As the cost of living crisis rumbles onwards, many families, possibly yourself included, are looking for cheaper alternatives to feed the whole family. Learning to cope in the cost of living crisis as come as a huge learning curve for many and coping with cooking in the cost of living crisis even more so.
Food shopping can be one of the most expensive things for families to budget for and depending on tastes and dietary requirements, can cost a fortune.
Little Lives UK is dedicated to ensuring that children and their families get the right information and services they need to live happy and healthy lives.
We have found our favourite wallet-friendly recipes that will be sure to keep the whole family full for less per portion.
Are children eating the right foods?
It has been found that around 4 million children, or one in four households (25.8%), have experienced food insecurity in month of September 2022. This could be due to a number of reasons including the cost of living crisis and low income.
It has also been found that the higher the food insecurity, the less healthy the food being eaten. This is leading to a high rate of obesity in children in the England with 31.3% of Year 6 children living with obesity in the most deprived areas. This is compared to 13.5% of children living with obesity in the least deprived areas.
It is clear that many children in the UK are just not eating the right food and the lack of access to the right food because of income is having a severe effect.
A bad diet in early years can cause all sorts of problems for children when they grow up with childhood obesity being a leading cause of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver disease, joint and bone problems, respiratory problems, sleep disorders, skin infections, eating disorders and fatigue in later life.
This of course is cause for alarm if you or your child are living with obesity but don’t worry, there are ways to resolve this and get back on a healthy track.
Good nutrition for less
We all know how important exercise and a balanced diet is for everyone, not just children. It is tempting at the moment to just grab fast food from a takeaway. As people are working longer hours to make sure they can afford to put food on the table, there is often little time for some to cook for themselves.
As we know, eating too much fast food and processed meat is extremely unhealthy and has been compared with smoking cigarettes as a high rate cause of cancer in the UK.
Luckily for all of us and our health, there is a way to eat well for less and to ensure that you and your family get everything you need to live healthy lives without busting the bank.
Though supermarket food prices are extremely high at the moment, thankfully some are starting to trickle down, there are ways to get the food you need for a healthy life at lower prices. For example, supermarkets are selling wonky veg that may not look as ‘pretty’ as some but has EXACTLY THE SAME nutritional value as a Wallace and Gromit worthy prized veggie.
Families have also been found to be buying more frozen food to make their purchases last longer and to keep costs down. Families can also incorporate some clever cooking into their meal plans to make sure that the food they are making their family is not only delicious but also not whacking the wallet, is fresh, healthy and is filling.
Our favourite recipes: eat well for less
Whatever your dietary needs are, we have a few options for you.
Budget vegetarian meals
For those who are meat free, try some of these out…
- Roasted cauliflower with tomato and cashew sauce – a tasty and easy recipe that takes five minutes to prepare and 40 minutes to cook. Nice and easy which will cost a couple of pounds per serving.
- Cheese broccoli pasta bake – super tasty, only needs a few ingredients, healthy and filling. What else could you ask for from a delicious meal?
- Spinach and paneer pulao – maybe a little bit more expensive than the previous two but still cheap and extremely tasty. Full of protein from the paneer and the rice will keep you satisfyingly full.
Budget meaty meals
For the carnivores out there…
- Sizeable spag-bowl – Nice and easy. Lots of beef mince, tomatoes, and spaghetti. This is a nice, filling recipe that can feed the whole family for not a lot when made in bulk.
- Pasta with sausage and peppers – This dish is packed full of flavour for around £1 a serving. Make it as spicy as you want with some added chilli. This is easy to cook in batch and freeze.
- Mini fish tikka kebabs – something a little more exotic and different, bring the spice of India to your family. Very easy to make and cheap to buy for, these only take 15 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cook.
Budget friendly vegan meals
For those of you who are living the vegan lifestyle…
- Kidney Bean Curry – packed full of flavour and good for you. This vegan friendly delight is easy to make and can be made in bulk for meals all week.
- Vegan Irish Stew – a very hearty meal that will keep you and your family going for a couple of days at least! Very simple and labour free to make and will leave you extremely full and sleepy. Like sitting in a pub in front of a roaring fire on a wet and grey day.
- Vegan Mac and Cheese – this meal tastes expensive but in reality, costs pennies to make. Great even for fussy eaters, this can also be made in bulk and last you a long time.
These are just some suggestions of recipes that we think would be great for lots of families on a budget. There are of course thousands more recipes that can be made with cheaper in ingredients or made in bulk that will bring the cost down per meal.
Top tips for budget food shopping
We know the feeling, every time the food shop comes round again and you think, ‘how am I going to afford it?’
We have got some great tips on how to be a savvy shopper:
Check your cupboards. Do you ever rush out to the shops and forget to check what you already have? You could be double buying something you already have. Savings start at home. Make sure you check what you have in already.
Don’t forget the shopping list. If you are serious about savings, don’t forget the shopping list. And when you take your shipping list, don’t deviate from it. If you have already written what recipes you would like to cook and know what essentials you need, get them only. Put the blinkers on and shop smart.
Check the offers. Whether you have coupons or points accrued or you have spotted the sale area, check to see if what you need is there. Even if the use by date is near, if you have a recipe in mind, use the cheaper alternative.
Cheaper alternatives. A lot of supermarkets have their own versions of things like beans or tinned tomatoes, they might not be the brands you are used to but if you are looking to save some pennies then they could be a good place to look.
Check the amount you are buying. Always look at the £/Kg or £ per quantity to see if you are actually getting a better deal. Sometimes buying a larger amount that will last you longer will work out cheaper per Kg or Ml.
We can’t promise that this will save you a fortune but, it will help reduce the cost and help you to have money for everything else you need.
Who is helping children and families in the cost of living crisis?
There are many organisations that are helping children and families out with things like clothing, food donations, clothes donations and the general cost of living.
Children’s charities are working closely with the community to ensure that those in need are gaining access to the support which is so desperately needed at this tough time in the UK. Working together within the community to help those in need is vital at the moment to ensure that the children of the UK can live happy, healthy and fun childhoods.
To out more about charity support during the cost of living crisis, please do contact us at anytime.