A thrifty mum-of-two has revealed how she prepped 95 meals for just $1.22 per serve, and the budget cooking secrets she swears by.
Cassie McKay, from Victoria, gained 26 kilos during her second pregnancy, but then managed to lose 14 kilograms by meal prepping healthy dishes that she ate while losing the weight.
Now, Cassie has shared exactly how you can prepare 44 main meals and 51 snacks for a total of $116 through picking up budget staples from Aldi:
‘I love nothing more than heading into the kitchen and creating delicious, healthy meals for the family,’ Cassie told the Healthy Mummy.
‘Plus having pre-prepared meals helps when I’m too busy or stressed to cook.’
A thrifty mum-of-two has revealed how she prepped 95 meals for just $1.22 per serve, and the budget cooking secrets she swears by (Cassie McKay pictured)
Cassie spent $116 at Aldi (products pictured) on all of the food she used to make the budget dishes
What did Cassie make?
4 x Lentil Shepherds Pie
6 x Beef Chow Mein
4 x Easy Fried Rice
4 x Moroccan Chickpea Stew
6 x Slow Cooked Chinese Spiced Chicken with Veggies and Rice
8 x Zucchini and Bacon Slice
4 x Peanut Butter Chicken Curry
4 x Bacon Pasta Salad
4 x Bacon, Spinach and Tomato Risotto
Cassie spent $116 at Aldi purchasing food for her meal prep, including quinoa, frozen broccoli, mince, bacon, chicken drumsticks, eggs, sweet potato, porridge oats, carrots, lentils and rice.
‘I already had a few items at home (like garlic, ginger, soy sauce, chia seeds, dried chickpeas) so I used them as well,’ Cassie said.
‘There is still a decent amount of the milk, yoghurt, rice, quinoa, and honey left over, which can be used next time I prep.’
The mum-of-two spent around five hours in the kitchen cooking and cleaning up, making everything from Lentil Shepherds Pie to Moroccan Chickpea Stew and Zucchini and Bacon Slice.
‘I was really happy with the cost of this prep, as I previously thought I’d have to do a mostly vegetarian prep to keep costs down,’ Cassie said.
‘Initially, I thought it would take four hours, but it ended up taking a little bit longer.’
She added: ‘If I had a bigger cooktop and more muffin trays it would have been a bit quicker.’
Cassie McKay, from Victoria, gained 26 kilos during her second pregnancy, but then managed to lose 14 kilograms by meal prepping healthy dishes (pictured before and after)
The mum spent five hours in the kitchen cooking and cleaning up, making everything from Lentil Shepherds Pie to Moroccan Chickpea Stew and Zucchini and Bacon Slice (pictured)
What snacks did Cassie make?
12 x Carrot and Zucchini Cake
5 x Mocha Banana Bread
4 x Beetroot and Walnut dip
4 x Easy Pumpkin Hummus
6 x Mini Ham, Cheese & Quinoa Muffins
8 x Cheesy Broccoli bites
12 x Choc Chip Muffins (made mini, so 2 per serve)
Cassie said she put on weight when she was pregnant with her second child, before she discovered the weight loss program the Healthy Mummy and signed up to their weight loss challenge.
‘I followed the meal plans, meal prepped and walked and lost 10 kilograms quickly,’ Cassie said.
‘It felt easy, and I’ve been able to mostly maintain this loss over the last two years, bar a few ups and downs.’
Cassie has now lost 14 kilos in total through meal prepping, and swears by dishes including Lentil Shepherds Pie and Peanut Butter Chicken Curry for staying healthy and in shape.
The mum-of-two also prepared snacks in her cook-up including cheesy broccoli bites and healthy chocolate chip muffins.
This means there is always something to reach for and she doesn’t feel tempted to buy a chocolate bar when she finds herself hungry.
Cassie said that you need to make sure you have enough Tupperware containers for all the meals (pictured), and you can use frozen veggies instead of fresh to save money
‘Check your fridge and pantry, write a list of items you can use without spending any extra money,’ Cassie said, and only then go to the supermarket (pictured with her Aldi receipt)
When it comes to her meal prepping secrets, Cassie explained that the trick to staying cost-efficient is to shop your fridge and pantry first.
‘Check your fridge and pantry, write a list of items you can use without spending any extra money,’ she said.
Then, look for meals which have similar ingredients:
‘I used a lot of carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, peas and sweet potato across the recipes I chose,’ Cassie said.
You’ll need to ensure you have plenty of Tupperware containers so you can store your food when it’s made:
‘Make freezer friendly meals too,’ Cassie said.
‘If you’re planning on doing a big prep, think about which meals will freeze well. I cook a few meals to eat in the following days and the rest gets frozen to be defrosted and eaten later in the week/in the following weeks.’
She also recommends labelling everything you make with both the meal and the date you’ve made it, as you’ll inevitably forget a few weeks down the line.
Cassie made snacks (pictured) as well as main meals so she always has something healthy on hand
She said a good tip for making budget-friendly meals is to pick up vegetables which are versatile and can be used in multiple meals (one of her meals pictured)
Finally, Cassie said you shouldn’t fear frozen vegetables or dried beans if you want to save money, as both of these are nutritious but also cost effective.
‘Frozen vegetables are snap frozen when they’re fresh and often cost a lot less,’ she said.
‘With beans, you just need to think about soaking them the day before you cook.’