Thursday, 26 September 2013

The hidden costs of food preparation.

A thought just occurred to me while making my lunch. If your ingredients aren't healthy in the first place, no amount of fafffing about in the kitchen is going to give you a healthy meal. All it does is make more pots to wash, and use more gas or electricity.

I have faffed a little, making a silly face with my salad :o)  Ingredients, salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, grated carrot, coleslaw, and raw mushrooms. Served with a slice of bread and cheese. A big plateful of healthy food and no cooking.
 
The last of the reduced strawberries, with plain yogurt. By the way, did you know that the basic plain yogurt is 10p more in Aldi than in Tesco. 55p / 45p.

 
The moral of this story is, making meals with just a plate and a knife cuts down on washing up, saves time in the kitchen, money on heating water and uses less wash up liquid. The non cooking method also reduces your utility bills, saves money on gas and electricity. Also raw food is good for you.
Think about the cost of fuel when you meal plan, think about how long you need to cook some foods for. Boiling food for an hour is something I never do. Using the oven is something I never do. If I make a stew from fresh ingredients I chop the veggies small so it doesn't take very long to cook on a gas ring. It's all very well making a cheap meal but if it needs to be baked, stewed, braised, or roasted, then it might not work out so cheap. Unless of course you are batch cooking and can spread the cost over a weeks worth of meals.
The only thing I make large portions of are soups and stews, and that's only when I have a glut of veggies, maybe bought a pile at a silly reduced price from Tesco, too good a bargain to pass by. If I make a three day stew, more often than not I eat it that same day, and for the next two days. Sometimes I stretch it to four days by adding a tin of beans or tomatoes. I save money by freezing and microwaving the extra portions.
So, put a smile on your face and plan your no cooking meals. To cut down on cost, steam veg rather than boil. Grill rather than bake or roast. Use your microwave or slow cooker rather than your gas or electric cooker. A few pennies saved per meal might not sound very much, but added up over a year it is quite substantial.
Toodle pip.

20 comments:

  1. Well said, Ilona!

    GREAT BLOG GREAT POST:-)

    X

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  2. Hello Ilona from Housefairy.
    Your funny face dinner made me smile and the orange of the carrots made me think of a pumpkin face for Halloween.
    Today for our dinner we are having an all in one pot of pork casserole and vegetables cooked in the slow cooker.

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  3. Dont get me ranting about TV chefs and their so called budget meals, Jamie Oliver had me ranting at the box over his 9 hours to cook pork

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    1. Good grief, I'd need a mortgage to keep the oven on that long :o(

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  4. This isn't a healthy ""meal"" It isn't a complete meal.

    Healthy as a side dish yes. But where is your protein? Or carbohydrate?

    If you were to work out the nutrient content in your mea" you would find it's very little. Mostly water on your plate.

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    1. You don't know what I ate for the rest of the day, Barbara. Scrambled eggs and beans on toast for breakfast, potatoes, broccoli, runner beans, sweetcorn, and Quorn burger for dinner. Rice pudding for a snack before bed time.

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    2. Protein in the cheese and yogurt and carbs in the bread and carrots! It's all covered. :)

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    3. Quorn burger..... describe the taste. I'll have to search for them over the pond in Toronto area. Your meal looks delightfully appetizing and for singleton seniors like you and me, who needs more! :)

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    4. Difficult to describe Connie. They look and have the texture similar to chicken, but you add your own sauces and spices, so it can taste like whatever you want it to. You can get pieces to add to stews, sausages, and fillets which can be pan fried.

      Taken from the packet.....Quorn is meat free and made with mycoprotien, a nutritious form of quality protein and fibre.

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    5. http://www.quorn.co.uk/ copy and paste into address bar

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    6. Erm, Quorn has had a bad press lately Ilona, not as healthy as we thought. I'm no good at putting links to stuff to read but I'm sure you could find it. Lots of info out there.

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  5. I met an elderly man in a grocery store today.He told me he is borderline Type 2 Diabetic. He was complaining that all the foods that are good for you taste horrid. NO NO NO!! I spent some time telling him how to healthily tart up his oatmeal...it's a start,I hope he tries.
    Jane x

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    1. Frustrating Jane. All I can say is that if people want to eat stuff that is bad for them they must be prepared for the consequences. My friend was on the way to becoming a diabetic, she opted to drastically change her diet rather than spend a lifetime on tablets. It was a wake up call for her.

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  6. Oh no, when i saw the funny face i thought i'd pressed the mirror app on my smartphone.
    Dave.

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  7. Hi, Ilona ... just a passing thought concerning the microwave. I have one which seldom gets used for much besides popcorn. Lately I've been reading more and more about how foods are actually damaged and thus unhealthy when cooked in the microwave. Any thoughts or comments?

    Sharon in Alabama

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    1. Hi Sharon. I haven't read anything about that, and as microwaves have been around for a long time I just assume they are ok. Millions of people use them, sorry, that's all the comments I can make, I don't know any more about it.

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    2. Hi Sharon, we've had the same concerns here after reading about them. Recent research shows they're detrimental to our health. Ours is now redundant. It just shows how these things are invented and years down the line they're found not to be the wonder we thought they were.

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  8. That would be OK as you live on your own and only have yourself to look after. I have to cook for / feed hubby and whichever sons and girlfriends are here at the time and no way could I give them a meal like that! Hubby won't eat cold food other than bread with his meal and as he works very hard to earn money and to look after the house I think he deserves a decent meal in the evening.
    I definitely agree that the chefs on the telly are ridiculous with the pinch of this and tablespoon of that with no thought given to what is left over, I think experience is the best way of knowing how to cook well and keep to a budget. I fed 5 of us adults the other night making a lasagne (bulking out £3.50 of mince beef with finely chopped onion and carrot) served with a few oven chips and some garlic bread and it worked out at about £1.50 per person including jelly and fruit for afters.

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    Replies
    1. Mmmm, that sounds nice. Can I come round to yours for dinner at some point?

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  9. That is such an appetizing looking salad and the fruit with yogurt - yum! It all looks (and is) very healthy. I sometimes make a large salad for my husband and I but I usually add either grilled chicken or some tuna on top. If I just eat the salad, I am hungry later on and start snacking. The chicken or tuna gives me more protein and therefore I am not hungry later on in the evening.

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