Eating cheaply can be a challenge, particularly if you have a large household, growing children or large appetites to contend with. It can be particularly hard to keep your food budget under control, particularly when the price of food keeps fluctuating. There are ways to eat well on a low income, here are our top 5 cheap meal ideas.
1. Vegetarian Chilli
Visiting your local supermarket, green grocer or market just before closing time can be a great way to get your hands on some very cheap vegetables. Vegetarian chilli is easy to make and will work well with many different types of veg. As long as you have onions and a tin of chopped tomatoes, you can add almost anything and it’ll taste great. Add in a tin of rinsed baked beans or kidney beans to bulk up the protein content, serve with plenty of rice and you’ve got a filling, nutritious and tasty meal.
If you have a stick blender (also called a hand blender) then soups are a perfect way to make your food go further. Use the discounted vegetables mentioned above, add in left-over meat and some herbs, cover with stock and boil until the veg can be stabbed through easily with a knife. Blend the soup to a consistency you prefer and eat with some bread. Soup can be frozen in portions and leftovers make a great light lunch.
3. Vegetable Omelette
Eggs are cheaper and more accessible than ever, so whether you buy yours from a supermarket, the side of the road or if you are lucky enough to own your own chickens, they’re a cheap ingredient to base a meal around. Fry some of your favourite vegetables in a deep pan and pour lightly whisked eggs over to create an omelette. It’s a tasty and filling treat.
4. Slow Cooker Casserole
If you don’t want to stick to vegetarian dishes, then a slow cooker could be the answer to cheaper meaty meals. Slow cookers use very little energy (about that of a light bulb) yet cook food slowly, over many hours. You can pop your slow cooker on when you leave for work, and when you get back your meal will be piping hot and ready to eat. The great thing about cooking meat in a slow cooker, is that even the toughest, cheapest cuts will be tender and succulent. Casseroles and stews are very easy to make in a slow cooker, and it’ll make your meal without you having to even be in the same room!
5. Vegetable Curry
If you’re often tempted by a takeaway, then you could find your money slipping through your fingers very quickly. Try making your own vegetable curry at home by combining your favourite veg, a tin of coconut milk (these can be bought very cheaply from Asian supermarkets) and some curry powder in a pan. Cook until this reduces down and add to fluffy white rice for a delicious, rich curry minus the hefty price tag.
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