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Community Kitchen: 10 tips to eat healthily, and keep food costs down

veriterc
veriterc Community member Posts: 241 Pioneering
edited November 2022 in Cost of living
Just because we're trying to save money, doesn’t mean we can’t eat healthily.

This means being extra savvy when shopping; gone are the days of throwing things into the trolley –  just in case – but instead, most follow a plan.

1. Frozen vegetables

Ounce for ounce these are often better value then ‘fresh’, and contain more nutrients with no waste.

Most ‘fresh’ fruit and veg. today are picked before they are ripe and left to ripen artificially. Frozen vegetables are picked when they are just right, at peak ripeness.

2. Baked beans on toast

My go-to cheap meal is baked beans on toast. It contains fibre and protein.

I eat them on whole grain toast, but read the label and search for the low salt and sugar
 option.

3. Eggs and toast

Other less-expensive options are boiled eggs and soldiers, or scrambled eggs on toast.

4. Dark chocolate

Don’t forget dark chocolate has surprising benefits, and ‘a little of what you fancy….’

5. Apples

Beware shiny apples. This may be because they have been picked unripe, come halfway across the world in storage, and were sprayed with ethylene to chemically ripen them. Then sprayed with wax coating to make them look shiny and ripe. 

Search for labels like ‘English Coxes’, now coming in to the shops; better still if you go to a proper greengrocer who pride themselves in buying local produce.

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6. Strawberries

When strawberries are in season, a white ‘ring’ around the green hull probably means they have been picked unripe.

7. Bread

Nutritionists say to beware of the term 'high-fibre'. Officially, this only has to be 6 grams per 100 grams.

If you can, buy bread at a bakery where they bake their own (watch out for supermarkets that bake ready-frozen loaves with a dispenser that wafts out the ‘fresh baked’ smell). If you like white bread, a good baker can tell you which are healthy white loaves.

8. Watery bacon

If your bacon curls up and ‘leaks’ water when cooking, it’s all the nitrates, water and other additives leaking out. There is a theory that smoked bacon might have cancer warnings, so buy the best, unsmoked bacon you can afford.

9. Soya beans

Soya Beans are one of the best plant sources of high-quality protein and, if you like the taste, you can swap them for peas in a recipe.

They're particularly useful if you're vegan, as there are concerns over sourcing an adequate daily amount of protein. These are sometimes called Edamame Beans.

10. Spam

A recent news story said Waitrose (Waitrose!) had noticed an increase in customers buying Spam. (Yes, they do sell it). 

Before you rush to copy them, remember – although Spam is convenient, it’s also very high in fat, calories and sodium and low in nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals. Additionally, it’s highly processed and contains preservatives like sodium nitrite that may cause adverse health effects.

If you have room for more money-saving tips, there are more on my website.

Comments

  • SueHeath
    SueHeath Community member Posts: 12,420 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @veriterc thanks for this - i'm an advocate in lentils/split peas etc I put them in every think cottage pie mix etc not only helps in fibre but helps bulk up and secondary protein if i remember rightly.

  • vikingqueen
    vikingqueen Scope Member Posts: 1,387 Disability Gamechanger
                 I wouldn't eat spam if it was free  :s it has to rank in the top 5 bad for you foods.
     
  • SueHeath
    SueHeath Community member Posts: 12,420 Disability Gamechanger
    I don't eat it myself @vikingqueen but as the shops still sell it i presume their are people that still like it.
  • veriterc
    veriterc Community member Posts: 241 Pioneering
    I nrver liked Spam anyway, and was surprised that people still buy it. But I suppose it had
    its merits!
  • Cartini
    Cartini Community member Posts: 1,108 Pioneering
                 I wouldn't eat spam if it was free  :s it has to rank in the top 5 bad for you foods.
     
    :D with you on that one. I`ve heard the devil won`t touch it ;)
  • vikingqueen
    vikingqueen Scope Member Posts: 1,387 Disability Gamechanger
                      Well I'd rank it as 'evil'  @Cartini   :s
  • Cartini
    Cartini Community member Posts: 1,108 Pioneering
                      Well I'd rank it as 'evil'  @Cartini   :s

    :D
  • veriterc
    veriterc Community member Posts: 241 Pioneering
    Obviously some people eat Spam - Waitrose sells it.  But must admit my mind boggles!  
    Perhaps its fed to their cats or dogs.







