Savvy money-saving mum reveals how to make food last under lockdown
- Laura El, 36, spends £50 a week feeding a family of five
- Laura says chopping, part boiling and freezing is the key to making food last
- Getting the whole family involved is a great way to learn and pass the time
If your food shopping isn’t lasting long, the supermarket shelves are empty and you’re panicking about how to feed your family under the coronavirus lockdown rules, take inspiration from this savvy mum.
Laura El, 36, a mum of three who runs her own printing business from Poole, Dorset, has lots of handy tips for maximising food ingredients during the pandemic.
Laura told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: “There is really no need to panic bulk buy if you are sensible. I have a family of five on a low income and we spend around £50 a week on our food shopping because that’s all we can just about afford!
“It might seem impossible to feed five mouths for seven days and still eat healthily, but here’s how I do it.
"My partner is self-employed and has his own business. I work alongside him and have my own little printing business. Unfortunately both our businesses fall under the not ‘necessary or vital’ category, so we have had to close down until things have settled and restrictions lifted.
"This has been devastating for us as we only just took on our new work premises at the beginning of February.
"We are not ‘loaded’ like people seem to think when you have your own business! We do have to shop on an extremely tight budget. We usually spend around £50 to £70 per week on food and manage to feed all five of us comfortably.”
Laura manages to make food last longer by preparing and freezing ingredients in advance.
"With regards to veggies, the best thing to do to make them ‘keep’ and also save time on a daily basis, is to peel, chop, blanche if needed and freeze!
"It’s so easy - yes, it takes a little bit of time, which is difficult when you have a toddler constantly around your ankles and need eyes in the back of your head! - but if and when you can spare that hour or half hour to quickly peel, then later chop, and part boil, then it’s well worth doing!
"I also chop potatoes into all kinds of different shapes and sizes, such as chips, mash and roast potatoes of all sizes so you have a variety and it doesn’t become boring.
"Let them cool, bag them up into freezer bags and pop them in your freezer, and take them out as and when you need them.
“For potatoes, cook them like you would oven chips bought from the supermarket, but just add a small amount of oil in the pan.
“Another product I think is amazing is ready-made roll out puff pastry. You simply roll out, cut to any shape, full with any filling you have in the cupboards and fridge for a meal or a dessert. It works great for either freezing raw or cooking and freezing.
“You can pick up bags of potatoes for £1, carrots for 40p, onions for £1 per bag, peppers for £1 for a mixed bag. I don’t tend to buy much branded as the cheaper stuff is just as good, and some things even taste better - plus you always seem to get more value for money so why spend more money than needed?
"The ideas are endless for saving food and money. It just takes a small amount of imagination, inspiration and time and effort.
“You can get your kids involved, make it like a game or a baking day! My two-year-old made her own jam tarts using the roll-out puff pastry and some jam. Easy!
"As for entertaining the children during this confusing, difficult and uncertain time, we have been non-stop on a daily basis. Loads of arts, crafts, games, playing and so on.
"I’m actually enjoying it but hugely worried at the same time for my own family and other family members and friends who we cannot get to to see or help.
"Like many others in a similar situation to us, who have very little money and who are still waiting for the government's financial help, all these little money-saving tips help so much.
“Rather than spending money on quick, easy, potentially unhealthy food that doesn’t stretch, you may as well make as much as you can yourself and get the kids involved.
“You will soon realise how much money you waste, how to make fresh and perishable items last, and at the same time, get to spend fun quality time with loved ones, know exactly what you’re eating and learning at the same time.
“Experiment and come up with your own ideas and make your own recipes!”
Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, comments: “Laura’s excellent food preparation tips are useful always, but especially during a lockdown, when every carrot, potato and onion counts!
“Families who are going stir crazy under lockdown and worrying about making food last should definitely take these tips on board: get the whole family involved, and when it comes to your food shop, prepare, chop and freeze to make each ingredient last as long as possible!"
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