Like it or not, most of us need to budget our spending on food.
Ever since I put on my big girl pants and moved out of home, I started taking notice of how much I spent on food.
Many times have I fallen victim to the supermarket trance of aimless shopping. When you see those bright and shiny sales signs, your carefully constructed list goes out the window and it’s only when you get home that you realise you’ve been hit once again.
My worst offence was about a year ago. Three packets of wasabi peas for 99c each! So cheap right? Better get a few of them…I couldn’t resist!
Note to self… ‘Check expiry date on gross peas’
I get asked a lot about how to create cheap, nutritious & filling meals while steering clear of carb laden foods like rice & pasta.
Here are a few tips I tell them about.
#1 Specialty Shops For The Win!
Ever been into a Asian Supermarket? If you can get past that strange smell, you’ll find them packed with aisles of exotic foods & lets be honest, you’ve got no idea how to pronounce, let alone be game enough to taste. Never fear, because you’ll find allot of products that are half the price than the regular Supermarkets. Not only can you get a better price on rice etc. but the bargain for me were tins of coconut milk 3 for $2.00 plus Thai soup mix for 80c a packet! I’ve seen the same one in Coles for $4.49! Definitely worth checking out every so often to stock up on things you can store in the pantry.
#2 Don’t Be Afraid
Recent studies are showing that the nutrient value in fresh & frozen produce is negligible. Occasionally I will chop & freeze any fruit or veg into snap lock bags for use later on, or just buy the prepacked stuff in the supermarket. My most recent purchase at Aldi was 99c frozen spinach. My smoothies, casseroles & soups have been getting a big dose of the green stuff & I can’t even tell the difference between fresh & frozen. Don’t even get me started on their frozen beans either which are $1.99 for 1kg. They are so fresh & don’t have many of those annoying branch bits in them either.
#3 Sign Up!
Foodworks, Tasman Meats & other grocers offer member only specials when you subscribe. In my opinion it’s seriously worth the email spam because I picked up premium rump steak for $10.99kg, 40c cauliflowers & chicken breast for $4.99kg. Get onto it now & buy as much as you can freeze.
#4 Spend 6 Mins or Less
This is me sitting down armed with a black pen & the weekly food pamphlets. Circle whats in season, on special or tempting your taste buds. Be mindful of how many places you are prepared to visit in one week & choose 2-3 at the most. I have also been known to set a reminder on my phone for market day specials & buy out the entire place of broccoli. No broccoli for Gretchen Weiners.
#5 Bulk Up
I love something cheap, easy to prepare & nutrient packed so pulses & legumes are my savior. The canned version is ideal as you can rinse & add to dishes straight away. But if you have some time up your sleeve opt for the dried version. Cheaper again & you just need to soak them for 8hrs/overnight before adding to dishes. Pulses & legumes are low fat, packed with protein, fiber & minerals such as iron, zinc, folate & B vitamins.Check out this snack idea from Lean Green Bean, great for the movies & lunch boxes.
#6 Write It Down
Shopping Lists are a sure fire way to avoid unnecessary buying. Write a quick weekly meal plan based from your pamphlet selection & write each individual recipe item & quantity onto your list. This way you are unlikely to run short of anything and make that dreaded second trip to the shops where you will probably buy another 4-5 items more than you needed to. Then when you hit the shops you’ll be armed with a proper list & no need to wander into the aisles looking for #foodspiration