Food & Drink Posts

3 things cash-strapped dieters can do if they give up alcohol in 2018

New Year’s Eve is often the perfect time to pop open a bottle of bubbly and celebrate. This, however, shouldn’t be a case of starting as you mean to go on. After all, there are many benefits to giving up alcohol – not least the fact that it can massively help your financial situation in the process. With this in mind, here are three ways that cash-strapped dieters can benefit from giving up alcohol in 2018.

You should find that your finances are looking much healthier once you’ve managed to dodge the alcohol aisle in the supermarket. The trick is to make sure that you divert the funds elsewhere – primarily on to the healthy foods that can sometimes be a little costly. Fruit and vegetables can be pricey, but they’ll rarely equal the cost of the bottle of wine that you’ve left on the shelf.

Ride the wave

January is the best time of year to put down the booze. This is because many people temporarily give up when they take part in ‘Dry January’. Ultimately, you shouldn’t feel like you’re missing out on drinking with your friends and family – and in turn, you can suggest non-alcohol-related activities such as winter walks that will help you shed the pounds and save the pennies! Hopefully, such cheap activities will remain popular in your social circle as the year progresses.

Use your energy

Alcohol will generally hit your immune system hard, making you susceptible to numerous illnesses. It can also leave you feeling tired and fuzzy-headed. On the other hand, you’ll feel the best version of yourself when you’re free from booze. This should mean you’re feeling more energetic and can partake in more exercise. For instance, when you’re free from hangovers you can start routinely exercising in the mornings with a jog or run. The more physical activity you are able to take part in throughout the day should reduce the need to fork out for a gym membership to encourage you to go at certain times.

No regrets!

There are numerous ways that your health and fitness will benefit, even by just reducing your alcohol consumption. It’s just one reason why cash-strapped dieters won’t regret their decision to give up booze in 2018. For more information on getting fit without breaking the bank, visit Collect Britain.

How to host a healthy family dinner without breaking the bank

Christmas dinner can be expensive enough when you’re just cooking for a family of four, but when the entire extended clan descends upon you for Boxing Day lunch and you’re expected to feed 12 people on a shoestring, things get even trickier. Luckily, with some advance planning, it is possible to feed every aunt, uncle and cousin without resorting to sodium-stuffed ready meals. Here are our top tips for feeding your family healthy home-cooked meals this Christmas.

Ask everyone to bring a dish

The concept of the ‘pot-luck’ gathering is much more popular over in the US, but it’s a great way to take the pressure off hosting. Ask everyone to bring a dish – leave it up to them to decide what they bring – and delight in the surprise of your unique lunch spread on the day. It’s a fun way to include everybody and get everyone sharing their best recipes, and it spreads out the cost of the meal fairly. You should also get enough variety on the table to suit all diets: low cal, gluten-free, veggie, you name it.

Make plans for leftovers

When’s the last time you fed more than six people and didn’t have food left over at the end of the meal? It’s always better to make too much food than risk letting your guests go hungry, but make sure you’ve got some healthy meal plans at the ready to ensure Aunt Marge’s leftover parsnip mash doesn’t go to waste. Quiches, omelettes, pasta sauces and risottos are all great, nutritious ways to use up bits and pieces that you don’t have bigger plans for.

Lots of vegetables

If in doubt, the answer is always ‘lots of vegetables’. Did you know around half of your plate should be filled with vegetables, and only a quarter each with meat and starchy carbs? Sticking to these portion sizes will not only ensure your family get plenty of minerals on their plates this year, but will also keep your food bills down, too; just try comparing the cost of carrots per kilogram to turkey breast and you’ll be munching down your greens in no time.

4 top budget tips when cooking Christmas dinner

There’s no need to compromise on flavour, quality or abundance this Christmas, even if you’re on a budget. Just follow these simple tips for a budget-friendly healthy Christmas dinner.

Make your own canapés

Shop bought canapés can be over-expensive, and whilst they may save you time, making your own can save you a significant amount of money. Not only that, pre-packaged foods tend to be more unhealthy, and considering we constantly overindulge during the Christmas period, there is no harm in trying to improve our diets a little!

Canapé making can be a family activity and children will love to help. Try wrapping sausages in bacon or add delicious toppings to crostini. Using bread or pastry-based products should help with keeping the cost down.

