Even though I am a professional Natural Foods Chef, I like to keep my meals super simple and affordable all week long. This often means saving and combining my leftover food to make new and exciting health-supportive meals that taste great - for example, the food in the picture above displays a week's worth of my leftovers combined!
Some of my favourite super-money-saving tips include:
- Combining leftover food from meals past. This is such a fun way to discover new flavours AND save a bucket-load of money! Always go for the cheaper, bulk-buy options from the grocery store and cook more than you think you will eat. What's left over can be bagged up and frozen until you have enough food to cook together in a little coconut oil, 100% butter or ghee to make a delicious, healthy stir fry that will satisfy and delight your tastebuds!
- Stocking up on canned goods like chickpeas, black eyes peas and beans are a great idea. These pantry staples make great additions to left overs, adding much needed healthy protein and fats to keep you fuller for longer.
- Utilising affordable vegetables including broccoli stems, zucchinis, parsnips and carrots! You can easily make large amount of delicious, gluten-free vegetable noodles, a great gluten free alternative to expensive pastas or noodles. All you need to do is run your vegetable/s through an affordable grater like this or this. Once made into noodles, you can bag them up to store in the fridge or freezer depending upon when you want to use them.
- Once home from grocery shopping, the key is to transfer as much food as you can into your freezer. If you buy bulk, cost-reduced packets of chicken, meat, fish, fruit or vegetables, simply divide them up into preferred portions and seal in zip lock bags before placing in the freezer. There, you've just added weeks, if not months, to your bargain fresh food!
- Chopping fresh herbs before freezing them on the day they're bought is a great way to seal in freshness and flavour. Simply freeze your chopped herbs in a little water in an ice cube tray - defrost when needed. Easy peasy!
- Not a fan of fresh herbs? No problem! If a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of a fresh herb, simply use 1 teaspoon of the dried variety. Thyme, oregano, sage, dill and rosemary all work well with this conversion. 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chives or cilantro need to be converted to 2-3 teaspoons of the dried version.
- It’s amazing how many meals you can make from one whole chicken! You can roast it whole on Sunday and use the leftovers in stir-fries, sandwiches, vegetable noodle soups - the list in endless! And don't forget to use the carcass and bones to make cheap, delicious chicken stock and soups.
- This leads me to the next tip... Make large portions of soups by combining your favourite vegetables with water and spices - if you want a creamier soup, add in a little milk (coconut milk, rice milk, nut milk or dairy milk) and freeze individual portions for instant health-supportive meals all week long! I do this every winter and am always thankful when I come home after a long day at work to a delicious, nutritious meal that takes minutes to re-heat!