Feed Your Family for Less

Feb 7, 2023

The cost-of-living crisis is forcing us all to cut corners, but one area we shouldn’t have to compromise is our family’s health. We want everyone to be able to enjoy fresh, tasty, homecooked meals without breaking the bank.

That’s why earlier this year we delivered a webinar – 10 Top Tips for a Healthier Bank Balance: How to eat well AND save money.  Aimed at parent/carers, this session included advice on how to be savvier at the supermarket, tips on shopping and cooking on a budget, and ideas on how to reduce food waste.  Presented via Zoom and delivered by nutrition professionals (ie. myself as an Associate Nutritionist and Programme Manager for Eat Smart Sheffield, alongside my fabulous colleague Delya Lane who manages the National Child Measuring Programme in Sheffield and works for the 0-19 Service), the session was informative but fun, with time throughout to answer all of your many questions – including, what is the cheapest cut of beef?  (See the end of this blog for the answer…).

I won’t go through all the tips (you’ll have to join us at a future webinar for that!) but here is a little insight into what we discussed:

  • Shop Around

Which? compared 48 popular groceries, including own-label & a small number of branded items and the same shop at Waitrose was £99.40 compared to £75.61 at Aldi – a whopping £23.79 difference!  Those budget supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl, really are cheaper and could save you around a third on your food shop.

  • Eat frozen & eat tinned

Often fresh food is considered best but frozen & tinned are just as good – and in some cases, better! (e.g. frozen peas).  Frozen and tinned lasts so much longer than fresh too! It’s much easier to only use what you need and to reduce food waste (you’re less likely to throw frozen food away).   Just remember to choose tinned food that does NOT contain added salt or sugar. For example, buy tinned fruit and veg in natural juice or water rather than tins with added salt or sugar.

  • Look high & low

Supermarkets place the most profitable stock at eye level (or children’s eye level if it is targeted at them).  Cheaper products and better deals are usually at the top or bottom of the shelf.

Some types of product, including rice, sauces and baking ingredients, can be found in different aisles at different prices. For example, if you’re after rice or chickpeas, check out the world foods aisle as you might find they’re cheaper than they are in other parts of the store.  And if you’re after sultanas or cashew nuts, check out the baking aisle as well as the dried fruit & nuts or snacking shelves.

In addition to our webinar, we – along with our friends at Sheffield is Sweet Enough, Live Lighter and Sheffield City Council – have compiled some further tips and advice to help local families eat well for less.

Available in the downloadable materials section of the Sheffield is Sweet enough website, the ‘Feed your Family for Less’ booklet contains low-cost recipes for lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks, as well as great ideas on sugar swaps and budgeting tips.

The recipes include Easy Spaghetti Bolognese and Homemade Pizzas (yum!).  Or how about something a little more adventurous like Peach and Chickpea Curry?  And for those with a sweet tooth (yes, we know Sheffield is sweet enough but we also know we all like a little treat now and again), how about our Quick ‘n’ Hot Banana Pot?  With only two ingredients (banana and dark chocolate), it’s healthy, easy to make, and tastes incredible!

Head over to www.sheffieldissweetenough.org to get your FREE copy today!

Oh and before I go, as promised… what is the cheapest cut of beef?

Well, with names like flank, chuck and blade, the cheapest cuts of meat can sound severe and a little intimidating. However, butchers and professional chefs know the worth of these less popular cuts – they often have far more flavour than their expensive counterparts.

The muscles that an animal uses most often – such as the shin or shoulder – are the toughest, but also the cheapest and most tasty. Most butchers buy animals whole too, so these parts should be readily available. Plus, you won’t have to settle for pre-packaged portions and can buy exactly the amount you need.

Our advice: Get to know your butcher!

Lisa Aldwin Eat Smart Sheffield Programme Manager

By Lisa Aldwin Eat Smart Sheffield Programme Manager