  • SueHeath
    SueHeath Community member Posts: 12,420 Disability Gamechanger
    Thinking about "spam" again ha ha if I'm remembering right i'm sure my brother used to use it for fishing as bait.
  • veriterc
    veriterc Community member Posts: 241 Pioneering
    Now that's a sensible use for Spam!
  • vikingqueen
    vikingqueen Scope Member Posts: 1,387 Disability Gamechanger
       Poor fish 😂.... I'll bet it's not cheap either! 
  • Steve_in_The_City
    Steve_in_The_City Scope Member Posts: 511 Pioneering
    Personally I love Spam and couldn't care less if its good for me or not, as I only buy one or two tins a year. I slice it and fry it instead of bacon, and have it it in sarnies or with a fried egg. It has to have a dollop of brown sauce, naturally! I have never suffered with cibophobia and eat what I want. A friend of mine won the star letter prize in Delicious magazine, 36 bottles of good quality wine. He said that in his fridge he had all the "nasties" like lard and butter, but at 84 years old he could still run for a bus. He finished by saying a little of what you fancy does you the world of good! I thoroughly concur! I am going to put a tin of spam on my shopping list. In fact I may become adventurous, go upmarket and make Prairie Pie.
  • SueHeath
    SueHeath Community member Posts: 12,420 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Steve_in_The_City glad you still like good old spam, when we were young "many moons ago" Mom used to use spam a lot to feed us all, i'l have to look "Prairie Pie" up i've heard of it some were. My Mom used to make a spam slice puff pastry, chopped up spam, chopped up boiled egg and grated cheese, great, cheap meal for feeding 7 of us.x
  • Steve_in_The_City
    Steve_in_The_City Scope Member Posts: 511 Pioneering
    @SueHeath Your post made me smile, thank you, as well as bringing back memories of childhood food. I have to say your mum had the knack of turning something cheap in to something you would find on a restaurant menu! Puff Pastry spam Slice! If I am assuming correctly maybe you grew-up in post war Britain. Times were tough, and people did make use of Spam and feeding a large family on it would be sensible and economical, and turning it in to something nice as your mum did, quite creative, too.

    I found the recipe for Prairie Pie in the 1983 edition of The Dairy Book of Family Cookery, still one of my favourite cookery books. Basically you line a dish with buttered crustless bread. You cube a tin of Spam and mix it with a tin of baked beans. You pour this in to your dish. Then you cover it with more crustless bread, buttered side up. Then you mix together some eggs and milk, pour it over, let it soak in, then sprinkle with grated cheese. You bake it for about 30 mins in a hot oven. Personally, I think I would prefer the Spam Slice! You can buy Spam Fritters in Sainsbury's. I have never tried them. Now don't get me going about corned beef stew! I've got some languishing in the freezer as we very speak. It's comprised of tomatoes, onions, swede, carrot, mushroom, cannellini beans and corned beef. No wonder I brim with health!
  • SueHeath
    SueHeath Community member Posts: 12,420 Disability Gamechanger
    Oh yes @Steve_in_The_City my parents had it tough bringing up five of us in Birmingham, but we never starved, Mom was a very good cook and she had to make foods stretch, but we never felt like we missed out, and we all thrived. I will also add that my Mom was from a family of 12 children so she learnt from an early age how to make food stretch, she taught us well. x
  • Steve_in_The_City
    Steve_in_The_City Scope Member Posts: 511 Pioneering
    @SueHeath My gran was from Birmingham, and she too could cook and came from a poor family. In fact it was gran that got me interested in cooking. She was very warm and loving. Later in life I had to go on business to Birmingham, and I always found the people there to be humorous, warm and friendly.  Mind you, I don't think it was gran that introduced me to Spam! But as you say, you were taught well to make food stretch. And so was I! 
  • Hannah_Scope
    Hannah_Scope Posts: 7,093 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @veriterc

    This is an amazing post and I'm loving reading everyone's comments in the thread :)
    Hannah - She / Her

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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