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How To Meal Prep & Save Money On Food This January



January can be a pretty conflicting time of year. On the one hand, lots of new goals have been made, and I’m sure that I am not alone in wanting to be healthier, eat better and look after my body, but it is also the time of year when money can be a little tight. Being healthier can sometimes feel like the more expensive option what with gym fees and expensive fresh produce. And because the weather is rubbish, all we want to do is eat pot noodles, drink hot chocolate and sit under a blanket on the sofa watching Netflix. 

However, there are some ways in which we can eat healthy food and feel energised, whilst saving money and buying lots of fresh and wholesome food. 
 

EAT SEASONAL


One way in which to save money when buying fresh food is to shop for produce that is in season. In the winter months, root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and parsnips are readily available. So whether you shop at a farmer’s market, or in shops like Costcutter, be sure to pick out the produce that is in season, for a cheaper and healthier option. 

Not only is it cheaper and healthier for us, the consumers, it is also cheaper and healthier for the farmers, the environment and shops. To buy local, seasonal food means that we do not have to pay for air miles to ship across food that is only available at certain times of the year in certain climates. 


MEAL PLAN


One way in which to save money and be a little healthier in terms of food is to meal plan. Now, I am in no way saying that I sit down every week and plan exactly what we’re going to eat for every meal. Plans come up last minute and sometimes you want something quick and easy. What I like to do is have a little brainstorm of things we might fancy for tea that week, so that I know that I have the ingredients in. That way, I am more likely to use the food that I bought during my food shop and cook meals, rather than log into Just Eat because we ‘haven’t got anything in’. 

COOK IN BULK


Another way in which to save money is to cook in bulk. With it just being the two of us that we have to cook for, I still buy the bigger sized, portions of food. Not only is this more cost effective, it also means that I can cook less. For example, if we are having chili for tea I will cook enough for four or five portions, buying the family pack of Quorn Mince (which is more cost effective) and then serve up our tea, but portion up the rest. I then pop these in the freezer and then we have our own, ready prepared, healthy ready meals. These are great to have if one of us is out one evening, or if we’ve had a busy day we can just reheat and eat! 


LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS 


The final way to save money and eat healthily is to love your leftovers. I was challenged by Costcutter to cook a meal and create two more meals using the leftovers. At the start of the New Year I decided that I wanted to have more of a plant-based diet. I was tired of never knowing where my food was coming from, and have read about so many health benefits of having a vegan/plant-based diet. 


Costcutter sent me a lovely selection of seasonal vegetables as well as a recipe card to create a beautiful, roasted veg dish. I served the first meal with some pesto and pasta, which was a lovely tea for both James and I. 


I then placed all of the left overs in a plastic box in the fridge. Cooking tea the next day was super easy as all of the vegetables were already done. So I fried a bit of garlic and red onion in a pan, added a few pieces of Quorn and then some of the leftover vegetables. I used some sweet chili sauce and served the stir-fry with some noodles.


With the rest of the leftovers I decided to make some soup. I love vegetable soup and as these veggies were already cooked and seasoned, I simply had to add some stock and wiz it up!


This was a really fun challenge set by Costcutter and it really got me thinking about being mindful with food. It made me plan ahead and ultimately save money, as I was able to make three separate meals for two out of one lot of ingredients. 

Madolyn
xxx

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This post is in collaboration with Costcutter but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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