veg and rice
This was another slow cooker creation. I put half a packet of turkey mince in the slow cooker with some frozen sweetcorn and peas. I added a tin of chopped tomatoes, some red kidney beans, a crumbled Oxo cube in 1/4 pint of boiling water and some chilli powder and left it all to cook for 6 hours. I then served it with broccoli and rice.
Butternut squash, spinach, egg and mushrooms
I was feeling a bit adventurous with this one. It was something I used to eat for brunch when I followed Weight Watchers. It wasn’t very substantial so we served it with potato waffles. The kids didn’t like theirs’ so it wasn’t a particularly successful meal (they did eat the waffles though). If you wanted to make it, it’s basically the list of ingredients cooked in the frying pan, cook the butternut squash for ten minutes first before adding the other ingredients.
Mussels in a tomato sauce
Mussels are normally quite expensive but I got a pack from a shop called Heron for just a pound! I cooked them in some Tesco basic passata, added a courgette and an aubergine and served the meal with rice. The kids had chicken nuggets and potato waffles as I’d learned my lesson from the day before!
Tuna pasta and veg
I made a bit more of the vegetable base mix from above, but this time I chopped it more finely. I then cooked it with a jar of tomato flavoured Dolmio sauce I got from one of the pound shops, and added some tuna. This was a really quick and tasty meal that the kids actually ate!
The other two days we ate jacket potatoes for tea. One day we all had jacket potato with cheese and beans one night, and jacket potato with tuna mayo and sweetcorn another night.
For lunches we had various sandwiches, with either tuna mayo, egg mayo, jam or cheese fillings and everyone took pack-up instead of buying food (the kids normally have packed lunch anyway). Tuna features quite frequently this week because I managed to get an offer of 4 tins for £4! I only ever buy tuna when it’s on offer because it can be quite expensive.
I managed to get all of this food for just over £47! I was impressed that I probably managed to squeeze in a lot more veg than I normally would. By meal planning and shopping around I managed to heighten my awareness of bargains!
Here are some more ways to save money and get healthy!
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