Once you have to start cooking for yourself, you quickly realize that food will be one of your main expenses. If you ever work out your total monthly expenditure, you might be shocked to find out that after your rent and bills, the main place you’re spending your money is on your food. This is especially true if you like to treat yourself to eating out regularly. One meal at a restaurant can be as expensive as a week’s groceries if you aren’t careful. Take some of these tips to save money on how much you eat, without compromising on how it tastes.
1. Choose a full roasted chicken.
Most people opt for the chicken breast when shopping for their meat as it’s the easiest cut of chicken to prepare. Chicken breast is also a lump of very lean meat if you’re trying to watch your calories. On average, though, due to the preparation that needs to go into separating out the breast from the rest of the chicken, it’s much more expensive than if you were to buy a whole chicken. In addition, whole chickens are far tastier due to there being meat on the bone. This darker meat is full of nutrients, as well as flavor, making it a much better choice for any meal.
2. Make your own stock.
You can also make chicken stock with the leftover carcass once you’ve eaten all of the meat. Simply take the bones and remains and add them to a large pot, cover with water, and add in some onion, garlic, and some seasoning of your choice. This is then boiled from an hour to 5-6 hours to get all the benefits of the collagen in the bones. When done, drain and then freeze the liquid in containers. This can then be the basis of any soups or casseroles that you make in the future and will give them a depth of flavor that store-bought chicken stock or bone broth could never offer.
3. Reduce the amount of meat in your diet.
If you’re trying to save money on how much you eat each week, try to move your eating habits away from meat. This one change may take 1/3 or more of how much you’re spending due to the relative cost of meat compared to alternatives. Some people become very attached to meat and think that they need to cook with it to make their meals taste good, but this simply isn’t the case. As a starting point, simply reduce how much meat you use in your meals and use it to enhance the flavor of your meals. You can then think about alternatives such as beans, legumes, or tofu, which are all fantastic sources of protein and flavor.
4. Choose dried over tinned.
Tinned foods are a common item in our cupboards, but are often not the most cost-efficient options. You’re paying not only for the can, but also the process of getting the food in the can through the supply chain. Dried foods such as dried beans or chickpeas are very easy to prepare and can form the base of dozens of meals at a fraction of the cost of tinned versions of the same food. In addition, dried foods will last for ages, so you can buy them in bulk and save again compared to buying just enough for your next meal.
5. Eggs are your friends.
As an alternative protein source to meat, eggs should be your go-to source. Eggs are one of the most versatile foods you can buy and are perfect scrambled for breakfast, in sandwiches for lunch, and as cooked with rice for dinner. In addition, eggs are packed with nutrients and protein, making them a great healthy choice. Even if you’re on a budget, try to opt for eggs that aren’t from caged hens, as these are both better for the well-being of the animals, as well as being more nutritious. They are still far cheaper than meat alternatives.
6. Invest in a slow cooker.
When we’re hungry, sometimes, the fastest and simplest way to get some food quickly is to use a delivery service like Foodpanda pizza delivery Dhaka. There’s an alternative, though, that can be just as convenient. A slow cooker is the budget chef’s perfect companion. A slow cooker can take a cheap cut of meat along with some potatoes and veggies and turn it into a mouth-watering meal. Slow cookers are also perfect for people limited on time as you can simply throw everything into a pot, and then leave it on low when you’re at work or overnight. You’ll come home or wake up to perfectly cooked food ready to eat. Try cooking up pulled pork from a pork shoulder for a cheap meat option, or even cook your morning oats in the crockpot.
7. Buy meat in bulk.
For the meat that you do buy, take advantage of the savings you make by buying bigger cuts of meat, as well as packs of meat that are sold in bulk. If you look at the price by weight, you’ll see that buying larger quantities is much more cost-effective than buying smaller amounts that might just last you a week. Some good examples of large cuts of meat are full chickens, pork shoulders, and legs of lamb. These are all much cheaper when bought in bulk.
8. Freeze meat that you don’t eat straight away.
Any meat that you don’t plan to eat that day, separate a meal’s worth into freezer bags and then freeze. As you need more meat, just take it from the freezer the day before to defrost. This will ensure that you have fresh meat for the next few weeks, at least. For even more flavor, try marinating the meat before you freeze it. This will enhance the flavor and make it delicious as soon as it’s ready to eat.