Warming the Winter Wonderland

It’s the time of year when all we want to do is hunker down in front of the fire with a cup of hot chocolate. We want to stay warm and we want to keep our families warm and healthy through the winter months. One great way to help all the family stay fit and well through the winter is to feed them well with warm and nourishing food cooked from scratch. (It’s also a great way to save money after the Christmas extravaganza.)

Realfoods organic sweet potatoes
Realfoods organic sweet potatoes

Cooking from scratch

Processed and packaged foods can be costly. In addition to the labour that goes into making these foods, you’re often paying a VAT rate of 20% on many ready meals, cakes and treats, whereas the raw ingredients for these foods are Vat free! That’s a fifth of the cost saved already.

Roasting sweet potatoes with coconut oil and salt is a simple yet delicious option, or try butternut squash and other root vegetables and peppers for filling, tasty meals.

Realfoods organic butternut squash
Realfoods organic butternut squash

Planning your meals a week ahead is a great way of working out exactly what you need and can inspire you to find new recipes for the spare ingredients.

If you're struggling for new and nourishing meal ideas you might take some inspiration from looking at our library of recipes.

Our bulk wholesale
Our bulk wholesale

Club together - buy in bulk

Food co-ops are growing in popularity, buying together can give you higher discounts and other people to share tips and recipes with. If you live on your own for example, you may be daunted at 25kgs of rice, but if a few of you club together you’d be surprised at the savings. It’s also a good idea to share your meals, if you make the casserole, a friend brings the bread and another friend a salad, you’ve a full meal and company to enjoy it with.

Staples like rice, beans and lentils are cheaper the more you buy of them. They are also a great source of cheap yet nutritious calories. If you store them correctly (usually a cool, dark place, there’s a reason many people had larders in the past!), they’ll be just as tasty on day 20 as they were the day you bought them. With all of our own-brand bulk wholesale dry goods (both organic and non-organic) the more you buy the cheaper the price per kilo, just have a look at our wholesale page.

Oats are a cheap staple and incredibly nutritious. A simple bowl of porridge in the morning will set you up for the day, reduce hunger pangs and may help lower your cholesterol. Plus it’s cheap, so you can spend your pennies on some fresh or frozen fruit to add a kick.

Soaking beans from dried will save you money, although the tinned ones are a useful backup for days you’ve not planned ahead. Have a look at our guide to soaking and storing pulses to see exactly how long all the dried beans will keep.

Buying wholegrain flour to get your breads and wraps is a good idea, again the more you buy, the cheaper it gets, buying larger amounts of pasta, noodles, rice and cous cous can be useful to have the basis of many meals on hand (buy wholegrain whenever possible for a tastier, healthier option). Try barley, spelt and other grains for stretching your food further.

We sell all of our bulk items in smaller sizes too, so if you’re not sure if quinoa is for you or want to try out the various mueslis, simply buy 100 grams and see if you like it. Buy the sack when you know you’ll use it all!

Thai Green Curry recipe
Thai Green Curry recipe

Using Leftovers

We often have some leftovers and wonder what to do with them. Getting some easy recipes for interesting lunches is a good idea, and making soup from scratch with whatever is around is not only budget and diet friendly, it’s pretty satisfying too! You’ll end up with the odd dreadful combination (live and learn) but usually you’ll end up with a tasty meal and often exciting new recipes. Along with soups, try out casseroles, stews and pasta bakes to stretch your leftovers into tasty, filling meals.

Taking on the challenge of cooking one new recipe each week is an easy way to force yourself to try new things. Some of which you will love. It also creates more leftovers for you to try other meals with. For example, perhaps try our Thai Green Curry recipe with tofu, stir fried vegetables and rice, the next day you’ve an amazing base for some soup, simply throw in some coconut milk to soften it, heat up and eat up!

See the Recipes section on our website for more great ideas for healthy meal options.

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