In this interview we spoke to mum of two Kimberley Saunders about cooking healthy food for a family of four living on a tight budget. Is it hard to cook good quality meals for our children when you are on a budget? No, not really because it depends on how well you know the basics of cooking and nutrition. A lot of that's been lost as they didn't teach it in schools in our generation and there are people who think you have to buy things that are cheap on the price label without realising that it's not healthy or that it's actually more expensive than it lookss. Does cheap meals mean burger and chips? No it doesn't. You can buy a bag of chips for about a pound and that will only do one or two meals for a family of four, but you still have to have the burgers and there's a lot of fat in that food. What are the alternatives? You could still have a meal of hamburger and chips but adapt it. There could be a lean turkey mince homemade meat patty, put under the grill and serve with green beans and sweetcorn. For a family of four that'd be around ￡2.50. I'm not saying that chips aren't fine for the occasional treat. The green beans you could get fresh, tinned or frozen so it's available to anyone regardless of budget. What about kids that are picky? I do understand that some people say their kids won't eat some things. It takes a bit of fortitude and patience to get a child to eat healthily. One of the things that kept me going was saying that there are children in Africa who've never seen a chip in their life. If a child is hungry they're going to eat it. What tips would you give parents? Start small, start healthy versions of their favourite food. Chicken nuggets for example. We got chicken breasts and made our own. We did roasted potatoes instead of chips. Fish fingers we turned into tuna patties. It's a bit of tuna fish mixed with a bit of egg, put breadcrumbs over the top and cook. What about mothers who are pressed for time? The tuna patties are as simple as opening the tin and popping under the grill. I know a lot of mothers are pressed for time. Why not invest in a slow cooker. You can do roasts, soups, casseroles. You can even do puddings in it. Should we shop in the supermarkets or smaller shops? Look at what you're getting and what you have available in your area. If you have a good market by you it's cheaper to go to the market to get your vegetables. If you've got a good local butcher get to know him. If you have some garden space grow your own vegetables. It's important that children know where their food comes from. I know my children wouldn't touch tomatoes until we grew cherry tomatoes in our own garden. What basics should we have in the cupboard to try and save money? A good stock cupboard would include tuna, tinned fruit and vegetables with no salt added. I would recommend always having eggs on hand - another quick meal. What other tips do you have? A big portion of our budget goes on food. I write meal plans so I know what I am going to cook. I'd go to the supermarket and not even look at the offers. You really can feed a family on a very small budget.
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