Warm bellies on a budget

Some simple changes can make cooking meals easier this winter.

The days are getting shorter, mornings are chillier, and we’re bundled up in coats and scarves, enjoying hearty meals to stay warm. Winter has arrived!

With the colder weather, we tend to crave heavier, more substantial meals that help keep us warm. However, these meals often come with a higher grocery bill. Unlike the light and fresh dishes of summer, winter meals require more substantial ingredients and detailed planning, which can drive up costs.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Instead of constantly spending money on groceries, you can take up the challenge to save money and make the most of your grocery shopping by following these simple savings tips.

Cook once, eat twice

A great way to save on food expenses this winter is by cooking a large dish and dividing it into portions to last for at least two days. Dishes like beef and potato layered casserole or roasted vegetable lasagne are perfect examples of meals that can stretch over multiple nights.

Freeze your leftovers

Winter meals are perfect for freezing. If you have leftovers from dinner, store the extra portions in freezer bags instead of tossing them out. By the end of the week, you’ll find you have another dinner ready to reheat and enjoy without any extra effort!

Embrace batch cooking

With shorter days and longer nights, the winter chill sets in early. Use your winter weekends for batch cooking, where you can prepare weeks’ worth of dinners using your oven or slow cooker. Think about making delicious slow-cooked sweet potato and pumpkin soup or a creamy vegetable and rice bake. Once cooked and cooled, transfer these meals to freezer bags and store them until needed. Not only will you have dinners prepared for weeks, but you’ll also stay warm in your cosy kitchen.

Make hot drinks at home

Winter often means longer lines at cafes, so save yourself some money and the hassle of standing in the cold by making your hot drinks at home. Invest in a reusable coffee cup and brew your drinks before heading out. This way, you can stay warm and enjoy your favourite beverages on the go.

Prepare your own snacks

We all tend to snack more in colder weather since our bodies crave extra energy to stay warm. However, buying snacks can get expensive. Instead, dedicate one weekend a month to baking muffins and slices, using leftover fruits and vegetables in your recipes. Once baked, wrap them in baking paper and store them in plastic containers in the freezer. You’ll have a ready supply of tasty snacks whenever you need them.