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5 WAYS TO EAT WELL WHEN YOU'RE SKINT & HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON FOOD.



So it's January and to say the Arnold/Terrett household is skint is an UNDERSTATEMENT
Why, oh why do I overindulge at Christmas?! I do this every single year and by the end of the first week of January I am crying into my empty fridge accompanied by a pile of overdue bills. When it comes to Christmas my common sense just flies out of the window, spending hundreds on food I will never eat and increasing the quantity of presents that Harper will have destroyed or long forgotten about by the end of January. 
So here we are on the 5th of January and we're not living like the kings we once were, so I have spent my last day off looking for recipes that will fill us up and be relatively healthy too so that we can still achieve the healthier lifestyle we are trying to adopt. 
It suddenly dawned on me that I am definitely not the only one in this boat, in fact I get the feeling that this boat is a little overcrowded, full of people all feel the sting of January at one point or another. So this post is for all of you out there who are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel this week, WE CAN DO THIS!


1. EGGS ARE EVERYTHING.



Not only are eggs loaded with vitamins, minerals and are often referred to as a brain food, they are super cheap and SUPER versatile. You can just about throw anything into a 2 egg omelette and it will fill you up for ages! 
Here are some EGGcellent meals I like to make:
Cheese & Mushroom Omelette - as simple as it gets but a great breakfast or lunch idea that you can cook in less than 10 minutes and will fill you up until lunch or dinner time.
Egg Fried Rice - simply cook up a 2 egg omelette (per 2 servings) and then chop into tiny pieces, buy yourself a box of boil in a bag rices for no more than £1.50, boil up a bag per person and mix in the chopped egg to make your very own egg fried rice!
Egg Mayo Salad/Sandwiches - Buy yourself a pack of 6 free range eggs for roughly £1.50 - £2, a loaf of bread from as little as 50 pence & a bag of mixed leaf salad for £1 (LOOK FOR OFFERS) and boil ALL the eggs, yes ALL of them for around 10 minutes until they are hard boiled. Peel off the shell, mush them up in a bowl, add a dollop of mayo and either serve them on a bed of mixed leaf salad OR prepare yourself egg mayo salad sandwiches for work OR do both!


2. PASTA IS YOUR PAL

Slimming Worldies all over know how powerful pasta is and just like eggs,  how versatile it can be. Pasta is the holy grail of carbs and is often overlooked as a 'healthy food' because of this! As with everything, pasta should be enjoyed in moderation but is actually full of extremely useful nutrients and is a bit of a do-gooder when it comes to stumping weight gain due to it's ability to fill you up for longer than most other carbs.
Here are some pasta dishes that stop me from snacking.
Tuna Pasta Bake - It doesn't get much cheaper than this whilst still providing you with a tasty & filling meal. My homemade pasta bake costs less than £8 to make (serves 4-6) and I still have enough leftover for work the next day, all you need is dried pasta shells for as little as 30p a bag, tinned tuna, tomatoes, passata, puree and dried herbs. 
Spaghetti & Meatballs - Again horrendously cheap and simple to make, using tins that are already in the average cupboard you can make an awesome sauce with a kick, get creative! 


3. PASSION FOR POTATOES



Potatoes are another super cheap and super versatile food that if eaten in moderation and cooked well are an absolute asset to a healthy diet and lifestyle. You can do and add almost anything to potatoes that result in a delicious meal for the whole family. They also last FOREVER by the way, especially if you buy them in a big brown paper bags, the darker their environment the better, stored correctly they can last for up to a month.
Here are a few meals I like to make with potatoes
Jacket Potatoes with Philadelphia and Baked Beans - Philadelphia is always on offer and is a great little ingredient to many meals. When I have had a long day at work and can't be bothered to cook I just pierce some potatoes, pop them in the microwave for 10 minutes and then oven bake for 40 minutes. My favourite filling is Philadelphia with beans, after around 30 minutes in the oven I take the potatoes out split them in half, scoop out the filling into a bowl and mix in some chive & garlic Philadelphia. I then fill the jackets back up and continue to bake for 10 - 15 mins and then top with beans. 
Syn Free Chips - The perfect side dish to any meal, all the Slimming Worldies out there thank you for these! I peel and slice my potatoes into wedges, boil on the hob for around 8 minutes. I then drain them and leave them to stand for about 10 minutes, give them a shake & fluff them up and pour them into a baking tin sprayed all over with Fry Light. Bake for 35 mins adding garlic salt and mixed dried herbs half way through. 


