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Most Cost Effective 5 a day(4 Posts)
Hi lovely peeps.
I am on a super tight budget for the next few months and while I have plenty of food in the house we can eat, i'm going to run short of veg.
I normally don't worry about the costs of things so much, I also don't normally cook much beyond convenience foods because I work a demanding job and i'm too tired to care so I buy a lot of frozen/pre-chopped etc.
However i'm not actually a bad cook and as i'll be off work for a couple of months i'd like to try and cook properly and keep the costs down while we are short of money.
What is the most cost effective way of shopping for Veg? is frozen cheapest or is fresh... which shops are good? which veg is cheapest and most versatile?
I think the very cheapest pound for pound (esp at this time of year) are going to be fresh root and seasonal veg such as carrots, cabbage and onions. Fruit wise it is probably fresh apples. But obviously you will want a bit of variety so I would explore the tinned and frozen sections as these can be great value for money and just as nutritious as fresh (and also much less risk of wastage). This is a useful guide www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/5-a-day-on-a-budget/
Bargains can also be had in the yellow sticker aisle if you are able to incorporate somewhat random ingredients into meals and/or freeze it for use at a later date. I would say probably the bargain supermarkets (Aldi/Lidl) are overall cheapest but sometimes you can only buy wrapped/packaged items, so e.g. a kilo bag of apples rather than 2 or 3, so if you can't eat them quickly enough there is a risk of waste (although again if you are a good cook you can turn them into compote or crumble filling or whatever and freeze). But for this reason I sometimes prefer to shop at the mainstream supermarkets as you can buy precise quantities loose.
Markets can be a good source of cheap fruit and veg although do factor in the cost of petrol and parking if you have to travel to get to one, and the quality can be variable!
The beauty of frozen is that it doesn't go off and there is little waste. Plus, if you want say peas at this time of year you have little choice. Otherwise, Maxelly makes excellent points. Personally, I haven't bought fruit or veg from anywhere other than Aldi or Lidl in over a year.
I also wouldn't rule out dried beans. You get plenty of nutrition, protein and fibre, and it works out a lot cheaper than canned beans. I find Asda are best for dried, although if you want to buy online in bulk that may be better. Not everyone wants 25kg of dried beans though.
Veg is mostly cheaper than fruit so put the emphasis there I think it’s advised that your five a day should be majority veg as better health wise too.
I’d go fresh root and seasonal veg and frozen peas sweetcorn. Don’t forget if fresh veg starts getting a bit tired it will probably still make a good soup. Don’t forget tinned tomatoes and baked beans count too.
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