Everyday Meals

Dr Rupy Aujla: Experts cupboard essentials – how to make healthy meals on a budget

Supermarket food: Stefan Gates compares fruit and veg cost

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A healthy diet has many health benefits including providing the body with energy and nutrients and cooking from scratch is often the best way to know what is actually going into your meals. Cooking homemade meals also doesn’t have to take a lot of time as some may think.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Rupy Aujla, known for his incredible passion for educating people about the transformative power of food through the Doctor’s Kitchen, has shared how you can make meals while on a budget.

The London-based doctor explained: “The healthiest meals to be made on a budget are plant-focused ones and I’ve done a whole TV series on this which is available on BBC iPlayer, it’s called ‘Thrifty Cooking in The Doctor’s Kitchen’. 

“We made 18+ different recipes for an average of 90p per portion! These all had three portions of fruit and/or vegetables for every person as well. 

“It can be done, and it mainly boils down to judicious use of convenience items and more plants, more wholefoods like lentils, pulses and legumes. 

“These actually are much healthier for you and use really good store-cupboard essentials as well. 

“Things like canned chickpeas and lentils, plus dried versions of these which are even cheaper, and making your own pastes and marinades from scratch – offering an abundance of flavour while being easier on the wallet. 

“Tinned foods as well as frozen foods can be just as nutritious too.”

According to Healthline, freezing helps retain the nutrient content of fruits and vegetables meaning they can be just as healthy as eating fresh.

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It can also sometimes be cheaper to pick up the frozen alternative too and many supermarkets are opting for more sustainable packaging. 

Dr Rupy, who has become a Sunday Times Best Seller with his books, also shared some cupboard essentials that you should stock up on. 

These include spices like cumin seeds, cayenne powder, sweet paprika powder, fennel seed, coriander seed, mustard seed, turmeric, dried oregano, tarragon, garam masala, cinnamon and sumac.

Tinned foods like canned pinto beans, black beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans and brown rice are also great essentials to keep in the cupboards.

In terms of frozen, Dr Rupy recommends stocking peas, sweetcorn, garlic, ginger, broad beans and green beans, all of which can be added to a meal.

Brown rice, rice noodles, whole oats, green pea pasta, and wholegrain fusilli pasta are also great cupboard essentials as well as things like chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, soy sauce and oils.

The expert, who makes appearances on shows such as This Morning and BBC’s ‘Cooking in the Doctor’s Kitchen’ explained that the healthiest meals often come in at the cheapest price. 

He added: “The most incredible, nutrient-dense ingredients we all have access to are often the cheapest on the shelf. 

“What limits our ability to use them is this idea that we have to be expert cooks as well as a belief that they are expensive.

“These are myths. Frozen can be as nutritious as fresh and tinned ingredients (like beans and lentils) are healthy protein and fibre rich convenience foods that are super affordable.”

Making multiple portions of food in one go and freezing the rest or placing in the fridge is just one way you can save money through cooking.

Other ways include looking for discounts in the supermarket through yellow sticker labels as well as buying own-brand alternatives. 

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