How Can You Eat Well During The Cost of Living Crisis?

As the cost of living continues to rise in the UK, many families are struggling to make ends meet, especially when it comes to food. The good news is that with some careful organisation, it is possible to eat well and stay within a budget. With a little creativity and some planning, you can create nutritious, delicious meals that won’t break the bank. Here are some of the ways you and your family can deal with the cost of living crisis when it comes to food.

Plan ahead
Before heading to the supermarket, take the time to plan your meals for the week. This will help you stick to your budget and avoid impulse purchases. It can also prevent you from calling for a midweek takeaway (both expensive and unhealthy!) where you've run out of food. If you know you have days during the week that are busier or you'll be particularly tired, be sure to plan simple and quick meals for those days. 

Cook from scratch
Preparing meals from scratch is often cheaper and healthier than relying on pre-packaged or fast food options. If you're not a confident cook it can be daunting, but start with a few meals you know you can make and build your skills up from there. Cooking from scratch doesn't need to be complicated at all, doing a little research and learning what basic flavours work well together or just following recipes can improve your confidence in the kitchen.

Grow your own produce
If you have a garden or balcony, consider growing your own herbs, vegetables, and fruits. This is a fun and budget-friendly way to get fresh, healthy produce. You can get kids involved to and nurture a love of gardening and the outside, and it makes fantastic learning opportunities.

Use frozen, tinned and dried vegetables
Frozen vegetables are often just as nutritious as fresh and can be a budget-friendly alternative. They’re also convenient and can be added to a variety of meals. There's less waste and as everything is chopped and ready to go they're easy to throw into most dishes. Dried lentils can be added to everything from chilli con carne to spaghetti bolognese to bulk them up and tinned kidney beans and even baked beans are full of nutrition.

Buy in season
Fruits and vegetables are cheaper when they’re in season. Consider incorporating seasonal produce into your meals to save money and get the freshest, most nutritious produce possible. Instead of paying inflated prices for things like strawberries in winter, wait until they're in season and at their best as they'll be cheaper too. You could always buy frozen for your smoothies in the mean time. 

Make your own food
Homemade snacks are often healthier and cheaper than pre-packaged options. Try making your own cereal bars, bread and other bakes. Packed lunches are another way most people can save money, whether it's taking your own food to work or on days out it will always be cheaper than buying while you're out of the house. Switch things up to keep it interesting, go with fun sandwich fillings instead of the same boring varieties. Pasta dishes can be eaten cold or heated up while you're at work and tend to travel well, or you could take delicious homemade soups. Leftovers can be a great way to save time and money too. Use them to create new meals or as quick and easy snacks or lunches the next day.

Invest in a slow cooker
Slow cookers are a great way to make nutritious meals that are both easy and affordable. You can throw in a few ingredients in the morning and have a delicious, hot meal ready for dinner. Cheap cuts of meat that are usually tough turn melt in the mouth tender when cooked on low all day, so you can save on ingredients by using this cooking method too.

Eating well and staying within a budget is possible, even during the cost of living crisis. By planning ahead, cooking from scratch, and considering meat alternatives, you can enjoy healthy, delicious meals without breaking the bank.