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Many of us are trying to keep an eye on our spending at the moment. If you’re keen to make the most of your food shop and stretch those pennies a bit further, these slimming-friendly meal ideas will help you rustle up a delicious dinner on a budget.

The great news for slimmers is that losing weight doesn’t have to mean a lighter wallet. By filling your plate with cheap-to-eat staples like pasta, potatoes and fresh vegetables – all fab Free Foods if you’re following Slimming World’s healthy eating plan – you can enjoy delicious, low-cost meals and get a great result on the scales.

Slimming World groups and our vibrant online community are full of money-saving meal ideas to help you manage your budget during your weight loss journey – and you can find out more about joining Slimming World here.

First, though, we’ve put together our top five budget-friendly recipes – each one costing less than £6 to feed a family of four – to show you how you can fill up on Food Optimising meals from Monday to Friday, without breaking the bank.

Slimming World paella

Cost per portion: 86p

Full of store-cupboard essentials like dried rice, tinned chickpeas and chopped tomatoes, Slimming World chef Sal’s vegan paella is the ultimate cheap eat at just 86p per portion! Plus, any leftovers will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, making this meal – and your money – stretch further.

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Savvy saver: Stock up on staples

A well-stocked store cupboard means you’ll always have the makings of a slimming-friendly meal. Dried herbs and spices are great for adding flavour to the most basic of dishes. And because rice, pasta and canned veggies are long lasting, you can buy in bulk and use the ingredients as the basis for a whole host of meals, saving you even more money in the long run.

MORE ON THE BLOG: How to make the most of store-cupboard staples

Easy tuna pasta bake

Cost per portion: £1.26

Pasta bakes always make for brilliant bargain meals. You can pick up a pack of pasta for pennies at the supermarket, and then add a can of chopped tomatoes and some frozen veg to make a filling low-cost dinner. Our tuna pasta bake is a cheap and cheesy treat that’s easy to make and totally on plan if you’re Food Optimising.

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Savvy saver: Make friends with your freezer

This tasty bake makes clever use of cheaper frozen spinach and sweetcorn to keep costs down. Your freezer is a great place to store everything from meat and bread to fruit, vegetables and herbs, to help reduce waste. If you just can’t finish off your filling Food Optimising meal, pop the leftovers in the freezer ready to defrost at a later date for a quick lunch or dinner.

Cowboy hotpot

Cost per portion: £1.31

Hearty, healthy and comforting, this sausage casserole is always a firm favourite – especially now the colder weather has arrived. And because it’s packed with plenty of beans and potatoes, this campfire classic is cheap to make, too!

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Savvy saver: Shop smart

Making a few simple swaps to your food shop can result in big savings. Here’s how:

  • Choose your supermarket’s own products where you can – they’re often much cheaper than the branded versions, and taste just as good!
  • Be wary of ‘buy one get one free’ and ‘two for one’ offers – they can encourage you to buy more expensive products and leave you with more than you need.
  • Local butchers, markets and farm shops can be great places to find economical cuts of meat and vegetables. If you’re feeling green-fingered, and you’ve got the space, you could even try growing your own produce at the right time of year.
  • Where possible, buy whole lettuce, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, etc. Ready prepared packs are often twice the price or more!

MORE ON THE BLOG: Shop the season with our October shopping list

Chicken tikka kebabs

Cost per portion: £1.44

Keeping ingredients to a minimum is a great way to save money on your meals. The marinade for our chicken tikka kebabs uses just three ingredients and transforms chicken thighs (also an excellent budget-friendly choice!) into a flavour-packed meal that doesn’t sacrifice filling power.

chicken tikka kebabs-budget-friendly meal ideas-slimming world blog

Savvy saver: Make a meal plan

I’m definitely guilty of buying more than I need. Every week I’m left scrabbling for ways to use up a pack of produce that’s going off in my fridge. Putting a bit of extra thought into your weekly shop is the best way to avoid any end-of-week waste – and it could leave you quids in at the till. Deciding on your meals for the week ahead means you can cook things that use similar ingredients, cutting down on waste and the cost of your food shop.

Dirty rice

Cost per portion: 97p

This scrummy Cajun-style rice dish is a brilliant low-cost meal because it works with whatever fresh, frozen or canned veg you’ve got to hand. If you don’t have black-eyed beans, any tin of beans or chickpeas will work just as well. And if you’ve got some chicken leftover in the fridge, you can throw that into the mix to make this one-pot wonder even more satisfying.

dirty rice-budget-friendly meal ideas-slimming world blog

Savvy saver: Love your leftovers

Making the most of your leftovers is a sure-fire way to stay on top of your budget. Unused meat and veggies can be easily added to stir-fries, curries or stews. I regularly use up my leftover veg by chucking it into a blender and whipping up a batch of soup – and there’s always enough to last for a couple of days at least.

MORE ON THE BLOG: 4 ways to transform your leftovers

Get a FREE copy of Slimming World Comfort Zone

If our budget meal ideas have inspired you to join Slimming World, we’ve got a very special offer to help you get started. 

Between 18th October and 7th November 2020, all new and existing Slimming World members who commit to a 12-week group membership (Countdown or Countdown extension) will receive 12 weeks for the price of 10 and a FREE copy of the new Comfort Zone recipe book.

The FREE book offer is also available to Slimming World Online members, including new members who join with our Gold membership package and existing members who resubscribe for 3, 6 or 12 months. 

*All meal cost calculations are approximate and will depend on where you shop and the brands you choose. Prices correct at the time of publication.

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