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Feed your family and still pay your power bill this winter

Wednesday 11 July

How to feed your family and still pay your power bill this winter

Love Food Hate Waste wants to ensure that Kiwis who are facing high power bills this winter can still feed their families and put healthy food on the table this winter.

The winter edition of Easy Choice – Family Kai, a free dinner meal plan and recipe book which allows families to feed themselves for just $60 a week, has been released today.

The timing of the winter Easy Choice comes in the depth of winter as thousands of Kiwi families are struggling with energy poverty and, in some cases, are having to go without food in order to be able to afford to heat their homes.

“When it comes to paying high bills or unexpected expenses it is usually the food budget that takes the first hit,” said Love Food Hate Waste spokesperson Jenny Marshall.

“We know that winter is a hard time for so many families, so we are hoping that Easy Choice can help ease the financial burden for some by providing low cost meals.”

Easy Choice consists of four weeks of five dinner meal plans that will feed a family of six for approximately $60 a week.

“Easy Choice employs many different strategies to help keep the cost of food low while ensuring that each meal is healthy and balanced. From making sure that no food goes to waste to utilising frozen vegetables and using the leftovers from one meal to make another, we have included all sorts of tricks to make food go further.”

The winter edition of Easy Choice is the second of four seasonal meal planners to be released, following the launch of the autumn edition in April. The spring booklet will follow in October with the summer plan being released in January.
"Easy Choice has really changed the way I go about planning, buying and cooking my food. I’m saving a lot of money and enjoying new recipes," said Sierra de la Croix from Rotorua.

Click here to download the Winter Easy Choice – Family Kai meal planner and recipe book.
Love Food Hate Waste’s top tips for saving money on your food bill this winter:
• Cook in bulk. If you know you are going to eat foods like rice, pasta or potatoes more than one night a week, cook two nights worth in one go to save on power. Leftover cooked rice is safe to eat, provided it is cooled quickly and reheated until it is piping hot. To cool rice quickly, spread it over a large tray and put it into the fridge as soon as it is cool. You can also rinse the rice under cold water to cool it.
• Eat seasonally. It is important to eat seasonally as winter vegetables are cheaper in winter, while summer favourites are either non-existent or are prohibitively expensive. Choose vegetables like cabbage, leeks or parsnips which should be cheap this time of year. Alternatively, frozen vegetables are always a great optionas they are cheap, nutritious, pre-prepared and won’t go bad.
• Cook once, eat twice. Either cook enough food so that you can eat it the next night (or freeze it for another time) or use the leftovers as the starting point for the next meal. In the winter Easy Choice, you roast a chicken with vegetables for the first meal, make chicken noodle soup for the second meal and turn the leftover vegetables into a roasted vegetable frittata for the third.
• Eat all parts of the vegetable. Broccoli stalks, silverbeet stems and the green part of the leek are all edible and can help bulk out a meal and add an additional serving of vegetables.
• Use a slow cooker or crock pot. Not only are slow cookers an energy efficient way to make a meal, they turn inexpensive cuts of meat into delicious meals.
• Limit how much meat you eat. Meat can be really expensive so try to reduce how much meat you use in a meal or go meat-free entirely for some meals. Beans, lentils, eggs and tofu are cheap, non-meat protein sources. If you need inspiration, Easy Choice includes recipes for family favourite meals nachos and burritos, using beans instead of mince.
• Store potatoes and onions away from each other. If you have bought large bags of potatoes and onions, make sure you store them far away from each other. While they both need to be kept in cool, dark places, storing potatoes and onions together will make them sprout faster. Keep your onions in the pantry and your potatoes in a different cupboard or part of the kitchen.
• Make the most of your oven. Your oven is the most energy-demanding of all your kitchen appliances, so if you are going to use it, try to utilise it as much as possible e.g. can you roast vegetables for a meal later in the week at the same time your pie is heating in the oven?
• Put away your leftovers before you tuck in. If you have made a meal which you intend to have as leftovers, pack away the leftovers before you serve the meal. This will stop you from overeating or your family accidentally eating tomorrow’s lunch.
• Serve soup. Soups are a wonderful way to make a small amount of food go a long way. You can add all sorts of leftover meat, vegetables and grains to them.


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