Top Tips: What we eat, how we shop for it and the ways we prepare it

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Shopping & Budgeting
Shop on-line
The items you buy regularly are saved in a list so it saves you time and money as you are less tempted to buy other items on impulse. Some supermarket websites list offers – however don’t be seduced by things that look like a deal but aren’t on your list or that you don’t need.
Shopping & Budgeting
Golden rule
Don’t shop when you are hungry – eat before you go!
Shopping & Budgeting
Leave your basket
If you’re just popping to the shop for milk, bread or fruit don’t use a basket and you won’t be tempted to over shop and spend more.
Shopping & Budgeting
Buy seasonally
Where possible use seasonal fruit and vegetables – they are often cheaper, fresher and tastier.
Shopping & Budgeting
BOGOFs
Be conscious of BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free) offers as they might not be the cheapest way to purchase what you want or need. And they may also create waste.
Shopping & Budgeting
Basics/essentials
Try the basic lines offered by supermarkets as this can dramatically reduce your food bill. But remember to look at the labels for foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt.

Shopping & Budgeting
Local independent shops
Try using the local butcher or green grocer as this may work out cheaper. The staff don’t bite and are usually very helpful and friendly – selling items in smaller quantities than the supermarkets.

Shopping & Budgeting
Menu plan
Reduce the risk of over shopping and additional expense by having a menu plan and develop your shopping list from that. Remember to include ingredients that you already have in the cupboard at home, in your menu plan.

Shopping & Budgeting
Frozen
Buying frozen fruit and vegetables can help you to avoid waste by using only what you need and studies suggest that frozen veggies have just as many nutrients (if not more) as their fresh counterparts.

Shopping & Budgeting
Bulk buy
Buy items such as pasta and rice in bulk when they are on special offer. Dried goods like these have a very long shelf life and won’t go off. Always remember to look out for ‘wholegrain’ and ‘whole-wheat’ when buying.

Shopping & Budgeting
Meat
Buy cheaper cuts of meat (longer cooking time but often tastier) and alternate it with cheaper proteins e.g. eggs, lentils, beans. Why not try having one meat free day per week!

Cooking
Left-overs
Use up left-overs. These items can make tonight’s dinner or tomorrow’s lunch! Meat from a Sunday roast makes a great shepherd’s pie or curry. Create a stir fry dish out of leftover rice or use extra pasta to make pasta salad, macaroni cheese or pasta bakes.

Cooking
Waste
Avoid food waste by keeping a check on portion sizes. If you do have leftovers, portion them up and freeze them for lunch or for another dinner.

Cooking
One meal
Save time and costs by cooking one meal for the whole family. If you have small children remove their portions first before adding salt or spices.

Cooking
Bulk
Cook in bulk and in advance, and freeze. This works well if you are only cooking for small numbers, if you work, or if you are unwell.

Cooking
Salt
Reduce or remove salt from cooking – you can create a really tasty dish by reducing or removing salt and instead adding garlic, spices or chilli, where appropriate.

Cooking
Salt
You can always add salt but you can’t take it away! To help reduce salt intake, rather than adding too much when cooking, place it on the table so people can add it to suit their own tastes. If you use stock cubes in cooking, these often contain salt which is a sufficient amount to flavour your dish, so no extra salt will need to be added.

Cooking
Vegetarian
Cook vegetarian once or twice a week – it’s healthier and cheaper. Bolognaise sauce, chilli, lasagne or shepherd’s pies can easily be made vegetarian, by combining dry or frozen soya mince, lentils or pulses, with diced or grated vegetables.

Cooking
Cook from scratch
It’s healthy, low cost, it can be relaxing and is a great way to impress your friends and family with new delicious new dishes. There is a myriad of online recipes to choose from including the Food Matters’ Cook and Eat recipes.

Food choices
Snacks
Snacks like fruit smoothies and flapjack are full of nutrients and slow release energy.

Food choices
Pulses
Beans, chickpeas and lentils are sources of slow release energy, fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Food choices
Veggies first
To help make sure you include lots of vegetables and salad in your meals, put these on your plate first and make sure it covers up at least one third of the plate.

Food choices
Fish
Oily fish are high in omega-3 fats which can help to protect against heart disease. Aim to have 2 portions of fish per week, one of them oily. Mackerel, salmon, sardines, pilchards and eels are all oily fish. If you don’t eat fish, vegetable sources of omega-3 include walnuts (and oil), pumpkin seeds (and oil), linseed (and oil) and rapeseed oils.

Food choices
Eat early
To help you get a good night’s sleep don’t eat too late, especially meals rich in protein and fat as they are difficult to digest and will sit in your stomach.

Food choices
Caffeine
Caffeine can prevent sleep so avoid caffeinated drinks especially in the afternoon or evening. This is because caffeine can take up to 12 hours to pass through the body. Try a herbal tea or milky drink instead.

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