Menu planning....help!(7 Posts)
I really need to get my food bill down.
We are a family of 4 - me, dh and 2 ds's age 8 and 2.
I have some allergies and ds1 has SN and has quite a restricted (if healthy) diet.
I would like to keep buying fresh fruit and veg but need ideas for cheap meals and baking ideas too...my dc love biscuits and muffins/cakes and I like baking, but am not very organised.
Is it feasible to get our bill down to £80 per week do you think?
Yes, maybe it would be easier to write down the foods/meals your DS1 will eat and make family meals around them?
I think it is very fesible to get the food bill down, don't discount using frozen veg as it is often cheaper than fresh.
Have you tried aldi? And smartprice baking ingredients? I make pastry with smartprice flour and we can't tell the difference. Same for flapjacks made with smartprice oats and golden syrup.
I try everything and if I don't like it we won't buy it again.
Dh has even gone over to aldi beans after eating Heinz for 46 years.
Have you looked at the food forum?? Lots of baking ideas there.
Oh - me too! Trying to cut our food bill down. I am a bit of a foodie, so I struggle. I struggle to get it down to the figures bandied about on MN, I wish I could. Have made some improvement, but I'm not a big fan of pasta ( I eat low carb and low sugar) and I think this makes the cheapest meals. Have started making up batches of eg. Chilli to freeze.
The biggest help to me has been writing out a meal plan at the beginning of the week and sticking to it. I also buy treats for the DCs, but instead of having a selection, I just now tell them they can have 'this or this'.
The meal plan has also helped me use up left overs better too. And I try to cook batches of meat at the same time. For example this week I cooked roast chicken with a roast ham and roast veg. The ham has been used for sandwiches, a meal, salads and soup. The chicken was a roast dinner and used in sandwiches and egg fried rice and the carcass used for stock for the soup. The amount of waste has reduced dramatically, so I feel I can not feel too bad about the cost of buying organic.
I manage at around £80 per week and am not a thrifty person by nature. I do meal plan pretty religously though therwise I spend £120 plus per week. My top tips are a roast of some sort on a sunday then leftovers as noodles, egg fried rice, stroganoff, hash or similar for a couple of days. We also usually have 2 fish meals and 2 veggie meals per week (spanish omlette, curry or similar)
Becaroooo - are there any particular sort of foods your child with SN likes? DS2 has SNs, and it does alter some of the meal planning around here! I tend to try to make sure that he has at least one thing that I know he will eat on the plate, even if it's bread/butter. And as long as he's attempted a bite of each item on the plate, he can have a piece of fruit afterwards if he is still hungry.
Things where we are using browned mince in a meal (like lasagna, spag bol, chili, and such), we use half the recommended amount, as generally that is still plenty, and bulk out with things like mushrooms, onions, and peppers (which we keep chopped and frozen in containers).
We always buy whole chickens and cook them, instead of cut up pieces. That way we use the chicken meat for at least 2-3 meals, and the carcass for stock and make soup (which is great for using up older fresh veg).
We make sure to have one "cheap" meal per week - such as beans and toast, eggs and toast, or eggs and chips. And that usually ends up planned for a night that we don't have a lot of time to prepare the meal.
You can use bananas that are getting older by making banana bread. It's an easy snack or addition to breakfast, and the loaves freeze well.
Agree with Triggles about chicken. Soup is a great way of using up odds and ends of veg that are past their best too. Another suggestion would be to keep a good eye on your fridge and make sure you eat things up before they go off. If you realise you've bought too much stick it in the freezer.
My DSD is amazed at how much I get for the amount I pay at the supermarket. Economise on things like loo rolls, if you have a dishwasher use powder rather than tabs (and the same goes for washing powder) it's way cheaper. Make the most of BOGOF offers and suchlike (put the extra amount in the freezer) - but only if it's stuff you would be buying anyway.
Once in a while live out of the freezer - use all the 'leftovers' you've been putting away over the previous few weeks, which gives you a cheap week. Another thing to look at is portion control - don't cook more than you really need, unless you're doing it deliberately to freeze.
And finally, check prices really carefully - we tend to assume that loose veg is cheaper than prepacked, and large packs are cheaper than small, but this isn't always the case - you need to work it out every time.
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