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Savvy mum reveals how batch cooking has halved the cost of her weekly shop

5 May 2020, 0:00 pm
  • Bonnie Shaw, 23, halved the cost of her weekly shop by batch cooking
  • Bonnie donates extra food to vulnerable people
  • Bonnie gives tips to do the same

If just the thought of spending another evening cooking and cleaning makes you exhausted, take inspiration from this savvy mum.

Bonnie Shaw, 23, a mum of one from Manchester, reveals that planning her meals meticulously and batch cooking helps save her time and money under lockdown.

Not only that, but Bonnie also donates boxes of her batch cooking to vulnerable people during the lockdown.

Bonnie, who works in project interface for Network Rail, told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: “There are only three of us in our household but we all eat different things - I’m dieting, the partner isn’t and my baby is very fussy!

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"I batch cook because we are a busy family - we both worked full time prior to lockdown and cooking three different meals every evening after work became a nightmare. We started ordering food all of the time and it wasn’t good for any of us.

"Batch cooking is great for me because I can control my calories for each meal for the week, my partner can have a meal of his choosing every night without the mess of washing up, and we waste less.

"I donate food to a local sheltered accommodation because I know there are people that are struggling, and I know I have food in my cupboards that will go to waste if not cooked. I waste less and do a good thing for others at the same time!”

Bonnie, who shares her meals on Instagram at @theweightlossmummy, says that she plans each meal carefully to make sure every meal for the following two weeks is taken care of.

"Because we batch and freeze everything for the following weeks, I have meals ready to be defrosted and popped into the oven or microwave every night,” she explains.

"Everything is portioned so nothing goes to waste, and we know we have enough to last us because we plan our meals ahead for the next two weeks.

"After work, mealtimes used to consist of me cooking three meals, and two thirds of each meal would be thrown away because only one person would eat each meal.

"I used to shop daily for food without planning what we would eat, which resulted in big shopping bills and an even bigger rubbish pile.

"Now everything we don’t use, we cook and donate or give away. My bins are never full any more!”

Bonnie has lots of excellent tips for those keen to emulate her organised approach to cooking - and she says she’s trying to make the most of the opportunity that the lockdown presents.

"I take advantage of the reduced section where I can through the week (there are some fab offers if you shop after 15:30) and then I base my meals for the week using the items I pick up,” she adds. "This means two shopping trips but I only do this every two weeks.

"My tips would be to make the most of the reduced section as there are some great bargains you can find there. Once you have your reduced items, make a plan of what you need to make the meals. Make your list and stick to it!

“Shop at different stores to find the best bargain. I shop at Aldi for my staple items as they cannot be beaten, but make the most of Tesco’s reduced section. Your local meat markets will also have some fantastic offers on.

"Plan what you are going to eat for the week. It takes getting used to, and you need to involve the whole family, but it’s worth it.

"Make use of your freezer - start small by making bigger meals and freezing leftover portions for another day. This is an easy way of not wasting leftover food.

"Make the most of the time you have available - we have a lot more time to find bargains, and a lot more time to cook. My batch takes me a full day, but then I don’t cook for two weeks. Find a method that works for you and stick to it!

"No one enjoys being at home all day every day (at least most people) but I’m trying to make the most of the time at home, as we will probably never have another long period at home again. We’re getting odd jobs done and getting organised!

"Even if you don’t want to batch cook, planning your meals saves you money on your shop and reduces waste.

"At these difficult times, I try to waste less and give more - let’s help our communities where we can.

"I used to spend over £300 a month on shopping without even thinking and now I spend half that - sometimes less if I’m being extra careful.

“Donating has been a new thing since the lockdown, but I will definitely continue to do it in future - it costs me nothing and I throw much less away!

"My mum who works as a warden in the sheltered accommodation drops the meals off for me so that the residents don’t have to come into contact with more than one person.

"She said it means the world to the people that receive them as some of them have no family or friends, so are really struggling at the moment.

"Since the government asked people over 75 to stay at home, a lot of the residents rely on community services to get their shopping. By doing a few meals (that can be frozen) it’s one less meal they have to worry about!”

Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, comments: “During lockdown, cooking for the family has become even more of an almighty task than usual! However, Bonnie’s ingenious way of tackling it will really help out families who are stretched for time.

“Being organised, planning your meals and making the most of your freezer has so many benefits: batch cooking is great for your wallet, your diet and your schedule too!”

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