Eating at home is always more economical than going out for a meal, but there are ways to save in the kitchen as well. As a nation, we waste a huge amount of food. We need to be smarter in how we spend money on food. I include myself in that.
Here are some ideas on how cooking can be thrifty, tasty and healthy. What follows is some advice on how to save money on food.
Like jacket potatoes? Buy your spuds by the sack. They will keep well for a good couple of weeks if you store them somewhere cool and away from light. Some items are simply better bought in bags, especially those that last a long time. The same goes with rice. If you often make risotto or like to have homemade rice and curry, a big bag of rice will serve you for a long time and is much more value than smaller pouches. Always check the price per kg, and you will see that buying bigger bags is better value.
However, when it comes to something like fruit and veg, loose is best. Pre-packaged fruit and veg is poor value usually unless on offer. Buy loose, and that way you control the quantity you need too.
Supermarkets today have vegetable and fruits from around the world that are neither seasonal nor local. This increases both the cost of the vegetable and its quality. Knowing what is in season and local could help you shop much more economically. Learn what is in season, and adjust your eating habits accordingly. For example, March is the time for spring green and cabbages.
This is where we as a nation can cut down on waste. We simply do not keep our food in the freezer enough, nor plan on how to do so.
Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of good food is wasted industry every year. At the same time, millions of people are struggling to afford to eat.
Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption gets lost or wasted every year.
So what can you do? Plan your meals better, buy specifically for your needs. To avoid waste, always check the best before date on an item as you purchase it. Choose the bottle of milk or chicken that has the latest date.
If items are about to go out of date, plan a meal around them, or freeze. If you can’t freeze them in their natural state, cook a meal and then freeze that.
As alluded to above, planning is essential. Make a shopping list every Note down what you already have in your kitchen. I’ve made the mistake many times of buying items i already own.Don’t repeat purchases. Know your kitchen, and all the condiments in it. Stick to the list without being taken in by special offers – unless they are non-perishable items and will definitely get used.
You may also want to cook in bulk so you have ready meals available when you are feeling lazy.
We all like a treat every now and then, and that is of course fine, but if money is tight, plan a meal out carefully. In my home city of Manchester, there are constantly plenty of half price offers for restaurants around the city. These are available via websites, social media, and apps. They include some of the best restaurants too, so you can still sample some of the best cuisine available, for less.