With the continued rise in the cost of living, learning to stretch out every penny we have is just as important as ever.
And it’s the same with the grocery shop. Food prices are at a 14 year high, and it’s noticeable how much less we’re getting for our money.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to save on your food shop.
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If you’ve got a budget for the food shop, but prices have gone up, it can be tough to figure out what to do.
Branding down on products and planning new and extremely cheap meals are ways to save money.
However, if you like the meals you’re used to but need to stretch them out to get more value for money, Muscle Food has come up with 10 genius ways to cut the cost when planning what to eat.
Tips to bulk out and stretch meals
Tom Bennet, Head of NPD for MuscleFood, said: “We wanted to offer people some simple tips on how to cook up some delicious meals without having to splash the cash on ingredients.
“With the cost-of-living crisis deepening, many shoppers are anxious about rising food prices and the impact it has on which meals they can make while on a budget.
“We’ve found simple ways to bulk up weekly meals on a dime, from batching cooking on a Sunday evening to following one pan recipes to feed a group of four.”
Here are MuscleFood’s top tips on how to bulk up your meals on a budget to save money on groceries:
Muscle Food review: top quality meat at low prices
Prepare early in the month
Get on top of the food shops early by creating a list of everything you need and planning where you’ll be getting the ingredients from.
It will not only help to prevent overspending on unnecessary products, but it can help decide which meals can be frozen early to use later in the month.
Cut up meats
If you’re looking to bulk up something like a pasta dish or a stir fry, consider cutting up meats like chicken and sausages before throwing them in.
You still get the protein, but you won’t need to use much for the meal to look fuller.
Eggs are a cheap way to bulk up weekly meals and can make a meal more delicious.
Why not go for sunny side up or pick the healthier alternative with boiled eggs which works great with salads for lunch, or add it on top of noodles.
Pick and freeze meat weekly
Select a different meat every week to save on wasting all of the pricier meats in a few servings.
Once used, freeze the leftovers and defrost them throughout the week to include in a packed lunch or to use in pre-planned meals, which will spare an extra fiver on the food shop.
Sunday batch cooking
To cut an extra £30 off the weekly food shop, spend Sunday evening batch cooking and freezing ahead of the week to make meals worth £1 per portion.
Big batches of chicken pasta bake and spaghetti bolognese are highly recommended to start out with. And they freeze well.
Add fibre to the meals
Have a look at buying big bags of lentils, pulses and chickpeas to include within meals throughout the week to bulk up delicious, healthy meals.
Leftovers for lunches
If you want to stretch your cash even further, put the leftover meats and veggies into sandwiches for the next day to prevent the temptation of buying a meal deal.
You’ll find you don’t need a lot of filling to bulk up your sandwich, so this should last you a couple of days.
One pan meals
To cook for four people on a budget, explore one pan recipe ideas which can be used twice or more in a week.
Make sure to use the golden trio rule when planning the meal – carb, protein and veggies, to help bulk up your meals without using all the items out of the fridge.
Large pasta dishes
Opt for buying the large bags of dried pasta and make sure to cook extra to use as lunch for the next day or a late afternoon snack.
Not only will it save throwing out the leftovers, but it’ll cut back on buying a whole list of ingredients for another meal.
Beans will bulk up your meal in no time, and you can add them to pretty much any tomato dish like chilli and bolognese.
Tinned beans and pulses cook quicker than dried and don’t need as much preparation time.