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Mum feeds her family for $26 a week with cheap and healthy meal prep tips

A thrifty mum has revealed her smart tricks for feeding her family for $30 (GBP £16.50) a week – with some meals working out at just $1.34 (GBP 74p) a person per meal.

Savvy Jeni Dearing, 44, from Bromley, London, said she spends $180 (GBP £99) on food every six week for herself, husband Kevin, and eight-year-old son Ronnie.

Jeni started batch cooking after she gave birth to her son as she didn’t have free time to go food shopping in the evenings.

Now she aims to prepare “healthy, low-calorie meals” packed full out with discounted vegetables and tinned beans to keep costs down.

Jeni revealed to the Mirror: “Batch cooking also means we’re not as tempted to have a takeaway because there’s always a few curries ready and waiting in the freezer – meaning we save more that way, too.

“I’m not one to plan meals weeks in advance, I just buy whatever veg is on offer and great value, then base meals around the veg and grab the meat from the freezer to go with them.

“For example, if I picked up lots of cheap peppers, courgettes and aubergines from the market, I’ll couple them with chicken breasts or pork from the freezer to make a rogan josh, stir fried pork or Spanish chicken.”

She said her trick to making meals such as Bolognese and chilli con carne go further is packing them out with reduced vegetables like onion, celery, carrots and peppers.

Not only does adding veggies help to keep costs down, but it also makes dishes healthier.

The savvy mum said: “I used lean beef mince to cook a big batch of Bolognese which I then portioned up with pasta and popped in the freezer.

“Each portion worked out at about 250kcals, so it’s a balanced and easy option to pull out for a quick lunch throughout the day.”

And Jeni also likes to add tinned beans such as chick peas and butter beans to stews and curries to make dishes more filling and to absorb the flavour of the meat.

She added: “It’s always worth buying lower fat, quality meat as it means you’re not wasting money draining off fat to throw away.”

Jeni said one of her favourite things to do is to add chicken to the slow cooker to create multiple portions of shredded chicken to go with lots of dishes.

Her favourite meals to batch cook are chicken and sweetcorn noodle soup, bacon and onion pasties, and toad in the hole, which work out around £1.41 per meal.

She also recently made a roast chicken dinner for 10 people at 74p a head.

Jeni said she is lucky her son isn’t a fussy eater – although he does love steak night which they tend to avoid due to the cost.

She buys a box of meat from musclefood every six weeks, but tops up any essentials at budget supermarkets and local fruit and veg markets.

The mum also pointed out it is worth checking out supermarket’s “yellow aisles”, which include their discounted products with yellow stickers. Recently, Jeni revealed she managed to pick up some sausage meat for just 50p which she used for a roast dinner.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and is republished here with permission.

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