If you’re struggling to provide nutritious, varied and tasty meals for a growing family, then it’s time to enlist the help of your freezer and do some forward planning!
The great weekend cook-up
Our parents and grandparents typically prepared large batch family meals that often provided left-overs to enjoy the next day. This is a great approach to cost-efficient living, and you can have fun finding new recipes and cooking with your children too as a healthy activity to enjoy together. Why not start your own family cook book as you find recipes that are particular favourites.
Traditional meals such as chilli con carne, sausage casserole, curries, shepherd’s pie, spaghetti Bolognese and jacket potatoes with different toppings are all affordable to make, filling and very nutritious. Have fun making your own pizzas and experiment with home cooked puddings, baked cakes and other treats. You’ll be amazed at how proficient you can get at cooking, and how much cheaper it is to cook from scratch. And with far better results than many shop bought meals.
Buy in bulk
Buy bulk products from supermarkets to save money and also buy food in its most natural state. For example, if you buy a full chicken rather than breasts, you’ll spend less and end up with more meat as well as bones from which to make stock. Consider cooking vegetarian meals for something a little different. Meat tends to be the most expensive portion of any grocery list, and you can make delicious stews and casseroles from vegetables, grains and pulses. Find out more about ways in which to reduce waste at Love Food Hate Waste; the campaign devoted to better food management in the home.
Get the right type of freezer
A chest freezer can be a great way of storing lots of Tupperware boxes or food bags once you’ve cooked up extra portions. You’ll find a range of commercial refrigeration appliances online at specialist sites such as Fridge Freezer Direct, with plenty of different options ranging from free-standing fridge freezers, to compact under-counter chest freezers, and generous walk-in models for really large families.
Labels and storage
Invest in good quality labels, freezer bags and Tupperware products to allow you to freeze your carefully prepared meals quickly, safely and easily. Good labels are really important as it’s all too easy otherwise to take a frozen container out of your freezer and have no idea what it is! Remember to follow safety guidelines when freezing food and make sure that it has chilled before you put it into the freezer. Regularly circulate contents too so that older meals are used up first, rather than sinking to the bottom.
Groceries are one of the most expensive elements of the budget for modern households, and ready-made food can put a real dent in your budget. You can find plenty more great tips at services such as the Money Advice Centre. Look out for local allotments and online blogs that give plenty of other family food tips. You’ll find that endless inspiration is available when you start looking.
With a little planning, creativity and organisation, your family will be enjoying cost-effective yet delicious and nutritious meals in no time at all.