14/08/2014 16:55 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Tips On Frugal Feeding

Eating frugally

This is a short one with just a couple of tips on how to save your food budget a bit, eating frugally and make the food you have stretch further.

Treat your larder like a stationery cupboard, do regular stock takes.

Try and keep a written record of what you have and what you don't have so that you know what you can afford not to buy. You can download and print off my stock take template by clicking Wholesome Ireland Stocktake.

Make your larder fun for the kids. One day a week let them choose three savoury items from the cupboard and cook a meal with them. They're more likely to eat it then!

If you grow your own food, invest in or acquire a chest freezer. Once your vegetables are in season and you have a glut spend a day blanching and bagging them. Freeze once cool and they will last for months. They are also very handy when you need a meal in a hurry because they don't need to be cooked, just reheated. You can often pick chest freezers up for free on the likes of jumbletown or dublinwaste.

When peeling spuds, peel twice as many as you need. Boil double the quantity in the pot. Mash the half you don't need immediately, scoop into a washed takeaway tray and freeze once cool.
You would be surprised how little protein you need on a daily basis to stay healthy.

Two chicken breasts for dinner should spread to three adults or two adults and two children. You can make them stretch by making your own homemade goujons, risotto etc anything that requires you to cut the meat into chunks.

Likewise for cereals. Modern cereal bowls are massive. Weigh your cereal out into the RDA size in the mornings. You will make your cereals last longer, and you won't be eating loads of hidden calories by mistake.

Finally another tip on portion size. The Irish psyche that has been drummed into us is "clear your plate" and there's "starving children in (insert third world country here)" . I don't know any child of the 70s or 80s who isn't familiar with these phrases. There's nothing wrong with clearing your plate if your portion size is right. The problem is that most dinner plates are too big. If you fill a dinner plate with food then you are more than likely eating far too many calories, but you're also wasting food because you are plating food that could be used at another meal.

Caítríona, mum to two small boys, wife to himself, chief cook & bottle washer.

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