Thursday: PlanningThe simplest way to save you time, money and reduce the amount of food you waste is by planning ahead and making a shopping list. By writing a list and getting your portion size correct and being clever with any leftovers will help save you pounds.
Remember also to stock your freezer and cupboards with items like frozen spinach, broccoli, peas, peppers and mixed vegetables and mixed berries. These are convenient and can be incorporated into most dishes.
Tinned fruit such as strawberries, peaches, pears, and vegetables such as tinned carrots, corn and peas are useful and can bulk up almost any dinner. Choose fruit in its natural juices and vegetables in water without salt.
All tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables count towards your five a day. You can also stock up with pulses, oats, rice and pasta as they have a long shelf life.
Follow these few helpful tips before heading off to the shops:
- Check through the fridge, freezer and store cupboard weekly to be familiar with the food you have in the house.
- Plan your list before you leave and this will enable you to visit only the shopping aisles you need to.
- If you have an idea of what meals you are going to make that week then shop for those specific ingredients.
- Buy food that can be used in a number of dishes, for example tinned tomatoes.
- Buy food with the longest shelf life or fresh foods which can be frozen in case you don’t get round to eating them before they expire.
- Buy visiting the larger supermarkets late at night you may pick up reduced bread and other reduced foods.
Fruit and vegetables
Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables does not have to be expensive. Fresh fruit and vegetables are a great source of nutrients, and frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables are the next best thing. Eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces the risk of heart disease, some cancers and other health problems.
Tinned and frozen produce are often cheaper and easier to store and can be easily added to almost any dish.
Remember: Fruit and vegetables don't have to be fresh. Dried, tinned or frozen and juiced fruit and vegetables all count towards your five a day.
Tips for increasing you fruit and vegetable intake and save money:
- Buy fruit and vegetables loose rather than pre-packed as they tend to be cheaper.
- Look for supermarket deals on fruit and vegetables, such as buy one get one free.
- Fruit and vegetables are usually cheaper if they're in season and if you are buying them at your local street or farmers market.
- Replace your morning or afternoon snack with a piece of fruit.
- Don’t throw away vegetables that are about to go out of date. Use them in stews, soups and casseroles, which you can freeze and eat another time.
- Stock up on canned fruit and vegetables as they won’t go off, so you can buy them in bulk. Buy those without added salt or sugar. Supermarket own-brand varieties tend to be the cheapest.
- Look for offers on frozen and dried fruit and vegetables, such as frozen peas and dried pulses and beans. They are often cheaper than fresh varieties.
- Cook in bulk and freeze portions to eat another time.
- Incorporate fruit which is going off into a delicious smoothie, they make a great breakfast and encourage a variety of fruit in the diet.
You will need an orange (peeled & sliced), some sliced fresh pineapple, half a banana, a cup of fruit juice of your choice and some ice cubes. Blend the banana, ice and juice until slushy. Add the orange and pineapple slices and blend on high for a further minute until finely blended. Enjoy!
For a quick and healthy breakfast why not try some supermarket Granola and serve with plain yogurt (fat free for the healthy option) and either fresh or frozen fruit of your choice.
Stir-fried vegetables with noodles or rice
Having a bag of frozen vegetables in the freezer is convenient for a quick dinner. Whether you add them rice, pasta or soup or simply serve in a stir-fry, they are guaranteed to be a fast and healthy meal. Use vegetables of your choice whether fresh or frozen. Popular vegetables for stir fry include peppers, onions, chilli, cherry tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms or just use a bag of frozen vegetables.
Cook the noodles or rice in boiling water according to packet instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water and set aside. In a large frying pan or wok heat some oil, and add the garlic, chilli (for an extra kick) and onions. A few minutes later add the vegetables of your choice and stir fry until lightly brown. Add the drained noodles and soy sauce and stir fry until piping hot, season to taste.
Alternatively you can add the meat of your choice or frozen or fresh prawns.