From overfilling our trolleys to throwing away the back-of-the-fridge ingredients that we bought with all good intentions, there's no doubt that we are living in a food waste epidemic. Each year the UK throws away 7.1 million tonnes of household food and a new analysis by the Boston Reporting Group found that this figure will rise by a third by 2030 when 2.1bn tonnes will either be lost or thrown away (equivalent to 66 tonnes per second). At the other end of the scale, nearly 4 million adults in the UK rely on food banks every year.
It's no wonder that some of the most popular new cookbooks have been geared towards helping us spend less and waste less while staying healthy. Where Jamie Oliver led the way with his 5-ingredient recipes , a raft of simple budget eating manuals have followed.
If you're looking to eat healthily on a budget, wanting to whip up a quick meal from your storecupboard staples, or create a cheap dinner party, here's our edit of the best budget eating recipe Bibles.
Food writer and anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe knows a thing or two about cooking on a bootstrap. The 31-year-old spent six months using food banks to keep her and her young son fed through a difficult period of unemployment. She had no choice but to make the best of a tight budget to keep them going. Her latest and fourth cookbook, Tin Can Cook, contains 75 quick and easy recipes from ingredients that can be bought from a corner shop or supermarket. All the perishable ingredients such as fish and tomatoes that you'd normally use to make these recipes can be bought in a can. Her Red Mushroom and Potato Curry uses tinned tomatoes, coconut milk and mushrooms, and Catalan-style Fish Stew combines tinned potatoes, carrots and sardines. All she asks is that you grab a can opener and start cooking.
There's information on how to make the most out of tinned fruit and vegetables without compromising on taste. All recipes promise nourishing and hearty meals easy to whip up for kitchen novices. It's set to be a student classic.
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Miguel Barclay is a thrifty chef who has pledged that everyone can be inventive in the kitchen for less than £1 per meal. You might know Miguel from Instagram, where he posts videos of himself making one-pound-per-serving meals to his 300k followers. Some of his most popular posts include the £1 Full Roast and the 55p Chicken Katsu Curry. Following on from his previous three books (Fast and Fresh, One Pound Meals and Super Easy One Pound Meals) comes Vegan One Pound Meals.
Miguel takes his original concept further in Vegan One Pound Meals by hijacking traditional recipes and making them plant-based and healthy, such as Vegan Mac and Cheese, Tex Mex Beans with Sweet Potato and Spring Onions and Oothapam Indian Crumpets.
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Eat Well for Less: Every Day by Jo Scarratt-Jones
If you’re struggling with food inspiration, then this has your name on it. The team behind BBC’s Eat Well for Less series are back with another cookbook aimed at families and those strapped for time and cash, who want to make healthy and delicious meals every single day.
As well as a foreword from MasterChef presenter Greg Wallace and fellow presenter Eat Well for Less Chris Bavin, the book contains 80 simple speedy recipes from healthy breakfasts, such as Chocolate Nut Porridge to American-style Protein Pancakes, to hearty dinners such as Spiced Cod Burgers to Chicken Katsu Curry, using the best ingredients at the lowest cost. It’s a great option for anyone wanting to grow more confident in the kitchen or cook for a family with zero fuss.
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Celebrity chef Phil Vickery wants to make healthy eating more accessible by helping everyone to gain all the nutrients they need for less. Save Money Good Diet features 70 delicious, easy and affordable recipes that include healthier versions of the nation’s most beloved dishes, from Spaghetti Bolognese, Chicken Tikka Masala and Fish and Chips.
It’s super easy to navigate and each recipe even states the cost of making it, ensuring the process from shopping for ingredients to whipping it up in your kitchen is seamless. Each recipe is designed to lower your risk of developing life-threatening conditions, improve your overall health and lose weight.
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Are you a lazy chef who likes minimal washing up? Us too. Which is why this cookbook is a great option for anyone who is time-poor yet still wants to cook from scratch and possibly impress their friends. The brightly coloured cookbook is packed full of simple one-dish recipes that require minimal preparation but deliver maximum flavour, nutrition and satisfaction. Think Crispy Baked Gnocchi with Tomatoes, Basil, Mozzarella and Pine Nuts and Lemon and Oven-baked Asparagus and Parmesan Frittata as well as tasty puddings such as Coconut, Apple and Cinnamon Flapjacks and Steamed Chocolate Cardamom Puddings - that are all made in one simple dish.
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Whether you’re a student looking to get the most out of that loan or cutting back on costs Limahl Asmall of @tinybudgetkitchen aims to show you that you can eat delicious, mouth-watering meals for around £20 per week.
Asmall, who began his career in the kitchens of Edinburgh and later became a street food chef, published his first cookbook Eat Delicious: Eat Well for £18 per week online for free (you can make a donation when you download) and has dedicated it to the 13 million people in the UK living on a low income. His website tinybudgetcooking.com details how he started out with just £20 for his weekly food shop and friends began to ask him for recipes and meal plans.
This new book features 100 recipes for tasty meals such as Shakshuka, Country Veg Soup and Creamy Sausage, Mushroom and Spinach Spaghetti. It's organised into four weekly plans, each comprising a dedicated shopping list, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes for every day of the week. He also shows easy ways to reduce food waste by turning leftovers into creative and tasty meals.
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