white pound signs on a provident pink backgroundChristmas is finished, payday is still a long way away and you’re already digging behind the sofa to find the spare change.

You know how to shop smartly. You chase the deals, shop around and find the best ways to buy food, here are tips to make your meals go further.

We have some hints on making meals go further. For more tips, check out this blog by Jack Monroe, who fed herself and her son for as little as £1 per serving.

1. Rice/ Pasta

 

Rice is an excellent food for your heart. Chock full of antioxidants, it also lowers cholesterol levels. Rice contains carbohydrates which are good for energy and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Finally, it’s low in fat, salt and sugar, making it a brilliant addition to a meal.

Add rice or pasta to soups and stews to feel fuller longer and make the ingredients last a bit longer. Any leftovers can be put in the freezer for later.

Choose whole wheat pasta as this contains more fibre. Pasta also contains carbs, ensuring you feel fuller for longer and is a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Pasta dishes don’t have to be complicated to be delicious. Add veggies and butter or veggies and cheese to make a quick, cheap and filling meal.

2.Oats

 

Oats are great for your blood, lowering cholesterol levels and slowing rises in sugar levels, so you don’t suddenly feel hungry. Oats also reduce blood pressure and are a great source of fibre. A good source of carbs, oats ensure you feel fuller longer and are full of essential vitamins such as folic acid, thiamine and biotin and there’s evidence that eating oats can boost the immune system.

Oats are great for making meals go further, making delicious meals with less meat. Use with mince to make meatballs or add yogurt and fruit for a healthy breakfast.

3. Bread

 

Brown bread contains whole grains which are good for your health. Whole grains can reduce your risk of heart disease and are a great source of fibre. What’s more, bread is a wonderful source of carbohydrate so you have more energy throughout the day.

Just like oats, breadcrumbs can be added to meat dishes to make less meat go further. A slice of bread and butter can also make a meal last longer, ensuring you feel fuller for longer. Alternatively, have a slice of bread and jam for a healthier, filling dessert.

4. Potatoes

 

Potatoes are a dieter’s nightmare, as they’re packed full of sugar. Yet they also contain essential vitamins and minerals, as well as being a great source of carbs. Potatoes can help lower blood pressure, protect arteries and protect against heart disease. They have plenty of fibre and are rich in Vitamin B6, which helps balance moods. Not bad for your humble spud eh?!

Use potatoes to bulk up soups and stews. Jacket potatoes with beans provide a healthy meal and potatoes are so versatile they go with practically anything!

5. Vegetable Peelings

 

Veggy peelings have all the benefits of your veggies and are just as edible, making them perfect for making meals go further. Instead of throwing vegetable peelings away, add them to soups and stews to bulk up meals. If cooking cauliflower or broccoli, use the stems as well as the florets. Broccoli and cauliflower leaves can be stir fried or sautéed in butter, or used for stocks.

6. Cheap Cuts Of Meat

 

Look for cheaper cuts of meat to save money on meals. These are listed below.

Beef:

  • Brisket
  • Chuck & blade
  •  Shin
  • Skirt
  • Flank
  • Top rump
  • Leg
  • Silver side

Pork:

  • Cheek
  • Neck
  • Spare Rib
  • Hans and Spring
  • Belly
  • Chump

Lamb:

  • Shoulder
  • Scrag
  • Middle Neck
  • Breast
  • Chump

For recipes using these cuts, check out BBC Good Food

7. Use ALL The Animal

 

If buying a whole chicken, use what’s left to make stock

8.Eat Less Meat

 

You’ve heard it, we’ve heard it, we all know it. It’s easy to say ‘eat less meat’ but if your family hate veggies you’re stuck between a rock and a broccoli. Eating less meat is healthier and cheaper, so cutting back on the amount of meat you eat is better for you, but not the easiest option.

Meat Alternatives

There are cheaper alternatives to meat for those people willing to give it a go. Substitutes such as Quorn, Lentils and Beans ensure you get the proteins you need from meat, without the extra expense, making meals go further.

Quorn– created in 1985, and once a whispered word in vegetarian circles, Quorn is becoming more and more mainstream, with many health conscious people now replacing their beloved meat dishes with Quorn instead. Made from a Mycoprotein, Quorn is a meat free protein which is part of the fungi family. It’s low in fat, but high in protein and fibre. Use instead of mince for lasagne, spaghetti Bolognese or even Shepherd’s Pie (although in this case it would be Shepherd free pie).

Lentils– Lentils need soaking for 24 hours before cooked- but don’t let that put you off, they’re rich in protein, include essential amino acids, fibre, Vitamin B and minerals.

Beans- Beans are high in fibre and proteins as well as being low in fat and cholesterol. They are brilliantly versatile, whack them in a stew and hey presto- a tasty, healthy meal!

9. Grow Your Own

 

Growing your own vegetables may encourage children to try new foods and is cheaper. You don’t need a garden either, you can grow veggies in windowsills and balconies. The BBC have great ideas on how to grow vegetables with little space.

10. Eat Seasonally

 

Eating seasonally means buying produce which can be grown in the UK. When vegetables are bought in their season, they are full of natural goodness and cheap, as there are a lot more around and the products themselves haven’t been brought in from other countries. Buying vegetables when they’re in season will ensure you eat more for less, whilst giving you a varied diet which is great for health.

Bonus Extra- Fruit For Dessert

 

Who doesn’t love dessert?! When you think of dessert you think of sticky toffee puddings and calorific creations you’ll spend weeks working off. This doesn’t have to be the case. Fruit crumbles are filling and healthy ways to have a treat without resorting to sugary cakes, whilst bread and jam could offer an alternative dessert which is equally as filling.

Crumble recipes can be found from Jamie Oliver and Healthy Start

Do you have any recipes for making meals go further? Contact us below.