All this talk of real food, of butchers, fishmongers and top quality restaurants can seem like a world away from the grim reality of trying to feed a family on a budget. Feeding a growing family is never easy. Feeding a growing family in the current economic climate is particularly difficult. I don’t underestimate the issues and problems that we all face when it comes to what we can afford to eat.
I’ve been impressed by a woman called Jack Monroe – you may have heard of her. She started a blog back in 2010 which soon turned into a weekly story of how she fed herself and her young son on £10 per week. Since then, her fortunes have turned for the better. She writes a column for The Guardian, appears on TV and is patron of a number of charitable causes, including foodbanks. Yet despite her new found fame, she continues to offer affordable recipes on her website (www.agirlcalledjack.com). She’s a fairly inspirational lass who speaks her mind, which is no bad thing. She also costs out each meal and tells you, roughly, how much each portion costs. She’s been there and got the t-shirt. She writes from her own experience and produces meals that anyone can put together.
I know that whenever we plan the meals for the week ahead, we always save money on our food budget. Often, that’s not possible when a particular week gets busy. But we try and budget most weeks, planning our evening meal each day and trying not to waste food by having a few meals that can use up all the leftovers from the days before. It is amazing what you can achieve with a little imagination.
Processed foods will end up costing you money and certainly won’t be as healthy as food that you make yourself. But they are an easy option when money is tight and when you’re not feeling too positive about things. It will take courage and a little work to turn things around but Jack Monroe has shown the way forward – a cost effective, healthy diet which won’t break the bank.