The chances are you have a couple of signature dishes you can rustle up easily, but cooking for yourself every single night? That’s a whole different ball game. Here are eight tips to make sure you’re eating well every day without breaking the bank.
1. Cook with friends. Solo cooking every night is hard work, so double up and share your food with your friends. They’ll return the favour another night so you don’t have to cook every day.
2. Eat vegetarian. Veggie food is really good for you if done well, with lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and will slash your food bills, so try it a few nights a week. Pack in the protein with beans, lentils and eggs.
3. Stock up on staples. Have lots of basic dried or tinned food in your cupboard so you never go hungry. Make sure you’ve got onions, pasta, tinned tomatoes, tinned beans, tinned fish if you like it, and plenty of lentils. Once you have the staples sorted, the rest is easy.
4. Get a decent knife. You’re more likely to cut yourself on a blunt knife that slips, and cooking is more fun with the right implements. Buy your own if you have to.
5. Cook one-pot meals. Who wants to spend the rest of the evening washing up? You can rustle up delicious meals all in one pot, and if you share it with friends you might even persuade them to wash it afterwards! Try hearty minestrone, one pot rice and veg or stew with meat and potatoes.
6. Get to know your supermarket. Find out when the cheap deals are on display (usually before closing) and try the value ranges – they’re mostly really good.
7. Be bold. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Once you’ve tried a dish once, tweak it a bit and see what happens. And play around with recipes you’ve found online.
8. Spice up your life. Herbs and spices can transform the most basic dish without adding much to the cost. Grow your own herbs on a windowsill or use dried ones.