One cook-savvy mum from reveals how she prepares 90 meals to feed her family of five for the equivalent of just £220, making meals for less than £2.50 each.
The thrifty mum’s method saves money in the long run despite costing a bit more up front.
Mary Konn, from New South Wales in Australia, bulk cooks meals including beef stroganoff with pasta, chicken peanut stir fry, and spaghetti bolognese.
She sets aside 10 hours every Sunday and Monday to bulk prepare all the meals, saving her time cooking during the week.
The 30-year-old told how her family had long prepped meals for the following week, but tried to take it to an ‘extreme level’ to save money and see how long the food would last for them.
“We estimated that the meals should last us three to four weeks depending on whether my husband and I take one for lunch,” Mary said, adding that they store the meals in a 200L chest freezer they bought.
“Usually we only cook for a week or two at a time but my husband and I both enjoy cooking so we just thought we’ll try it on a larger scale so it lasts longer – and if it’s good, we’ll keep it going,” she said.
MARY KUNN’S TOP MEAL PREP TIPS
- Always bring a list! When shopping, always bring a list of ingredients you need, and meals you are going to make before heading out. This makes shopping itself infinitely easier.
- When bulk cooking so many meals, you’re going to need to store them all somewhere, so consider this early on and think about where all the meals are going to be stored, whether this means freezer space or more containers.
- One key part of meal prepping is not wasting, when shopping, cooking and eating, so make sure everyone likes the recipes you’re making so nothing goes to waste. This will mean vegetarian (and maybe vegan) options as well.
- When bulk cooking, bulk buy too. Bulk buying from butchers and fresh fruit and veg shops keeps cost down.
WHAT’S ON MARY’S MEAL PREPPED MENU?
- Chicken rissoles with rice
- Beef stroganoff with penne pasta
- Beef goulash with nockerl
- Beef kofta with roasted vegetables
- Chicken peanut satay stir fry with rice
- Chicken and lentil curry
- Spaghetti Bolognese
- Potato pie
Mary added: “My husband used to buy so much takeaway as we were just not prepared with food, but now he will just grab a pre-prepared meal from the freezer and off he goes,’ she said.
‘”I definitely would recommend bulk buying as although it’s a lot of money to outlay initially, you will be saving so much in the end.”
Mary shared her genius on Budget Friendly Meals Australia on Facebook.
Mary said that the bulk buying is helpful because it means her three young daughters can easily, safely and quickly heat-up meals for themselves.
“Think about containers! We purchased about four 25 packs of plastic containers from Coles which made it easy for us to stack them on top of one another in the freezer as they sit quite flat,” Mary said.
“If meal prepping for adults as well as kids, try to think of recipes to please everyone so no food is wasted.”