New here and looking for ideas for eating on a tiny budget

Hi all, any healthy meal ideas, I am trying to lose some weight, I'd say post baby weight but it's almost 4 years so I can't use that excuse anymore.

I have a 15 year old and a 3 year old, due to life, won't bore you with the details, I am currently surviving on £30 food budget for the week and I am stuck for healthy filling meals that will feed the three of us as we always eat the same things.

Any ideas would be much appreciated as long as long as they do not include bananas as they make me sick.

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7 Replies

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  • Firstly - you will have to cook almost everything to get down to a low budget like that. But you CAN eat very well on a low budget. Do some research to see what you can do with rolled oats and/or barley - these are low GI carbohydrates that can be used in savoury and sweet dishes. Buy unbranded "Homebrand" packets of these. Look for vegetables and fruits that are "on special price" at the Supermarkets and plan meals around what you have bought. Don't plan a meal to cook and then go out to buy the components - cook a meal according to the ingredients you have on hand. For example - I might have some beef , some barley and some vegetables - so I will do a Google search for a "beef & barley" recipe. I will always find something to cook!! :) Ignore whatever vegetables the recipe calls for and use whatever you already have - Use a slow cooker to cook cheap cuts of meat - I like curries so I buy a lot of cheaper beef cuts to cook in a slow cooker. Where I live pork and turkey is cheaper than lamb - so although I love lamb it is too expensive for me :)

    There must be 100 Billion recipes in the Internet !! You can never get bored by buying whatever is available cheaply on the day - and then finding a recipe to use it :) .

  • Hi Claire,

    I'm a big fan of soup. As a vegetarian, I use lots of lentils & beans, & try not to have too many cheesey meals. I no longer eat it, but you'll find Quorn is cheaper, low fat, & higher in protein than meat.

    Shopping early or late can sometimes be good for picking up reduced items.

    Mel

  • Hi Claire1409,

    Welcome to the Healthy eating forum. Really great that you're looking for some healthy meal ideas, and you mentioned being on a budget, and looking for some cheaper options - so maybe you'll find the NHS choices page on 'Cheap food shopping' will be helpful:

    nhs.uk/Livewell/eat4cheap/P...

    Good luck and hope you enjoy some filling healthy meals, and good luck with your weight loss goals. The NHS weight loss forum is really good, and has some weigh-in groups, if you want to have some extra support.

    Zest :-)

  • Adding beans or lentils to meat dishes. We need protein in our diets - and it can come from many sources, but meats and beans/lentils are two major ones. Meat can be expensive while beans are usually inexpensive - so I will often bulk out a meat dish with a cup of beans or lentils. - Red kidney beans , black beans, Borlotti beans etc. For me it actually makes meat dishes nicer - I like beans !!

  • Thank you everyone. Will try the lentils and have a look at the cheap food shopping page. I absolutely love soup just a shame my teenager is a bit picky unsurprisingly 😊

  • Pasta is cheap, filling and can be mixed with a variety of sauces to make filling and nutricious meals

  • Hi Claire, We have a few family favourites which are economical because they are home made, and you can add more veg to them if available or pad out with more rice as needed (great if you have one or two unexpected kids at the table). Stir fried chicken or beef strips which i cut up and marinate in a little chopped ginger , chopped garlic, soy sauce, honey and warm water. It has taken family a while but we all now like boiled brown rice with little black rice and quinoa mixed in (tastes nice and nutty) While rice is cooking I cut and fry a 2 wisked & seasoned eggs, cut into strips and hold aside. Then I stir fry what ever veg I can find : broccoli, or broccolini , cauliflower, carrot, zucchini, capsicum, spring onions, even finely sliced cabbage, baby spinach (or even sliced lettuce) whatever you have and the more colourful the better.I always have frozen sweet corn kernels and baby green beans in the freezer and which are good fillers. Put aside with egg. Next stir fry your beef or chicken ( yu may need to fry in batches if too much there, sqeeze off the marinate (liquid) before putting in wok or fry pan. Once the meat is browned and cooked add the marinate liquid and thicken with a little sprinkle of flour or corn flour. You either add the veg in to the meat & sauce or mix with the rice which you have strained after cooking. I like to serve the rice & veg/egg in a cup sized mould then add meat & sauce to plate, but sometimes we add vegs and egg back into meat and warm through before serving with rice mould. In summer I also grow pots of mixed lettuce, baby spinach, parsley, basil, capsicum & tommy tomatoes (baby) which both helps your budget and is very handy just outside kitchen door (or any other sunny spot you can find). We also have home made pasta (usually fettuccine with spaghetti bolognaise sauce) sometimes we have with a small greek salad with this or we may include veg in sauce ( grated zucchini and carrot) or put steamer full of veg on pan when boiling water to cook fettuccine. My mob wont eat bought pasta now, and so easy to make although we did invest in a past machine/press which makes the process a little easier and heaps less rolling. Plus home made pasta only takes about 8 mins to cook when put in a pot of already boiling water. one cup of flour one large egg (or two small- you just get to know) pinch salt into a blitzer. Turn out and knead a little on floured board until an even consistency, cover in glad wrap and let rest for 10 mins. Makes enough for 3-4 people. I buy jars of sauce when on special and usually have in the pantry but you could also use fresh chopped or canned tomatoes and some tomato paste & seasoning, but both take a bit longer to cook down. Noticed last week at our green grocer they had 8kg boxes of tomatoes for about $10 (AUS) so at that price I am going to have a go at making our own pasta sauce this year. Our summer favourite is home made flat bread with fajitas seasoned chicken or beef strips (or even minced beef). We make a big plate of sliced lettuce, onion, tomato, cucumber & sliced canned beetroot (an aussie thing?), some grated cheese and a greek yogurt & garlic sauce. Yumm! I make a jamie oliver recipe flat bread which is just equal quantity of Self Raising flour & greek yogurt with a little extra added bicarb. I do use a bit of Olive Oil to cook these with but you could use canola oil which is just as healthy and cheaper. Again I cant even smuggle shop bought flatbread into the house now there would be a mutiny lol. If you are keen I can also dig out an old recipe for making your own plain yogurt. Happy cooking!

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