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6 creative ways to stretch your food budget

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With today’s busy lifestyles and tight budgets, we have put together a few tips to help stretch your food budget a little further.

With today’s busy lifestyles and tight budgets, we have put together a few tips to help stretch your food budget a little further. Picture: Scott Warman/Unsplash

With today’s busy lifestyles and tight budgets, we have put together a few tips to help stretch your food budget a little further.

NO matter what your grocery budget is, we all want to be smart shoppers. And when budgets are really squeezed, we still want to do the best we can to feed our families healthily.

Here are six tips to stretch your grocery budget. Some of the ideas you may have heard before but, hopefully, some will be new.

Don’t make breakfast a fancy affair

Breakfast is one meal that does not have to be complicated or expensive. Breakfast foods like eggs, muesli, and toast are not only inexpensive but also filling. Make your own home-made muffins and fast breads.

Do not waste your time with mixes and other empty short-cuts. Cereal for breakfast can break the bank. Unless you spot a great sale, you should only buy cereal in bulk when it is actually on sale.

Can fruits and vegetables

If your garden (or your local farmer’s market) yields an abundance of tomatoes, strawberries, peaches, or other preservable fruits and vegetables, can them yourself and store them for later use.

Be sure to follow the rules for canning food safely.

Veggie bouquet

Store asparagus in the fridge in a glass of water (like cut flowers in a vase). It will stay fresh for a couple of weeks. Works with celery, too. Discover every possible way you can stop throwing away rands in the form of rotten produce.

Make your own mixes

Pre-packaged dry mixes for pancakes, brownies, muffins, salad dressing, and other foods are definitely convenient, but they are also expensive and likely full of unpronounceable ingredients.

You can make your own for just a few rands using quality ingredients of your choice. Store them in airtight glass or plastic containers to keep them fresh, marked with the date you put them together.

Turn a salad into a meal

Just about anything tastes good on a bed of greens with a tasty dressing, including leftover cooked vegetables, strips of meat or seafood, and grains. A little short on protein?

A handful of nuts or seeds can substitute for the meat.

Fresh fruits can add a splash of colour and sweetness, or raid your pantry and add dried cranberries, raisins or dried papaya chunks.

Try to use as many food parts as possible

Many people unnecessarily dispose of bones and vegetable trimmings that can still be put to good use in a variety of dishes.

For example, you could chop up broccoli stems and cauliflower leaves for stir fry or steamed vegetables, and they are full of flavour and nutrition.

Vegetable peels that can be eaten should be removed and stored in the freezer for use in making stock.

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