A fitness coach has revealed how she creates budget meals costing from just $3.80 per serve.
Bec Hardgrave, from Queensland, and her boyfriend Tim spend an average of $80 on grocery items per week.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: How to make meals costing $3.80 per serve.
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The 27-year-old follows a balanced, 80/20 diet where she eats healthily 80 per cent of the time and 20 per cent where she has anything she wants – within reason.
To keep her living expenses down, she always shops for items on special, cooks with staples she already has in the kitchen, buys cheaper cuts of meat, switches to homebrand products and opts for frozen fruits and vegetables.
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One of her favourite meal preps is the creamy tomato meatball pasta, which costs $15.35 to make – bringing it to just $3.83 per serve.
For her recipe, she only uses homebrand products from Woolworths – 65c penne pasta (240g), $6 lean pork mince (500g), $2.50 traditional pasta sauce, $2.80 light thickened cream, $2 parmesan cheese and $1.40 baby spinach (100g).
Bec Hardgrave has revealed how she creates budget meals from just $3.80 per serve. Credit: Bec Hardgrave/Instagram
To enhance the flavour of the dish, she adds spices from her pantry such as thyme, garlic powder and onion powder.
“This is a super easy meal prep idea that’s both budget and macro friendly,” she said.
“Feel free to keep the spinach separate so when you reheat it, it’s kept nice and fresh.”
A dish she enjoys making on a budget is gyros loaded fries.
Her seven-ingredient recipe calls for potatoes, red onion, tomato, chicken breast, tzatziki, Greek seasoning and parsley.
The dish serves two and costs less than $10 to make.
Her creamy tomato meatball pasta costs $15.35 to make – bringing it to just $3.83 per serve. Credit: Bec Hardgrave/TikTok
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During a supermarket shop on July 9, Hardgrave revealed exactly how much she spent on groceries for two adults.
Her trolley included an array of fresh fruits and vegetables such as baby spinach, mandarin, capsicum, onion, mushrooms and avocado, and homemade staples such as almond milk, chips, bread, eggs and wholemeal muffins.
Fresh meat included lean porn mince, beef rump steak and chicken breast.
Other items included a 1kg bag of frozen winter vegetables, light thickened cream, parmesan cheese and beef jerky.
Of the 23 items, only two were non-homemade products.
Her grocery bill totalled just $82.14.
Hardgrave spent just $82.14 on grocery to feed for two adults over a week. Credit: Bec Hardgrave/TikTok
“This shop should last me until Saturday,” Hardgrave said, suggesting the food should cover her and her boyfriend over six days.
“We also have staple stuff already at home. So not counting rice, tuna, beans, yoghurt, oats and other snacks we already have, along with spreads, butter and spices.”
However, she pointed out: “We will probably have two meals out.”
Many were impressed with her “thrifty” shop, with some sharing an estimate of their weekly grocery bill.
“If this was in New Zealand that would be $200,” one woman said.
Another shared: “Two adults, five dinners, five lunches, seven breakfast and snacks – $145.”
One suggested: “I need to learn to save.”
How to save on groceries
Look for specialsGet creative with what you have at homeBuy cheaper cuts of meat e.g. rump over eye fillet or pork mince over beef minceGet homebrand products where you canOpt for frozen fruits and vegetables
Creamy meatball pasta
Penne (weighed dry): 240g
Parmesan grated: 20g
Light thickened cream: 120ml
Pasta sauce: 400g
Pork mince: 500g
Creamy meatball pasta. Credit: Bec Hardgrave/TikTok
Cook the penne in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, then drain, reserving a 1/4 cup of cooking water.
Season mince with spices of your choice, ie. thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, a pinch of salt and pepper.
Roll mince into little meatballs.
In a frying pan over medium heat, add the meatballs and cook until cooked through, turning regularly.
Add pasta sauce, 1/4 cup of pasta water, optional extra spices, cream, combine and remove from the heat.
Either serve immediately – with spinach, penne, creamy meatball sauce and topped with Parmesan cheese – or set aside in four portions for future meals.
Gyros loaded fries
Gyros loaded fries. Credit: Bec Hardgrave/TikTok
500g potatoes (use Spudlite for less carbs)
250g chicken breast
1 small tomato
10g Greek seasoning
Season with salt if needed
Serve with parsley (optional)
Slice up potatoes into chips, season and bake at 180C for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
Dice up tomato and onion.
Cut chicken breast into bite size, coat with Greek seasoning.
Cook in a frying pan over medium heat until cooked through.
Assemble bowl with chips, load with toppings, tzatziki and parsley. Serve immediately.
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