With the second lockdown starting, let’s be savvy with our shopping and most importantly your meal planning, stop buying the convenience food, yes they are convenient but there are so many benefits to ditching the jars, the ready meals and the pre-packed foods. The reason I say this is not only does it cut down your weekly shopping bill and saves you money but it will help you batch cook so you are not having to go the supermarket so much, it will help reduce food waste which is so important.

  • Instead of throwing those limp vegetables away, use them in soups (before they go all limp!)

  • Freeze your veg, you can pre-cut up and put them into small bags to keep in your freezer so you always have some veg to hand.

  • The same goes with meat, buy a larger pack of chicken breast and carefully bag up the bits of chicken you want to use for another day or make a casserole and freeze half the meals so you have your very own ready meals!

  • Say goodbye to jars! you could buy a jar of sauce and a pack of pasta which on its own seems fairly cheap, but the jar contains lots of preservatives and lots of sugar. You could easily make your own pasta sauce which could spread over a couple of meals. Buy fresh ingredients for the sauce which you can then use for different meals too i.e. onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes.

There are also other ways you can reduce your weekly shopping costs too:

  • Don’t be put off by the non branded items in the supermarket most are just as good as the value versions. Take pasta for example why pay a £1 for bag of pasta when you can buy exactly the same thing for 29p?

  • Check out the reduced aisle, check the dates on them, you will find that you can use these items earlier on in the week for your meals or even freeze them and you can generally make a good saving!

  • Plan out your weekly meals; this is the most important part of this, plan, plan plan! If you plan your weeknight meals, lunches; are you eating at home, taking food to the office or do the kids need a packed lunch and don’t forget breakfast!

  • Once you have a rough idea what you meals you are having check in the fridge, freezer and cupboard. What do you have left? What needs to be used up? Is there a meal you could perhaps swap with something already in the cupboard? Cutting down your weekly food bill.

  • If you have lots of veg left over then make a bit pan of soup, this is great for easy lunches or a light tea throughout the week. Plus, you can save any extra portions and freeze them for another week.

  • Think ahead, so if you are making a lasagne for example make a larger lasagne and save it for another night that week or freeze it for a meal next week. You don’t have to buy extra mince to bulk it out, just add some lentils & veg to your mince and sauce while cooking it and this will bulk up the mince so you have extra to last for another nights dinner.

I hope those tips were helpful to you, look at what you buy on a weekly basis and ask yourself, do I go armed with a list before I go? Do I know that what I’m buying is going to make at least 6 meals plus cover breakfast and lunch? If the answer is no, then spend 10 minutes planning what you are going to eat that week, what do you need for lunch, what do I have in the cupboard, fridge or freezer. This will make your shopping so much easier, there is less food waste and it should save you some pennies!

Lastly bear in mind it sounds like it is expensive but I promise you it’s not, gradually build up a stock cupboard of ingredients which does take time so don’t feel you need to do it all in one go as that will be expensive!

  • Have a stock of herbs and spices you can use, buy 1 or 2 different herbs and spices per week which you are going to use in your dishes that week.

  • Have a selection of frozen ready meals in your freezer, that you have made yourself! These are perfect for nights when you can’t be bothered to cook or haven’t made it to the supermarket!

If you are stuck for ideas then head over to our Secret Mums Baking Club Facebook Group, I share lots of recipes and tips on there to make life easier in the kitchen!

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