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© Crown copyright 2007 Going food shopping
© Crown copyright 2007 Before you go shopping Before you go food shopping, it is always a good idea to plan what you need to buy. A number of things will affect what you buy, for example: who are you cooking for; the occasion, e.g. a simple lunch or dinner with friends; the time you have, as well as your skills, kitchen and equipment; how much money you have; the food you already have, e.g. dried pasta in the cupboard; where you can go shopping.
© Crown copyright 2007 Who are you cooking for? What you cook depends on lots of different things. For example, what you cook for a quick snack will probably be different to what you might cook for friends or your family. Different food dishes will be better for some people than others, e.g. beans on toast, pizza to share, roast dinner. Some people may not eat certain foods, so you need to check, e.g. meat or cheese. Occasion Are you making a snack or cooking for a party? Often different occasions have different types of food served. The quantity and type of food you buy will change, depending on the occasion.
© Crown copyright 2007 Time, skills, kitchen and equipment You need to know your own limits when cooking. Being too fancy could mean disaster! Think about... * how much time do you have to cook? * you might think that you’re Jamie Oliver, but how are your skills? * do you have space to cook? * do you have the right equipment and tools to cook what you want, e.g. a wok for a stir-fry, a big enough oven dish for a lasagne?
© Crown copyright 2007 Money How much money you have will determine what you can afford. Be smart, and: * Cook using fresh ingredients - it will save you money; e.g. a pizza in a restaurant could cost you £7.95 buying a similar ready made pizza would cost £2.19 making a pizza yourself could only cost £1.62 * work out how much money you have to spend on food - stick to it; * cook more than you need, and freeze the left-overs for another time; * share the cost of large items with friends.
© Crown copyright 2007 Food you already have Once you have decided what to cook, write a shopping list. Sounds simple, but it will help you buy just what you need. Also, check if you already have any of the ingredients – you might be surprised! There is often a packet of pasta or tub of mixed herbs in the back of a cupboard. Always check the date. Writing a shopping list is the important first step - don’t forget to take it shopping!
© Crown copyright 2007 Where to go shopping The next step is to decide where to go shopping. There are many different types of places and where you shop will depend on where you live, transport, the food available and cost. Shops include: * local shops and markets; * supermarkets; * butchers, green grocers, fish mongers and bakeries; * specialist shops, e.g. Chinese supermarket or Italian deli. You might grow some food at home, like tomatoes or cabbage.
© Crown copyright 2007 While you are shopping When shopping, you might be faced with lots of different similar foods. Which one should you buy? You need to be a smart shopper! Deciding what to buy means that you need to make a choice - a simple way is to compare foods. You might compare: * cost - which one is cheaper? * pack size - how much does it weigh? * nutrition - which one has less salt? * make - is the premium brand better? * country - where was it made or grown? * special offers - do I really need to buy 2 to get 1 free?
© Crown copyright 2007 Shopping - some tips: * Buy what you need and can store - or you might throw food away. * Don’t buy dented cans or damaged packets of food. * Food that is produced locally, or that is in season, can be cheaper. * Check for any special offers, such as 50% free. But don’t just buy it because it’s on offer - you might not use it. * Supermarket own brands and economy ranges can be good value, and help to save money. * Get frozen vegetables, so you can use what you want and store the rest. * Look out for foods with a long life, like pasta, rice and noodles. These can form the basis of lots of meals and are cheap to buy. * Do not go shopping when you are hungry!
© Crown copyright 2007 After you shop Once you have stored the food safely, you can start to cook. But how can you make the food you have go further? Some tips: * Add inexpensive beans or seasonal vegetables to your cooking, e.g. Shepherd’s pie, soup, spaghetti bolognese. * Grate cheese - you will use less. * Go for more rice, pasta and potatoes with your meals. These are cheap to buy, give you energy and help to fill you up. * Use up vegetables in a stir-fry or a salad. * Label and freeze any left-overs for another time. Remember to put on the date. * Be inventive - have your own ‘ready, steady, cook’ moment at home!
© Crown copyright 2007 Summary The food we choose to buy depends on lots of different factors. Think about who you are cooking for and the occasion. It is a good idea to write a shopping list of the food you need. Cooking using fresh ingredients can save you money. Be a smart shopper and compare foods. Be inventive and use the food you have in different dishes, it will save you money.
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