Cheap food in the press is always portrayed as bad. Turkey twizzlers, onion ring, chips and cakes. If you’ve ever been to those bargain frozen food shops, you’ll probably have spotted that there’s some truth in this portrayal. It seems almost impossible to be both healthy and frugal.
To get a lot of food for a little money, you sometimes have to compromise on quality and nutritional value.
It is entirely possible to to keep yourself and your family well-fed without dealing with a whopping supermarket spend.
Yellow sticker items
Yellow sticker items are a popular way of saving money on the food shop, but these purchases can’t really be relied on and don’t lend themselves well to meal planning. Sometimes you can end up spending more by picking up items you wouldn’t normally, or not taking proper notice of how much they have been reduced by (some reductions are extremely pitiful).
Stock up on cheap fresh veg
As a rule, carrots, onions, potatoes, swede, broccoli and cabbage are always relatively cheap. On top of this, Aldi usually do a changing ‘Super 6’ where certain items are set at an especially low price each week. To rival this, Asda often do similar deals and have launched a ‘wonkey veg box‘. Filling up on the lower priced veggies is not only healthy for diet, but your wallet too.
Stock up on cupboard staples
Wholewheat pasta is healthiest for you, it’s high in fibre and very filling. Usually it is a little more expensive than white pasta, but since Lidl has started stocking it, I’ve been buying it at a good price. The same for brown rice, my favourite is brown basmati, it gives off a lovely aroma when you boil it. Other grains such as quinoa can be quite expensive, but lentils and chickpeas are cheap, tasty and often forgotten.
Only buy cheap fruit
I can’t be the only one who’s noticed how much more expensive fruit is than veg? Six apples for £1.30? I don’t think so! Fruit is meant to be essential for part of a healthy diet, but really our bodies only need a little of it as it can cause our blood sugar to spike. I tend to only buy what’s on offer at the supermarket, that way you get some variety and don’t tend to bring home too much. Bananas are always fairly priced, but things like lychees (my all time fave) consistently cost a lot. There’s no way round it, exotic fruit is expensive, so either look out for coupons or budget well if you want spice up your life with a pineapple.
I can see this suggestion being met with mixed feelings, a lot of people look forward to meat in their evening meals, but good quality meat is expensive and cheap meat is often substandard and full of nasties. I’m not suggesting you all go vegetarian in the name frugality, but factoring in at least two meat-free meals a week will do wonders for your wallet. Why not try the delicious recipe below?
Healthy and Frugal Lentil Dal serves 2-3
100g red lentils
1 can of green lentils
1tsp cooking oil
1tbsp curry powder
1 vegetable stock cube (not necessary if you make your own vegetable stock)
2tbsp natural yoghurt
- Chop the onion into fine slices and fry up with the cooking oil and curry powder until soft.
- Dissolve the stock cube in a pint of boiling water.
- Rinse the red lentils well.
- Add the stock, red lentils and canned lentils (without draining) to the frying pan with the onion and stir well.
- Leave on a medium – high heat for 5 mins, stirring throughout.
- Add the yoghurt (feel free to add a bit more than the recipe states if you really don’t like spice, although it isn’t a spicy dish).
- Leave on the head for another 10-15 minutes until the dish thickens slightly then serve up.
This recipe is really good because you can throw in any vegetables you’ve got lying around somewhere between step 4 and 5 to bulk it out a little.