Which Ingredients To Spend On… And Which Ones To Save On
Spend your money where it counts!
With all the different products available, it’s sometimes hard to know which ones to spend on and which ones won’t make too much difference to your meal.
Where To Save Your Money…
Store Cupboard Staples
- The store cupboard essentials you use in Meal Packs are ideal for buying in bulk without sacrificing the quality of your meal. Grab staples like grains, spices, nuts and flour from bulk stores to save your pennies!
- Check out the world food aisles in supermarkets and speciality stores too – things like rice, noodles and tinned pulses will often be much cheaper, and you can buy them in larger quantities too.
- Make sure you’re storing your staples correctly so they stay fresh and last as long as possible. Check out Your Staples and How To Manage Them for top tips.
Fruit + Vegetables
- You don’t need to spend a fortune on your fruit and veg – keep it cheap, but pay attention to what you do with them.
- Check out markets and speciality stores for incredible fruit and veg savings you’d never find in supermarkets.
- Speciality shops are also good for bulk buying spices and frozen items like lemongrass or lime leaves for your curries – they’re as good as fresh and much much cheaper!
- Buying frozen is great for keeping costs super low – plus, it doesn’t go off! Frozen peas, spinach and Mediterranean veggies are perfect for adding to cooked meals like stir-fries, pastas and curries, while frozen berries are ideal for smoothies and juices.
Where To Spend…
Meat + Fish
- Spending a little more on your meat will mean it’s better quality and better sourced, so it will probably be tastier too.
- Buy free-range chicken if you can – it’s better for the bird, not to mention it has a superior taste!
- You can make savings on the cut you choose. Don’t waste money on expensive lean cuts if you’ll be cooking it for a long time – try cheaper meats like chicken wings and thighs instead of breast, beef shin instead of brisket and pork belly instead of loin.
- Likewise, it’s worth spending a little more on sustainably sourced fish for quality and taste. Most fish is cheaper when it’s in season, so do your research!
Oils, Vinegars + Sauces
- A few good-quality oils, vinegars and sauces can really upgrade your cooking.
- Spending a little bit more on things like good soy sauce, apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar will make the world of difference to your food. They’ll also last a long time, so you won’t need to be splashing out too often.
- Try keeping a good bottle of olive oil for dressings and drizzling and another lesser quality one for cooking and sauteing.
And Where To Choose Wisely!
- It’s always worth thinking about how you’re going to be using your ingredients when deciding how much to spend on them.
- We are big fans of sea salt, but if you’re just chucking it in boiling water with your veg or pasta, try table salt instead. We love a good cheese, but if you’re melting it in a mac ‘n’ cheese it probably doesn’t need to be a pricey one.
- If it’s your main ingredient you may want to spend a little more – for example, good tinned tomatoes will make a real difference in a simple pasta sauce.
- Don’t assume that branded products = better quality. Often they are just the same as the own brand versions but cost more!