A little bit of frugality is recommended in these times…
Whether celebrities or neighborhood aunties, everyone seems to be using this down time to show off their culinary skills. Much of it may be for Instagram purposes but fact is, with a 21-day lockdown staring us in the face, the time may have come to tighten our belts. Like Sutapa Sikdar, wife of actor Irrfan Khan, shared recently, “Food rationing...I know it's boring… I love food so it makes me happy. But I think we need to be stringent with cooking now. Less consumed, less supplies needed. Let's get rid of three course, four course meals. Coming from a Bengali, it should mean a lot,” she quipped. “Let's hope for the best but get prepared for the worst,” Sikdar advised, adding, “Let the privileged leave some stuff in the market for the not so privileged.”
Fact is, adopting simpler cooking and eating habits can help us get through the financial squeeze as well. It is entirely possible to cook delicious, nourishing food with low-cost ingredients. Budget-conscious eating is the need of the hour and it really isn’t very hard at all. Here’s how you can go about it…
Start by figuring out your meals for the next seven days. Cooking double will be easier and cheaper. Plan your meals around items that may be on sale, what you already have at home and what you will be buying for other dishes. Of course, you could also go with the staple dal, rice, and a sautéed veggie on the side.
Cut down on meat and dairy
If you’re looking to reduce your food spends, consider cutting down on meat and milk products. These are more expensive than other types of protein, besides consuming more natural resources. Instead opt for more vegetarian foods, that are still high in protein such as beans, lentils, tofu, eggs, and nuts (which come on sale).
Avoid recipes that call for expensive ingredients like cream and cheese. Improve the flavour of your food by adding aromatics such as spices and herbs like garlic and cumin. These flavour boosters cause minimal damage to your budget.
Try and devise ways to make your meal using just five ingredients or less, depending on what you already have at home in your fridge or pantry. Try to avoid buying more groceries for as long as possible.
Soup it up
A simple soup is a great way to incorporate a variety of vegetables, meats, beans, lentils and other ingredients without burning a hole in your pocket. Soups make for a hearty, nourishing and filling meal. Add some bread on the side or noodles for a carb boost.
Less is good
This could be the right time to learn a thing or two about portion control. Many of us are guilty of eating way more than we need. Dividing up your food will make it last for more meals. When hungry in between meals munch on nutritious fillers like apples or peanuts.