Rising food costs and an economic squeeze have left many of us facing compromises in our weekly grocery shop. No one wants to cut back on good grub so the best way to pinch pennies is by making simple swaps with everyday items. Substituting key foods may take some getting used to, but once you tot up the dramatic improvement to your shopping bill over the course of the year, it’ll be much easier to stomach. We’ve put together 10 simple swaps that, when followed weekly, can save you over £500 in an annual food spend.
Swap 1: 4 chicken breasts for a whole chicken
Swap 2: 2 x ready-made pizza bases for packet bread mix
Packets of bread mix make brilliant pizza bases, plus they last for ages in the cupboard – so a tasty pizza is never far away. Just make up following pack instructions, roll out, top and bake straight away. There’s no need to rise or prove the dough.
Try it in: Tricolore pizza with basil oil
Swap 3: 750ml smoothie carton for a bag of frozen berries
Try it in: Breakfast smoothie
Swap 4: 6 large eggs for 6 medium eggs
Unless you’re baking a cake, the size of eggs doesn’t make much difference, apart from on your shopping bill!
Try it in: Dippy eggs with Marmite soldiers
Swap 5: 500g granola for 500g porridge oats
Try it in: Good-for-you granola
Swap 6: 1 litre olive oil for 1 litre vegetable oil
Olive oil tastes lovely in salad dressings but, for frying and browning, not many people will spot the difference if you use vegetable or sunflower.
Try it in: Roast potatoes
Swap 7: 500g basmati rice for 500g couscous
Try it in: Spiced herb and almond couscous
Swap 8: Jar of tomato sauce for 2 cans tomatoes
Stop buying jars of ready-made tomato sauces for pasta, pizzas and stews. Canned tomatoes are cheap, and turning them into a homemade sauce takes only minutes and a few more cheap ingredients. It will freeze well too.
Try it in: Tomato and basil sauce
Swap 9: 3 x 300g packs fresh cauliflower, broccoli and carrot for 1kg bag frozen veg
You can now get such a variety of vegetables frozen that they can make a great alternative to fresh. As they’re usually frozen very quickly after picking, not many of the nutrients are lost along the way.
Try it in: Broccoli and cauliflower cheese
Swap 10: 1kg bag potatoes for 500g bag pearl barley
Pearl barley is filling, nutritious and really versatile, as it absorbs other flavours so well, making it a nice accompaniment to stews. It also expands like you wouldn’t believe, so a small bag will do a few meals.
Try it in: Hearty lamb and barley stew
Share your top tips for thrifty cooking below…