Relying too much on takeaways? With these easy dinner ideas, you will not have to.
It’s easy to fall into the rut of relying on takeaways to feed your family during the busy week. After all, when you’re running to and from school, sports and work, planning meals tends to be a low priority. With these easy ideas, you can be saving money and calories on those takeaway meals.
The problem with takeaways
Why are takeaways so problematic? First, they are expensive; an average takeaway pizza costs about £10, whereas you can make the same dish for around £3. Because of the cost savings, having some ready-made meal ideas to hand is vital as you’re working towards saving money.
Second, takeaways are, for the most part, not very healthy. Kids who grow up on fish and chips every day are not getting the vegetables and fruit they need to be healthy. Also, these meals are filled with trans fats, salts and sugars, which are bad for you. Home cooked meals are almost always healthier.
Homemade pizza is a quick and kid-friendly meal idea. Start with a ready-made pizza base and add your favourite toppings. Pasta sauce, cheese and your favourite meats and vegetables are a simple option.
You can get really creative with this dish. Any sauce, meat or veggies and some cheese can be used. Try a white alfredo sauce or even a Thai style sauce for tasty alternatives.
Pasta is quick, fairly healthy and kid-friendly. Keep a stash of pasta noodles and sauces on hand. When dinnertime comes, simply cook the pasta, add sauce and top with the veggies or meat of your choice. A few frozen rolls and you have a full meal, without much expense or fuss.
Stir fry is yet another cheap and fast dish. Mix strips of chicken or pork with ginger, garlic and spring onions and stir fry them with fresh veggies. Serve it over rice or chow mien noodles for a simple, cheap and fast meal.
Many soups are quite simple to make and can be quite filling. Avoid the cream based options, which can require a roux and a lot of time in the kitchen. Instead, opt for broth based soups and keep canned broth on hand to make dinner prep simple. Chicken noodle soup or beef stew are both popular with kids.
Another way to save time in the evenings while still enjoying a home cooked meal is by using a slow-cooker. Invest in a quality one that has a timer and make dinner in the morning, before you leave for work. When you return home, you will find a tasty meal waiting with minimal prep time required.
Remember, the goal of each of these meals is to have a fast option for dinner that the family will love, but that will not take a lot of time after work and school. If dinner is already planned, you will not need to stop off at the local takeaway. Keep the ingredients on hand, shop using a supermarket price comparison tool and you will never be forced to rely on takeaways again. Save the takeaway meals for a treat and you can stretch that grocery budget.
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Andrea Vaned writes for www.MyFamilyClub.co.uk is the UK’s first website dedicated solely to saving, managing and making money for families. The website brings together all the best ways to save money with weekly supermarket price checks, deals and voucher codes; manage money with tools like budget planners and a pre-paid MasterCard; and make money with useful guides,eBooks and eCourses.