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With household costs continuing to rise, we are all looking for ways to make our money go further. But eating on a budget doesn’t have to mean compromising our personal ethics.
As a nation of animal lovers, many of us are concerned about the welfare of the farm animals that produce our meat, fish, eggs and dairy. And while in the past we might, without a second thought, have traded up from low-welfare, factory-farmed products like eggs from caged hens, or imported meat from animals raised in poor conditions, those extra pennies might now be giving us reason to think twice. It’s no secret that higher welfare products tend to be more expensive because, of course, providing animals with a spacious and comfortable environment, quality food and care costs money.
So what can we do when budgets are tight but our moral compass tells us not to engage in cruelty and exploitation? If switching to a plant-based diet is not on the cards for you, you can instead shop and cook smarter when it comes to meat, fish, eggs and dairy.
Protein is a vital part of a healthy and balanced diet, but there are many places to get protein from, not just meat and fish. Get creative - remember that as well as pre-made products like veggie sausages; eggs, cheese, nuts and beans are also great sources of protein, so you don’t need to rely on meat or expensive alternatives all the time.
We all know to look for special offers when shopping, but did you know that bigger packs are almost always cheaper per kilogram than smaller packs? When shopping online or in-store, the price per kilogram is usually on the label, so be sure to keep an eye out for this.
If you have the space to store it, try to pick up larger pack sizes of store-cupboard items like rice, pasta and dried beans. Even bigger packs of fresh vegetables and meat are usually cheaper than smaller ones so are worth picking up if they can be portioned and frozen.
You can also reduce food waste, and save time and energy by batch cooking and freezing the leftovers for future use - no one wants to eat lasagne for 5 days in a row!