Save money on food

2015-09-30 06:00

WITH rising living costs and skyrocketing food prices, it is possible to eat healthily without breaking the bank.

Protein: Make the meat in your dishes go further by mixing in kidney beans, mixed beans, lentils or even baked beans. When cooking mince meat add soya, lentils, beans, oat bran and/or vegetables to bulk it out. You can also add beans, lentils, potatoes and other vegetables to stews, casseroles and curries. Mix mashed, cooked dried beans with mince or fish to make meat loaf, fish cakes or meatballs.

•Prepare stews from tough and more affordable cuts of meat. By using moist cooking, these cuts will become more juicy and tender.

•Tinned fish, such as pilchards and tuna, is usually cheaper than buying fresh fish. Frozen fish also tends to be cheaper than fresh fish, so compare prices. Whole chicken is cheaper per kilogram. Save money by cutting chicken up into portions and freezing.

•Don’t buy tinned meat and processed cold meats. They’re not only expensive, their high sodium and fat content makes then unhealthy.

Fruit and vegetables:Make sure you get your five-a-day by buying fruit and vegetables in season.

•Buy vegetables and fruit in bulk and share with friends and family. Onions, potatoes, butternut and gem squash are cheaper by the pocket and tomatoes by the box.

•Stay away from canned fruit and vegetables as these tend to be more expensive.

•When fruit is expensive save money by buying more vegetables, especially those that are nice to snack raw, such as carrots, celery, cucumber, tomatoes and fresh green beans.

•Frozen vegetables are usually frozen fresh after harvest and can work out cheaper than the fresh produce as you can keep it in the freezer.

•Retain maximal nutritional value of vegetables by peeling them very thinly with a vegetable peeler.

•Use vegetable leaves and skin with onions and potatoes in soups or stews. Left-over or wilted vegetables can also be added to soups.

•Grow your favourite vegetables and herbs in your backyard or in a container garden and enjoy fresh, organic produce.

•Grains and cereals: Buy unrefined whole grains as far as possible. Refining makes a product more expensive.

•Buy porridges that you can cook. Needless to say, luxuries such cake, biscuits, rusks and potato chips are expensive.

•There are often specials to be found on pasta but it’s good to note that other grains such as samp, corn, rice and pearl barley are often cheaper than pasta.

•Dairy: Cheaper substitutes like low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese can be used instead of expensive ingredients like ricotta cheese.

•Use less cheese in cooking by using a little mustard or cayenne pepper.

•Use yoghurt, condensed milk and evaporated milk sparingly, as they are expensive.

•Buying a large tub of yoghurt often works out cheaper than buying small snack-size containers.

•Fats: Choose tub margarine, rather than brick margarine or butter, and use sparingly.

•Use only a little oil in the preparation of food. Take note that certain foods, like onions, don’t have to be fried in oil. You can simply soften them in a little hot water in your frying pan before adding the other ingredients.

•Grill, steam and microwave food instead of frying. It’s not only healthier, it will also save you from using butter, margarine or oil.

•Draw up a shopping list before you go shopping and stick to it to avoid impulse buying.

•Take your calculator with on your shopping trip to help you stick to your budget.

•Never go shopping when you are hungry. Going to the grocery store on an empty stomach will leave you more likely to buy on impulse.

•Plan a week’s menu in advance and buy accordingly so that you can take advantage of weekly specials. Check out local newspapers for specials and save the discount coupons for extra savings.

•Compare prices and quality when shopping. Remember that no-name brands and buying items in big sizes are not necessarily cheaper. Scan the supermarket shelves as the more expensive items are usually placed at eye level.

•Practise portion control and cook just enough for everyone. This will save your rands as well as help your waistline.

•Pack your own lunch for work. Cut out convenience foods such as soda, cookies, processed foods and pre-packaged meals. They’re expensive and fattening.

•If you can’t go without snacking, make your own pre-packaged snacks by buying a large packet of raisins, nuts, dried fruit or pretzels and separating them into individual portions. You can also snack on freshly cut fruits and vegetables.

- Health24

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