Simple ways to save time and money
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Some simple ways to save time and money

Many of us are doing all sorts of things to save a few dollars including cooking from scratch and eating more veg. But there’s also one other thing we’re often short of and that’s ‘time’ – time to go shopping, time to think up something tasty and nutritious and time to cook a delish dish for your whānau.

More New Zealanders are cooking from scratch and planning meals in advance

There are two simple things to help you get on top of saving time and money.

1. Make sure you have a well-stocked pantry of tinned foods and long-lasting staples

2. Make the most of frozen veg which can hang out in your freezer for weeks, if not months.

Pantry essentials

  • Beans including black beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans and chickpeas (sometimes called garbanzo beans). Baked beans on toast come ready made or you can make your own and add all the flavours and spices you love
  • Canned fish like tuna, salmon and even sardines. Packed with good oils, protein, and calcium – they are one of nature’s most versatile foods
  • Lentils are super affordable, and you can make delicious curries or add them to soups and stews for extra goodness and to make up for using less meat. They are also full of fiber, and they are high in protein, iron, and magnesium (which incidentally can help with sleep!)
  • Canned veggies like corn, carrots, green beans, peas, asparagus (who doesn’t love an asparagus roll)
  • White rice, jasmine, wild, basmati, and arborio rice (for dishes like risotto) last for ages. Brown rice has more fiber, but it doesn’t last quite as long as rice
  • Oats for baking, breakfast, topping a fruit crumble for pudding
  • Flour, sugar (white and brown), baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper and your favourite herbs and spices
  • And don’t forget dried veggies, chicken, or beef stock. There are so many on the market these days and they add instant flavour to soups, sauces and gravies and slow-cooked dishes like stews and casseroles. There are also vegan versions which mean you can cater to everyone
  • A good cooking oil like rice bran, canola or safflower or olive oil if you can afford it

Frozen foods

They’re often cheaper than fresh these days and most are picked and packed within hours. We recommend you look out for specials in the freezer at your local supermarket or grocer and keep a good supply of frozen peas, cauliflower, carrots, corn, beans, and spinach on hand. It may pay to check out your local Asian grocer too for special things to add texture to soups and stir-fries like water-chestnuts, lotus root and mushrooms.

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