I was contacted by a magazine who wanted my ten pence worth on how to eat healthily on a small diet. Families on a small budget make difficult choices every day, I would hope one of those would be to not get into any debt, sort out the debt they have by seeking advice from Step Change or Christians against poverty and setting a realistic and sustainable budget which includes a weekly amount for food. Invariably, this won't be very much, nor very exciting but you can eat healthily.
I was asked to share ways that people could eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day on a budget and this is more or less what I said.
We've always added pulses to our diet; they are not just for vegans. We buy pulses in large quantities and use them throughout the year. Simply follow the instructions of the pack when it comes to soaking and cooking them and then use them in a variety of recipes. We love lentils in soups, stews and shepherdess pie.
We're also really fond of chick peas and eat them in burgers and stir fries. There are plenty of ways to buy pules, they are rich in protein and high in fibre, they are also one of your five a day.
I would also recommend frozen vegetables. I buy and use lots from spinach, green beans and cauliflower to name just a few. The great reason to buy frozen vegetables is that you can stock up when you have the money and just keep them frozen until you need them. Of course, that means there is no waste. I find frozen veggies a lot cheaper and they certainly help stretch the family budget.
Every week, I buy the bulk of my vegetables from Aldi's Super 6 range. This week, I bought cherry tomatoes, savoy cabbage, carrots, celery, onions and grapes and all for 39p each. I bought enough savoy cabbage and carrots to keep us going for a few weeks, they last for ages.
Somewhere I bet you hadn't thought of is Poundland. I buy dried fruit from there and make date slices. These are quick cheap energy bars and a small amount is more than enough for a morning snack to get me through until lunch time. They are great for children's lunch boxes and family picnics. A large bag is £1.....funnily enough.
I've always got frozen fruit to hand, I put this in muffins to have as a snack or with yogurt for lunch or as a dessert, again it doesn't go off and there isn't any waste.
I do a supermarket 'big shop' once in a while and stock up on supermarket basics. I buy tinned beans, tomatoes, potatoes and fruit such as pineapple or peaches. I learned a trick when I worked in a care home, if the fruit comes in syrup, then rinse it under the tap to remove the syrup.
Here's another fresh veg source for you all that's really affordable, sprout your own seeds. I do this through the winter to give us fresh salad. I like grated carrot but everyone needs a break now and then.
Supermarket basic vegetables are also much cheaper. These are the original ugly fruits and vegetables. The carrots, potatoes and such like are smaller. Remember, you are going to eat them and not enter them into a beauty contest.
My humble little bowl of grated carrots symbolise eating seasonally. Winter salad for us is always coleslaw or one variety or another. Grated carrots, cabbage and finely sliced onion. That might be red cabbage and the mayonaise might be from the basics range but it still means we are getting plenty of veggies.
So when asked, of course I said it was possible to eat fruit and vegetables every day. When I look into other folk's shopping trollies, I often can see any meals. I can see plenty of junk but no planned meals. I think it's a matter of choice and we can eat processed food, which might appear cheap but doesn't feed us or simple healthy food such a vegetable and lentil soup or baked potato with coleslaw.
This is where you join in. Can you eat fruit and veggies every day on a budget ? Would you/do you use frozen, canned or dried? Come on bean soakers, join in with the debate and tell us what you think
Love Froogs xxx