4. MINCE IS YOUR MATE

Before I was with Justin I did not eat red meat, AT ALL, but as the years have gone by I have become more open to the idea that it's not as gross as it looks when it's raw. If you're going to eat mince and you're adopting a healthier lifestyle do not settle for anything less than steak mince at least 20% or less fat. Iceland do a great deal on steak mince 2 packs of 15% fat mince for £5, what a bargain!! I love to bulk buy mince and freeze it on the day of purchase, it's so easy to make a meal out of and tastes delicious even when frozen for a week or two.
My fave mince meals are
LETTUCE TACOS - All you need is a head of lettuce, a red and green pepper, a taco seasoning mix and 500g of mince to make them which is less than £8 for a serving for 4-6 people!! They're light and a great alternative to the traditional taco. Add salsa and sour cream for a little kick
CHILLI - Chilli should've had a section all to itself because you can make a tonne of it and still create lots of different meals out of it, that can be with jacket potatoes, wedges, rice or you could even make chilli burritos with some wholemeal wraps the potential is endless, so get creative and save yourself some money with chilli. 
BOLOGNESE BAKE - Using the same sauce base as I used for the tuna pasta bake, just adding some garlic salt. You can't go wrong and is great for bulk cooking and freezing for future meals.

5. LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS!



Nothing rattles my cage more than throwing perfectly good food way and the average british household are wasting thousands a year doing so! It's times like these that I realise how bloody wasteful I can be so I have started educating myself about freezing and cooking in bulk for our lunches at work. I refuse to waste anymore money on meal deals from the co-op on the way to work, not only are they unhealthy they are burning an unnecessary hole in my pocket!! 
Here are a few meals I bulk cook and take to work/freeze
- Any kind of pasta bake
- Curries 
- Leftover meat from Sunday roast can make millions of different meals, they are the base of at least 2 meals a week in my household. For instance with a roast chicken, I make chicken salad sandwiches for work on the Monday and either a pasta bake or a soup. I usually add beef and pork to stir fries which I make in bulk and eat for work on colder days. 
- Jacket Potatoes! I usually cook like 6 at a time, 2 for dinner and then freeze the other 4 to take to work. You then only need to microwave for 5 minutes to get the same fresh taste you would get from the oven. 

MY TOP TIPS & TRICKS FOR SAVING MONEY WHEN BUYING FOOD


- Buy your meat from MUSCLEFOOD, they have great offers every single day that get sent straight to your inbox and do lots of different bundles that can keep you going for over a month, we spend about £70 and get enough chicken and meat to eat so well for both lunch and dinner. The quality of the meat and poultry is next to none, you will never ever buy your meat from a supermarket again! Get yourself over to http://www.musclefood.com/RA191194 to recieve some free items with your first order!
- Go and buy your fruit and veg from your local market, greengrocer or wholesaler. It's a no brainer really, not only are you helping local business and buying local produce, it's fresher and you can get at least 3 times more for your money than you would from your supermarket. I also find that fresh, local produce I buy from the market stays fresh for a lot longer than when I buy from the supermarket. It's SO important to support your local business and with these points made there's absolutely NO reason why you wouldn't.
- Stock up on everyday ingredients on payday. I'm talking about your tins of tuna, tomatoes and sweetcorn, herbs & spices and pastas/sundries. This way throughout the month you can do your short shelf life's on a weekly basis and when it nears the dreaded week before payday you will have staples in that can create a meal out of what seems like nothing!


This post is only scratching the surface with what you can achieve even on a very basic budget. I have been using Pinterest to find recipes and inspiration the last week or so, and it has really helped. I am confident you will find something for even the pickiest tastes. Pinterest is so underrated and it really has a wealth of excellent ways to budget and get through January so check it out and make sure you're following me for lots & lots of ways to budget - www.pinterest.com/allthatbekka










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