So you’re 1 or 2 weeks into the new 90 Day plan. Some have noticed their grocery bill shoot up. Let’s look at how we can make our money go further and I’ll touch upon some key areas using my previous experience. Oh and the answer ISN’T to eat a little less!
PROTEIN – you’re going need quite a bit of it while you’re on the plan, but are you getting the best price? Chicken and beef mince are my most sought after protein sources. The price can vary from store to store and it’s not at all convenient to traipse around the shops buying individual things from different supermarkets, but you’d be surprised on just how much you can save if you shop around.
Let’s look at chicken breast:-
|Aldi||£5.35 per kg|
|Asda||£5.79 per kg|
|Costco||£5.75 per kg|
|Iceland||£4.00 per kg|
|Lidl||£5.51 per kg|
|Morrisons||£5.94 per kg|
|Musclefood||£5.00 per kg|
|Sainsburys||£6.56 per kg|
|Tesco||£6.16 per kg|
|Waitrose||£7.58 per kg|
Prices correct as of 16th January 2018. Based on fresh chicken and excludes any offers. Musclefood min order 5kgs & delivery charges may apply.
And now for beef mince 5% fat:-
|Aldi||£6.18 per kg|
|Asda||£5.50 per kg|
|Costco||mince too high in fat|
|Iceland||£7.50 per kg|
|Lidl||mince too high in fat|
|Morrisons||£6.00 per kg|
|Musclefood||£7.75 per kg|
|Sainsburys||£7.00 per kg|
|Tesco||£10.00 per kg|
|Waitrose||£7.88 per kg|
Prices correct as of 16th January 2018. Based on fresh beef mince with 5% fat or less (Musclefood) and excludes any offers. As before delivery charges apply for orders from Musclefood. Costco and Lidl were removed from the comparison as their fat percentage per 100g is above the plan specified 5%.
- Every supermarket stocks meat from varying standards of rearing, 100% British, Red Tractor, Organic, Free Range and of course unknown.
- Red Tractor offers a set of standards, click here for more details.
- Also remember to check prices with your local High Street butcher as they are great for offering bulk discounts too!
- When I buy my chicken and mince, I pack it into freezer bags in my correct portion amounts to save time later.
- If you don’t have the freezer room to do this, you can use the chicken/mince container system so as to reduce wastage. Simply have a container handy to refrigerate any chicken or mince that you don’t need for that meal (it is important to weigh and measure your proteins and carbs for set recipes and for pick and mix/make your own, otherwise why are you following a tailored plan?). So the next day you go to cook chicken or mince, simply use what’s in the container first, wash out the container and refill with any extra bits.
- For anyone like me who previously followed older plans you’ll remember there were egg white amounts.
- In a couple of the set recipes there’s a requirement to add egg whites as well as whole eggs. To keep wastage to a minimum it is possible to buy cartons of egg whites either from the supermarket and also from Musclefood.
- Staying on the subject of eggs, remember than you can use multiple sources of protein in a meal, but remember to reduce the amounts accordingly so as not to alter your macros.
- I like to use 50% of my chicken amount and 50% egg in a stir fry for example.
- Also instead of buying chicken mince which can sometimes be expensive as it’s not a popular option, just pop some chicken breast into a food processor to turn it into mince.
- No point in spending more than you need to! Get creative while keeping costs down!
SEAFOOD – if you’re getting a little bored of chicken, turkey or beef, remember to use the swaps page to see what fish alternatives you can have instead! The supermarkets offer some great frozen fish and although it isn’t as pretty as it’s counterpart in the refrigerated section, it can save you lots of money.
|Aldi||Fresh Salmon||£13.18 per kg|
|Asda||Frozen Salmon||£9.17 per kg|
|Asda||Fresh Cod||£13.50 per kg|
|Aldi||Frozen Cod||£5.98 per kg|
|Asda||Fresh Tuna Steaks||£18.18 per kg|
|Aldi||Frozen Tuna Steaks||£7.48 per kg|
Prices correct as of 16th January 2018.
