TWO thrifty mums have revealed how they keep their grocery bill down and save up to £1400 a year with clever food shopping and meal prep techniques.
The Aussie duo, former chef Jen Petrovic and her friend Gaby Chapman,noticed how expensive food shopping was, so came up with a few simple hacks to help you save big in the kitchen.
1. Shop once a week and stick to your list
Jen and Gaby, experts and food authors, say to plan your meals before heading to the supermarket, and only go once a week.
By shopping more than once, not only takes up so much time, but it also gives you more opportunities to buy things you don't need.
"Make sure you shop just once a week to save both time and money," Jen said.
2. Use cheaper cuts of meat
To cut down on costs, the savvy mums say to consider buying cheaper cuts of meat as they will often do just as good a job.
They suggest using minced chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, veal or beef which will help to keep your food bill low.
"Having some great recipes that use beef shin (often labelled as 'gravy beef'), pork neck (often labelled 'pork scotch') or chuck steak rather than eye fillet and other expensive cuts can make meat more affordable," they explained.
3. Buy block cheese
Stop buying grated or sliced cheese as Jen and Gaby say you can save "about $5 (£2.70 )a kilo" by buying block cheese and doing the slicing, cutting or grating yourself.
While it does involve extra work, they recommend getting the family involved making it a fun activity for the kids.
5. Choose the "ugly" vegetables
Many supermarkets often put together a box of "ugly vegetables" which can save you a fortune on fresh fruit and veg.
"They taste the same but may not look as perfect as the full-priced equivalent," they told Good Food, so they're often heavily discounted to avoid waste.
5. Limit how much meat you have
As well as choosing cheaper cuts of meat, limiting how much you have will help save on costs, too.
The cooking duo suggest making at least three meals meat-free each week which will drive your food bill down dramatically.
The mums' favourite dishes are bean quesadillas, vegetable lasagne, chickpea curry or vegetable stir-fry.
6. Avoid pre-marinated food
Some meats come pre-marinated, and while it's super convenient and tasty, they are so easy tomake yourself at home with a few fresh ingredients.
So long as you have the essentials, including salt, pepper, extra Virgin olive oil and lemon juice, Jen and Gaby said this can mean big savings.
7. Choose wholegrain cereal
The pair insist that wholegrain cereal is much better value than regular cereal as you get "twice the amount of cereal in a standard family-sized box for about a third of the cost by weight of its sweetened counterparts".
How does the 4+2+1 formula work?
- Make four meals from scratch each week and make two of these double-up meals where you double the ingredients on two meals and freeze them for later. The second two meals from the four should be 'fast and fresh' meals that take less than an hour total.
- Have two 'foodbanked' meals from the freezer each week, which just require you to add something like rice, pasta or vegetables.
- Make one meal super easy and just enjoy leftovers or something super simple to whip up like an omelette or eggs on toast. The advantage to this is anyone in the family should be able to make it.
8. Try the "4+2+1 formula"
The savvy mums have came up with their own formula, the '4+2+1 formula', which they say will help cut down on cooking and shopping time.
"The 4+2+1 formula means you cook four meals each week, take two from the freezer and make one simple meal using leftovers," they told Daily Mail Australia.
"By only having to cook four meals from scratch, you can save so much time and also have tasty, healthy home-cooked meals without the daily 'what's for dinner?' stress."
The experts explained that it helps you to save money as well, because it means shopping less regularly.
"The four meals you are cooking each week should include two double-up meals for the freezer," Jen said.
"You should choose meals that freeze well for these meals, like chicken and lemon tagine or Italian meatballs."
The mums' book, Plan Buy Cook Book, is available on Amazon for £11.99.
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