Galaxy has worked in commercial catering for over 30 years and is a committed vegetarian. She is also a qualified nutritionist.
Three Meals a Day For One Pound a Day
Sounds unbelievable but two people can eat three good meals a day and spend under fourteen pounds. I know exactly how it feels to be poor, to not know how I am going to eat myself, let alone feed my family. When our children were young my husband lost his job, within a very short space of time our savings ran out. We quickly became adept at making meals out of pretty much nothing. I became the queen of frugal living, the princess of making do.
Thankfully, times are much better for us now but I still don't like to spend too much, old habits die hard I guess. Anyway, I set myself a challenge to see if the two of us could eat three meals a day and spend just fourteen pounds in total. For us, it was an experiment but I know that for far too many people it is sadly a way of life so maybe this article will be of some help.
The meals don't include meat simply because both my husband and myself are vegetarians, I will admit not having to buy meat saves quite a bit of money right from the start. If you are happy to buy eggs from caged hens I estimate you would have an extra sixty/seventy pence to spend.
If you do want meat in your diet for some of the meals then go for cheap things like mince, sausages or burgers. I suggest buying less, cheaper caged eggs and cutting down slightly on the amount of veg to save some money for meat.
I have made the assumption everyone will have salt, pepper and maybe some herbs and spices to add to their meals.
Shopping List for the Week
loaf of bread
pot natural yoghurt
jar curry sauce
jar pasta sauce
tin mixed chilli beans
packet feta cheese
tub soft cheese
4 large potatoes
2 large bananas
2 cooking apples
This type of ultra frugal living takes planning and some good old common sense. One of the first things to remember is to use food with a limited life first. If you have been lucky enough to buy any reduced fruit and veg then obviously that will need to be eaten before things with a longer use-by date. Similarly, any opened jars or packets will also need to be used within the date stated on the packaging. We want to eat cheaply but not at the expense of our health. Somewhat worryingly, the bread was dated for a week! It still looked and tasted fresh at the end of the experiment.
Breakfast for Seven Days
For breakfast, I made porridge for two days topped with sliced banana and yoghurt, very tasty, filling and good for you, I added some cinnamon because I had a jar in the store cupboard.
One day I made a boiled egg with toasted soldiers.
I peeled, cut and stewed the cooking apples and added it to yoghurt topped with some toasted oats, just put a handful of the oats into a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat and toast them until they start to turn colour. This makes them a lot more digestible and much tastier.
One morning I sliced up a couple of mushrooms, sauteed them and then served them on toast spread with a little of the cream cheese.
Scrambled egg on toast and poached egg with sauteed spring greens on toast completed the seven day's worth of breakfast. I shredded the greens and cooked them with a little yoghurt and a spoonful of cream cheese.
Lunch Dishes for Seven Days
I made a vegetarian chilli using the tin of mixed beans, they already contained chilli sauce so I only needed to add some sliced onion, one sliced mushroom and diced peppers to make a substantial meal, you can add a slice of bread if you are feeling hungry.
I made stuffed pepper using one green half and one red half so that I still had a mixture of pepper to use in other meals. Stuff the pepper with cooked rice and a little curry sauce, I served this with fried greens and shredded carrot.
The jacket potato is stuffed with feta cheese mixed with some finely diced raw onion, pepper and yoghurt to make it nice and creamy, I made the dressing with yoghurt, diced cucumber and some mint from my garden. I served this dish with a side salad and a few carrot sticks.
The spaghetti is served with a sauced made by frying a couple of mushrooms and some diced onion and then stirring in a little yoghurt and cream cheese. I topped it with some steamed shredded greens.
I roasted some of the unpeeled parsnips in the oven to really bring out their sweet flavour then pureed them and added them to some curry sauce and water. I made some croutons using a slice of bread and crisped up some greens in a dry pan to sprinkle over the top.
The vegetable stew is just an assortment of the veggies with some oats added to bulk it out, cut the veg into chunks and cook them in seasoned water.
The minestrone-style soup is made using the same mix of vegetables, adding some pasta sauce and some broken pieces of spaghetti pasta.
Please take the time to offer some feedback.
Dinner Meals for Seven Days
I made an omelet using three eggs and some sliced vegetables, I served this with a side salad.
The pasta dish is served with courgette, cherry tomatoes, onion and some of the pasta sauce.
The flatbread pizza is super quick and easy to make and cook. Just make sure the veggies are sliced really thin so that they cook quickly. Spread a little pasta sauce on the flatbread and then top with whatever vegetable you fancy or have left and some crumbled feta cheese. Cook on a baking sheet in a moderate oven for 8-10 minutes. Keep your eye on them as they can burn!
The baked stuffed courgette is made by pre-cooking the courgette, slicing them in half and scooping out the seeds. Add the insides to some cooked rice and a little finely diced pepper, put this mixture back into the courgette shells and top with a small amount of feta cheese. Bake in the oven for a further ten minutes and serve with a side salad, add a little more feta cheese if you can spare it.
To make the souffle jacket potatoes, first cook the potatoes, this can be done in the microwave to save time, let them cool a little then cut them in half and scoop out the inside leaving a thin shell. Mix together with some of the leftover cheese and any bits of veg and beat the last egg into the mixture. Spoon this into the courgette shells and then put this back in the oven for ten minutes. I served them with some steamed greens and carrots.
For the vegetable curry, I finished off the jar of curry sauce and added some chopped up veg. I served this on a bed of boiled rice.
I stir-fried all of the leftover vegetables and the little bit of pasta sauce and the last of the yoghurt to make wraps. As this was the very last meal I made during this experiment I was really pleased with how well they worked out.
After the week I came to the conclusion that you can live VERY cheaply if you really have to. It does take time and effort and some serious planning. You need to be flexible about what you eat. Look out for reduced items, two for one offers and cutting coupons is always a great idea. Keep a close eye on your perishable food and don't throw anything away.
Please Take the Time to Answer the Question Below, Thanks.
© 2018 Galaxy Harvey
Galaxy Harvey (author) from United Kingdom on September 25, 2018:
Thanks so much, Cecil Kenmill. I really hope that my article helps some people to see that we don't need to spend a huge amount of money to eat well and that it makes sense not to waste food.
Cecil Kenmill from Osaka, Japan on September 24, 2018:
Great suggestions and beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing!