By Roger Findlay, Gerogery West
My wife and I were raised at the time when most families were relatively poor. Putting food on the table was often a challenge and it required a skill that appears to be vanishing.
You don’t have to be eating the best steak to have a good meal nor do you have to spend a fortune on feeding the family.
I appreciate that most people are busy working, looking after children, socialising and generally enjoying life but with a bit of planning, time management, and basic cooking skills a family can eat well for a lot less money.
Planning meals starts with the selection of items you place in the shopping trolley for a recipe you’ve seen.
Time management is applicable to preparing a meal in advance (maybe the night before) or rising twenty minutes earlier to prepare breakfast and to cut sandwiches.
Basic cooking skills can be as simple as cutting vegetables, placing them in a slow cooker and turning it on or poaching an egg.
To reduce the amount you spend on food, steer clear of buying sandwiches and take-away meals. Coffee, bottled water and soft drinks also eat into the budget. Beware!
Now, I’m not suggesting you should live the life of a pauper but I do want to suggest some food products that are cheap, easy to prepare and provide nutrition.
For breakfast you can’t go past rolled oats as “porridge” topped with honey or jam. Alternatively beans on toast; maybe with a boiled or poached egg.
Lunch could be a sandwich or two with a yoghurt or a piece of fruit. It could also be a salad or left-over’s. By packing lunch, and not buying it, you can save several dollars. Why pay $5 – $7 for a sandwich?
Dinner can be prepared ahead or for the entire week, if convenient. The cheapest food items available are rice, pasta, dried legumes, frozen vegetables and seasonal vegetables such as pumpkin and cauliflower. All of these can be used as a base for the cheaper cuts of meat that you wish to add.
Fish shouldn’t be overlooked. Whole oily fish like sardines and trevally can be purchased locally for less than $10 a kilo and are so nutritious.
Eat well; eat cheaply and you’ll have a few dollars to spare to buy the occasional ice cream!