If you’re short on cash, it can be a struggle to eat enough tasty food. Low budget food shopping often leads to a bland and repetitive diet. However, there are ways to add colour to your menu. Here are three of my favourites.
Join a Community Allotment
By weeding, watering or generally tending a community allotment, you can get food (and flowers) for free.
It’s also a great way to make friends and get some exercise.
If you don’t have a community allotment nearby, either set one up or ask friends if they have a garden or allotment they need help with, in exchange for produce.
This time of year is great to start foraging as there’s so much easily identifiable fruit around.
Foraging is a fun way to spend time as a family or alone: a lot more fun than going to the supermarket.
You can eat pears, plums and apples fresh from the tree, snack on blackberries as you pick (though it’s better to wash fruit first, of course) and turn nature’s bounty into compote for breakfast, jam for a treat, fruit leather for lunchboxes and pies or crumbles for pudding.
You can also add blackberries to dark gravies, make blackberry and elderberry cordial, or bake apples for a healthy snack that’s great with Greek yogurt (if better with clotted cream and honey).
Grow Your Own
Having a well stocked kitchen salad box and herb garden has saved many of my meals from being lifeless and greenery-free.
A packet of seeds costs less than a bag of salad and will give you months of lettuce if you buy a ‘cut and come again’ variety.
You can also plant herbs, tomatoes, strawberries, radishes, beetroot and carrots in pots (along with many other tyes of fruit and veg). And if you have a garden, you can grow even more.
Growing your own fruit and veg is a good way to get kids more enthused about eating it; can be done in containers if you don’t have a garden; and once you’ve bought compost, you’re sorted (use recycled packaging for pots if you can’t afford to buy them.)
I’d like to see more public growing spaces, from foraging zones in parks to communal fresh food shops where people could take their garden gluts to be distributed to those who need it (or sold at a low price, with profits split between the gardener and community food initiatives).
Why let people go hungry when we can grow food that everyone can access?
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