Certain trends are evident in our fast-paced lives today – increasing living costs, feeling time poor and our tendency to spend too much money on foods outside of the home. But, you can deliver nourishing and wholesome food to your family that is both budget and time friendly.
Meal planning and smart shopping
Taking fifteen minutes to do a quick menu for the week combined with an audit of the fridge and pantry before you hit the shops will save you money and time later. Plan a week’s worth of meals with some family favourites, a meatless meal and a few other dishes (based on the meat & fish specials of the week). Organise your shopping list into the supermarket sections to spend less time and money wandering through the aisles. Choose generic brands on items that are of a similar quality like oats, flour, frozen vegetables, cheese and milk. Have a snack before you go shopping to avoid “hungry spending” and take a concise list to prevent impulse buys.
Visit your farmers’ markets & local grocers
Go local and get to know your farmers at the markets. This is a great way to support local produce, get seasonal foods at great prices and fill up your cart, box or BYO bags with plenty of nutritious, fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins. The quality and freshness that you’ll find is excellent and often at a fraction of the supermarket prices. There are many farmers’ markets in Brisbane, and they can be found at Visit Brisbane – Markets
Buy in season
Seasonal fruit and vegetables are always well priced and taste better. Stock up and plan your meals around these ingredients and you’ll find some great bargains. Buying extra seasonal fruit to freeze (eg bananas, berries, stonefruit) will make fabulous additions to smoothies, juices or in baking. When some of your staple vegetables are not in season, frozen vegetables are just as nutritious and a cheaper way to buy them. See what is in season now at Seasonal Food Guide
Cook at home
Cooking fresh and wholesome food at home limits your spend on takeaways and eating out. Choose more meals with cheaper proteins like legumes and lentils (tinned varieties are fine), nuts, seeds, tinned fish and eggs. Do some batch cooking a few nights a week for cost and time benefits; this makes great left-overs or frozen meals for the family. Roast meat and vegetables can be turned into a pie with side of vegetables or incorporated into wraps or salads. Savoury mince can be used for chilli con carne or shepherd’s pie and slow cooked meat is versatile for many dishes.
And of course, minimising your food waste is so important – it deserves a blog of its own. Watch this space.