From both a time and monetary perspective, sticking to a healthy eating plan over a sustained period can be challenging but ultimately very rewarding. The following ‘tips’ aren’t rocket science, however I hope you find some of them useful based on my own experiences.
If you love meat and don’t want to give it up, try using some cheaper cuts:
- Turkey thigh mince (7% fat) is typically half the price of turkey mince (2% fat), and although not as healthy, is a good choice for your diet compared to using fattier varieties of beef mince in curries or chillies
- Pork mince can be cheaper and healthier than some brands of beef mince. Ideal for making meatballs
- Use lower-fat sausages or chipolatas in casseroles, stews or oven bakes. Frankfurters are another low-cost option – check out Hotdog Hotpot
- Skin-on, bone-in packs of chicken thighs are more affordable than skinless, boneless packs. Taking off the skin and removing the bone isn’t as tricky as you might think if you’ve got a good pair of kitchen scissors. After doing so, you should be left with about 500g of meat from a 1kg pack, which is plenty to make a meal for 4 people
- If you can afford it, try and buy bigger packs of meat (1kg chicken breasts and pork steaks, 750g mince etc) and make them stretch further. For example, Rich & Meaty Bolognese uses 400g of lean minced beef. If you’ve bought a 500g pack of mince it’s tempting to chuck the remaining 100g in and add a few more calories onto your meal. But, for example, if you buy a 750g pack, you can make Rich & Meaty Bolognese and Chilli Salad Bowls with the remaining mince. Or, if you’ve got leftover beef from a Sunday roast instead of being greedy and picking at it, make Beef Stroganoff for another day
- Cook by weight, not by quantity. Read your recipe carefully. For example, it might state ‘4 chicken breasts (about 600g)’. However, if your chicken breasts are larger (typically they will be if you’ve bought them from a butcher) you won’t need as many
- Remember, a little meat can go a long way. Chicken and Mushroom Risotto, Chicken Stir-fry and Pollo Pasta with Pesto only requires 2 chicken breasts as these meals are bulked out with other ingredients. Similarly, Pork and Black Bean Stew requires only 300g of pork.
Staying on track