October marked the launch of British Cookery Schools Week, which saw leading cookery schools and culinary education providers championing new cooking skills and sharing their tips on cooking well for less.
The ongoing cost-of-living and energy crises make purchasing food difficult for many. Although we don’t have much control over energy prices, there are plenty of small, achievable ways to get those monthly food bills down without sacrificing taste or quality.
Take a look at our four money-saving, sustainable eating tips to help cut down your cooking costs.
1. Set a weekly food budget
First things first: work out how much you can afford to spend on food each month and set your weekly budget.
Struggling to budget for your food shop (or budget in general)? There are so many handy planners out there to help, like Martin Lewis’s budget planner and this expense tracker app.
Many supermarkets also have various loyalty schemes to take advantage of. But whilst supermarkets may be the more convenient option, don’t forget about your local greengrocer or market — they’re often the cheapest place to get fresh fruit and veg!
2. Check your stock
People tend to waste food because they’re unclear about ‘best before’ dates, but there are tons of things you can do with surplus food. Fruit can be blended into nourishing smoothies, and leftover veg can be transformed into warming soups or used to make baked vegetable crisps.
So, before you start planning your meals for the week or putting together your shopping list, check what you’ve already got in your fridge or freezer. Take stock of the tins, cans and packets in your cupboard, too, and use them to make delicious meals for less!
3. Plan your meals
Now you know what you’ve already got, you can set out a menu that works with your weekly budget (try searching for recipes by ingredient — focusing on anything you already have — for inspiration).
When putting together your list, note any staple ingredients that crop up in your food shop regularly. These are your ‘special offer’ items — the things you can buy in bulk if there’s a two-for-one deal. If it’s not a regular staple, leave it on the shelf. Sticking to this rule will make it much easier to avoid unnecessary items that make your shops more expensive.
4. Cook more efficiently
If you really want to cut cooking costs, slow cookers and air fryers are a much more efficient alternative to ovens, making them cheaper to run.
Love deep-fried foods but not all the oil and mess involved? An air fryer is a healthier alternative, turning out crispy, crunchy food in half the time thanks to hot air convection cooking.
Slow cookers are made for batch cooking, which can help to save time, reduce food wastage and cut down your weekly food bill. Meals like casseroles, curries, stews and saucy pasta dishes are great for batch cooking. If you’re unsure where to start, there are millions of recipes to discover online.
The Magimix Cook Expert acts as a slow cooker plus a stand mixer, food processor, blender, two-layered steamer, soup maker and even a warming and proving oven. This nifty kitchen gadget does everything from chopping and grating to steaming, simmering and kneading… saving you both time and money in the long run.
If you work long hours, are a busy parent with little spare time, or just need a helping hand in the kitchen, the Magimix Cook Expert is a fantastic solution. Simply prepare your ingredients in advance and let the Cook Expert do the rest for you — without sending your energy bill through the roof!
Want to make your meals go further? Take a look at the Independent Cookery Schools Association (ICSA) blog we were featured in earlier this month for British Cookery Schools Week — and follow ICSA on Instagram for more tips on cooking well for less.