10 foods that will save you a fortune
We round up a host of nutritious and delicious foods that are also budget lifesavers!
The price of healthy food is rising, according to recent data from the Office of National Statistics. The research showed that the prices of vegetables, fruit and fish are all shooting up - whilst unhealthy treats such as chocolate and confectionery have actually fallen in price.
Eating a nutritious, balanced diet on a tight budget can be a real challenge. However, certain types of food are versatile, tasty and good for you - as well as being extremely good value!
Here's are my top ten foods to save you a fortune.
Oats are versatile, filling and a great source of fibre. To find out about all the health benefits, visit the Eat More Oats website.
They can be used in dozens of dishes - everything from porridge and muesli to crumble, bread, flapjacks and even fish dishes.
You can find an enormous list of oat recipes in this section of the BBC Food website. Everyone should keep a bag of oats in their store cupboard!
A whole chicken
A good-quality chicken isn't necessarily cheap - but it is a great value purchase, as long as you make the most of it.
Many people roast a whole chicken, eat what they want and throw the half-finished carcass away. This is a real waste, because one chicken can go a long way!
For example, it could provide a roast dinner, a curry, a risotto and soup for at least two people. This set of recipes from Jamie Oliver provides pointers on how to use a whole chicken, without any wastage.
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Kidney beans, lentils and other pulses make an excellent frugal alternative to meat. They're cheaper, rich in protein and fibre, lower in fat, and can be used as a substitute for meat in many recipes.
Check out this guide to cooking with beans and pulses, put together by the Vegetarian Society. And of course, you don't need to ditch meat entirely. Try swapping meat for pulses in one or two evening meals a week, and see how the savings mount up.
If you do eat a lot of meat, you could save a packet by choosing cheaper cuts and cooking them in a slightly different way.
For example, various cuts of meat on the bone are delicious when prepared in a slow cooker, and turned into stews and casseroles.
Take a look at these slow cooker tips on the MumsNet website - or ask your local butcher for advice on how to prepare his cheapest cuts of meat.
It's always worth having a box of eggs in the fridge: They're filling, nutritious, affordable and can be prepared in hundreds of different ways.
Check out the British Lion egg recipes website to find out just how versatile they are.
Do you eat white rice, bread or pasta? Switching to their wholegrain equivalents could benefit your wallet as well as your waistline.
That's because wholegrain products make you feel fuller for longer. They're a better source of fibre, and you're less likely to fancy an expensive snack an hour or so later.
Rachel Robson rounds up five ways to cut your food bills.
Fresh vegetables can taste fantastic - but they can also be fairly pricey. To shave pounds off your grocery bill, substitute frozen vegetables for fresh ones a couple of times a week.
Modern freezing techniques mean that the nutrients are properly preserved, as is a lot of the flavour. Frozen veg is a great standby if you have an unpredictable schedule, too, as it's far less likely to go off and be wasted.
Oily fish contains many important nutrients, including the Omega 3 essential fatty acids not found in many other foods. Unfortunately, fresh fish is usually rather expensive.
However, many types of oily fish (such as sardines and mackerel) can be bought much more cheaply in cans - and the nutritional content is virtually identical. Another good store cupboard staple, try swapping fresh fish for canned once every couple of weeks.
How often do you use a whole packet of fresh herbs once you've bought it? Very often, you take a little for the recipe you need, and end up throwing the rest away because it's become limp and tasteless.
It costs next to nothing to grow herbs on a sunny window sill - and they'll liven up lots of frugal dishes. At the moment, for example, you can buy four mix-and-match packets of herb seeds for just 99p, at 99p Stores.
According to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, Brits throw away around 8.3 million tonnes of food and drink every year. Imagine how much money we'd be saving if we put that produce to good use!
No matter what your leftovers are, there's a way to use them. Check out these leftover recipes for some frugal inspiration.
Don’t forget that, here at lovemoney.com, we have our very own chef who publishes his original Frugal Recipes for free every Friday. Each meal costs less than than £1.50 per person, but doesn’t compromise on either the ethics or the quality of the ingredients. And trust me when I say, the meals are delicious!