Before we move off the topic of protein, remember that you can use the swaps page if you want to mix it up a little and before you start to look like a chicken!
COOKING FAT – this is simple.
- 3 choices and each are great used in different situations.
- Personally I like to use coconut oil in curries and stir fries, butter in risottos and scrambled eggs, and olive oil for anything and everything else!
- Coconut oil doesn’t have to cost the earth and there are some great options available while still achieving organic extra virgin quality standards so shop around!
VEGETABLES & GREENS – some days it is possible to feel like you’ve swapped jobs with a sous chef with the amount of food prep you’re undertaking.
- Use tinned tomatoes or passata instead of fresh tomatoes in sauces, just avoid any with added herbs, garlic or chilli as these can contain extra oil.
- Cooking courgettes and mushrooms without adding extra oil. Add these to a warm dry pan with a little salt. This will help the natural juices come out.
- Courgetti and broccoli rice are great options for rest day meals, but they are easy to make at home and you’ll save loads of £££. Premade Broccoli rice for example is double the price per kg than a head of broccoli.
- Make use of frozen chopped onions and peppers to cut down on prep time.
- Don’t overlook frozen greens. There are also lots to choose from, just decide if your meal would be better with fresh broccoli for example at only 50p a head or frozen.
HERBS & SPICES – I am guilty of having a pretty busy spice rack, but a few key spices can transform your cooking from meh to WOW!
- A jar of ground cumin and smoked paprika can make a really tasty chilli.
- With a basic mild or medium curry powder you can make all manor of stir fries and curry dishes with the addition of a few extras.
- Dried herbs can also transform a dish. Basil, oregano and thyme are my favourites.
- Don’t be put off buying fresh herbs. I like to finely chop my fresh herbs and freeze what I don’t use. So the next time I have a curry or a chilli, I have some coriander in the freezer I can add to my dish just before the end of the cooking time.
- Garlic can be a pain to prep and there are many alternatives, just stay away from anything with added oil.
BATCH COOKING – Like many I do have some freezer space so I take full advantage of batch cooking but not everyone has lots of spare freezer room or enough fridge capacity to store a weeks worth of prepared meals.
- Try cooking 3 portions of a meal. Simply triple the ingredient amounts and then divide the meal into 3 equal amounts before you refrigerate.
- If you do this a few times a week you’ll cut down on your meal prep time.
- We only have 21 meals a week individually, so doing this a few times will make a difference.
COOKING FOR A PARTNER ON THE PLAN
- If you and your other half have your own tailored plans, you will need to cook your meals in separate pans to ensure you’re both getting the right amount of food, but if you follow my last tip about cooking 3 portions of a meal, this will help with your meal prep times.
COOKING FOR THE FAMILY WHILE ON THE PLAN – You’re going to be cooking meals using fresh ingredients, so there’s no need to feel segregated from your family.
- Use pick and mix or create your own ingredients to make a lean version of a family favourite (I have many recipes to help you in this area).
- Decide how you want to supplement the family’s meal with rice, pasta and potatoes while you enjoy your plan friendly plate of food.
- If you can make healthy versions of recipes you enjoy as a family, everyone will benefit.
MEAL PLANNING – This really is key to your success.
- Decide what meals and snack you want for the week.
- Don’t be overly consumed with batch cooking a weeks worth of anything as you fridge space may be a problem.
- Try and have a few plan friendly options in the freezer for days when you’re short on time and enthusiasm.
- Friday and Saturday nights can be tricky especially if you’re used to getting a takeaway. Plan a tasty fakeaway meal instead so that you don’t fall off that wagon. I have devised many ways to have a pizza without resorting to ordering in and I’ve made lots of lean fakeaway curries too.
Check out my instagram page for more tips and meal ideas, just search for @theleancook