Tips for running a low-cost and healthy kitchen without compromising
By Mike James
Almost all of us would like to run our kitchens in a manner that is cheaper and healthier – but it can be difficult to break our old habits. However, doing so can have many benefits for you, your family, and even the environment, so it is definitely worth doing. Here we take a look at eight top tips that every home can do to run a low-cost and healthy kitchen without compromising.
1. Cut down on red meat and processed foods
People are turning away from meat in greater numbers than ever before, with a third of British people reporting having reduced their consumption – but you don’t need to go vegetarian or vegan to cut down on the amount of red meat and processed food that you eat.
In fact, it might be important for your health, as well as your wallet. Official NHS advice suggests reducing the amount of red and processed meat that you consume if you currently eat more than 90g per day. This is due to the fact that it can be a bowel cancer risk to eat more. Processed foods and meat are also some of more expensive in our shopping lists.
2. Choose a packed lunch over a meal deal
If you currently leave your work at lunch time and head to a local shop to pick up something to eat, you could be wasting a lot of money throughout the year.
Buying your work lunch on the day can be a very expensive (and often unhealthy) habit. It has been suggested that a working couple could save around £4,000 every year by making a packed lunch every day rather than going to the shops and buying a ‘meal deal’ or another type of lunch. And avoiding the shops helps you to avoid other unnecessary purchases.
3. Use up what you already have
It might seem obvious, but this is an important point to re-iterate: you should always try to use up the food that you have bought. This is a real problem for kitchens across the UK; collectively household food waste sees 7.3 million tonnes of food waste on landfills. This is clearly something that many of us can improve on – and it places an onus on using up food more effectively.
4. Make your food last with better storage
It is unfortunately the case that a lot of food gets thrown away because it has gone bad by the time we get around to eating it. However, food can last a lot longer than you think, especially if you take the time to store it correctly. Many of us are guilty of pushing food to back of the fridge and forgetting about it, so instead you should take the time to store it in a sensible way, giving you a better chance of actually using it up.
5. Batch cook
It can be so cost effective and time efficient to batch cook, that this is undoubtedly a solution that every kitchen in the UK could benefit from. It is even the case that batch cooking should contribute to a healthier diet, as having homecooked food available to easily re-heat can stop you from resorting to ordering a takeaway or heating up junk food.
6. Not going to use it? Freeze it
Don’t forget that food can easily be frozen to preserve it. Take the time to think about what you are going to cook during the week and establish if you are going to get through all your fresh food – if not, then make sure that you take the time to freeze it. This is by far the most sensible option as you can place it in the freezer while it is still in good condition and then defrost at a later date, avoiding waste.
7. Shop after meals
Many people make the classic mistake of shopping when they are hungry. Whether we like to admit it or not, our hunger can control us to a certain extent, and feeling the need to eat will naturally make you buy more food – specifically unhealthy food that you will be craving at the time. So, shopping hungry is not only more expensive, it is also worse for you.
8. Never buy junk food
It is also important to avoid buying junk food wherever possible. The fact is that if there is junk food in the house you are going to eat it, but if you don’t buy it, then you won’t be tempted. Avoid the voice in your head that tells you to buy it ‘just in case’.