Be flexible when buying your bird

When it comes to choosing your Christmas turkey, if you consider yourself disciplined and thrifty when using up delicious leftovers, then you could make your turkey stretch to many other meals during the week. You will find it costs less per kilo to buy a bigger bird. Or, if you don’t like using leftovers, save money and get great value by choosing a smaller bird. The most important thing is that you buy the right bird for your family size.

Make your own gravy

If you’ve been tempted to purchase shop bought fresh turkey gravy, then why not try and save a few pounds by making your own? The roasting juice and giblets provide all the flavour you need, and all you have to add is a chicken stock cube, a spoon of flour, and a splash of wine – if you can spare some from the Christmas meal!

4. Shop around

While this may seem a obvious, during the hectic nature of Christmas we can often forget to shop around. Lots of supermarkets and smaller shops offer wonderful discounts during the festive season, and you’ll be able to view most of them online to compare and find the best price and value. You’ll often find one place might be offering a bargain price for vegetables and another has the best value meat. If you have the time to shop around, you can save a pretty penny.

For more ideas on saving money this Christmas, check out the Voucherism blog today.

Clean eating on a tight budget

So, you’ve resolved to try to eat cleanly – great. Now what? The clean eating movement involves eating whole foods like fruits and vegetables and minimising the consumption of processed food. Clean eating has many health benefits, such as reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, increased energy, improved sleep and weight loss. However, with many convenience foods being cheaper, it may take some planning to stick to your new lifestyle on a budget. Here are four tips to help you along on your wallet-friendly clean eating journey.

Go organic only when necessary

There are some fruits and veg, known as ‘the dirty dozen’, that are particularly vulnerable to pesticide residue and may warrant the extra expense for organic. These include strawberries, grapes and apples. Conversely, if you’re shopping for avocados, corn, onions, cabbage or mushrooms, for example, don’t sweat it if you can’t afford to go organic.

Buy and cook in bulk (and save your leftovers!)

One of the most cost-effective ways to avoid turning to takeaways is to plan your meals in advance, create them in large batches, and then save them for later when you don’t have the time or energy to cook. If planning your entire week seems too overwhelming, you can start with planning your meals on the days when you know you’re most pressed for time. Curries and bean-based dishes freeze well, so stock up on airtight freezer containers and get cooking.

Buy in-season fruit and veg

It makes sense to buy fruit and veg that is in season, not only for optimal taste and nutrition but also because prices drop due to increased availability. Plus, your food-mile conscience will be clear!

Use meat creatively

Try to make organic cuts of meat last longer by padding out meals with legumes and pulses. Experiment with different cuts of white/dark meat and cook them using inexpensive herbs and spices – like ginger and paprika – to add variety.

Clean eating doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can reap the benefits by making small adjustments to the way you shop and cook, so you can get healthier while watching the pennies.

Simple self-care techniques you can do this winter

Feeling like you’re not looking after your mind and body this winter and missing out on precious ‘you’ time? Preparations for the big season seem to come earlier every year, and when rushing around trying to make sure friends and family enjoy the holidays, it often means the focus is taken off you completely. Maybe you feel like you don’t have time for any wellness activities or you think ‘self-care’ has to accompany a hefty price tag. Don’t worry, this is not always the case! Here are three simple and purse-friendly tips to help you look after the star of the season, you!

Create time to relax

What does relaxation mean to you? Is it relaxing in a bubble bath, reading a book or going for a scenic walk? Sometimes life can feel so hectic you have to carve out space in your day to pamper yourself. Pro-actively thinking about what makes you calm and planning to put some time aside in the day for it can make a difference to your inner emotional state. We can’t completely avoid all stresses in our lives but we can organise the time where we can focus our energy on relaxing pursuits.

Enjoy a hearty laugh

Love to laugh? Who doesn’t? A good belly laugh session can work wonders for your mood and outlook and humour can be found in many parts of life. Whilst it would be fun to attend a comedy night, there are easier ways to get that rush of endorphins. Think of your favourite comedian and find some clips on YouTube for free, maybe you’ll even find some comedians you’ve never even heard of before. Take a chance – call or meet up with that friend that always puts you in stitches and your day might change for the better.

Get creative

Journaling is a cathartic way to express your emotions on paper and find insights into what you’re really thinking. Write about your life, your experiences or simply make something up. Don’t have a way with words? Break out the craft supplies and get drawing, painting or making!

Ultimately, self-care can be low cost and you can use the supplies you already have or can easily find. Try these tips today and discover the difference it makes for yourself!