Frugal food or food that doesn't cost a lot but still provides us with a healthy meal, is what we all want to find out about.
After all, keeping our family and ourselves healthy whilst watching our spending is one of our main concerns, whether we are a student living on a tight budget or a mother of two trying to keep a reign on the purse strings.
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This is something we all think about daily.
We have already looked at how to grocery shop frugally i.e. not to fall into any of those marketing traps etc., however there is also such a thing as frugal food.
The term frugal food covers several different topics, such as free food, storing and keeping food fresh and also where to find certain foods at a lower cost.
Meat can be one of your most expensive items on your weekly shopping bill, especially if you have some form of meat on your plate everyday.
Why not think about having several meat free days every week, thus reducing your grocery bill and helping you to lead a healthier lifestyle (official advice is that most people should eat only moderate amounts of meat and fish and increase their intake of vegetables ,pulses and nuts). Frugal or simple living is all about getting back to a more healthy way of life.
If you are lucky enough to have a garden you may even want to think about growing some of your own vegetables. It doesn't have to be a large area and you may decide that you only want to grow a few of the most expensive vegetables that you eat regularly.
For example Tomatoes can be very expensive to buy, but a tomato plant can cost very little and produce many fresh tomatoes throughout its lifetime. Plus you will be hard pushed to find anything that tastes as good either.
Frugal food is also about not wasting food. If we are throwing away food we are throwing away money. Unfortunately because most of us live in a world of plenty, we have become used to throwing away food that may only be slightly stale or perhaps doesn't look its best any more.
My grandparents would have something to say about that I'm sure, they found many ways to keep things fresh and lasting longer and I don't think they threw any food away at all.
Lettuce - never use a metal knife to slice a lettuce. The metal will turn the remaining lettuce brown and make it less appealing. Instead tear it with your hands or use a plastic knife.
Pasta and rice - keep your dry goods fresh and free from insects by storing them in a glass jar with a lid along with a bay leaf.
Sliced fruit - keep sliced fruit like apples and fruit salad looking fresh by storing them in the fridge in water and lemon juice.
Cheese - wrap cheese tightly and keep in the fridge. If mould does appear it will normally only be the edges, which can be easily sliced off. If a block of cheese dries out, store it in the freezer and use it grated in your recipes (it does not need to be thawed).
Screw Tops - Always buy screw top bottles and save them to store your homemade cordials.
Leftovers - never throw anything out, most leftovers can be added to something else to make a completely separate meal or frozen for later use.
Cooked vegetables - can be used in soups, pies, or as potato toppings
Stale bread - bread pudding, toasted and used as croutons on soup.
Left over meat or fish - used as ingredients for a chilli, added to fried rice or stews.
Most of us go to our local supermarket to buy our food and we normally end up going onto autopilot as we walk around the shop, buying all the usual brands and items we're used to.
However we could be missing out and spending more than we need to. Next time you go shopping, ask yourself "could I buy this cheaper if I shopped differently"?
Always try to buy your fruit and vegetables in season. They will be fresher (as they will be grown locally) and cheaper.
Market stalls are great for buying seasonal fruit and veg and often at lower price than the supermarket that may be charging more for transportation.
Ethnic food shops often sell items such as nuts, spices, noodles and tofu much cheaper than the larger stores. (Especially tofu).
Buy the stores own brand rather than the big name. Most of the time the only difference is in the price and not the quality of the food.
For a real frugal food bargain check out the supermarkets reduce shelves. Nine times out of ten the only reason the food has made it's way to this shelf is because the box may have become slightly damaged or it was baked yesterday rather than today.
This food is perfectly Ok and you should seize the chance to buy great frugal food for a bargain every time you go shopping at these shelves.
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