Savvy supermarket shopper Kathrine Lynch – the remarkable woman behind a challenge to make 50 school lunches for NZ $1.95 each – has shared her top tips for feeding a family, including fussy children, on a budget.
After her success creating five different lunchbox recipes for her two daughters, the mother-of-two from New Zealand spoke to Stuff about how she stretches food for her family just that bit further.
The blogger took questions from readers covering a range of subject from how to deal with child who is fussy with food, to feeding the hordes during school holidays.
Here, FEMAIL rounds up Kathrine’s best advice for anyone looking to slash their weekly grocery bill while still eating healthy and nutritious meals.
The clever New Zealand mum has shared her top tips for stretching the weekly grocery budget
The budget conscious mum recommends only shopping at the supermarket once a week
Mum Phoebe, wrote in to ask how the Hamilton mum dealt with kids wanting sweet treats, and her best recommendation for alternatives.
‘Fresh fruit and yogurt is popular with my kids for dessert, smoothies in the afternoon or frozen blueberries my kids also love 🙂 Also, stewed fruit such as apples with yogurt is really nice too,’ the switched-on mother replied.
The switched-on mum said smoothies were a great options for kids wanting sweet treats
With school holidays well and truly upon us, managing the hordes can be prove tricky.
Emily said she was ‘bound to have a million kids over at her house’ and wanted advice for cheap, healthy snacks that were also a bit of fun.
‘Baking can be a great way to offer a variety of options and get the kids involved as well,’ Kathrine said.
She also added: ‘Foods such as chopped up veges and cheese with dips, crackers, salami etc can be done for cheap. Could set it up as a grazing table or platter for the kids.’
‘Baking can be a great way to offer a variety of options and get the kids involved as well,’ Kathrine said
The topic of how to manage a picky eater was also raised by concerned mum Tans who wrote in saying she felt she was wasting a lot of food on her fussy child.
Responding in her pragmatic style, Kathrine said generally children don’t respond to new foods straight away, noting it takes ’10 times before they will be likely to try the new food’.
Her best advice for those struggling is to introduce new foods one at a time, with encouragement, and if they don’t eat it, not to turn this into a big deal.
‘I also find that if you just put a very small amount of a new food on their plate they are more likely to try it,’ she said.
Kathrine is a firm believer buying a little extra if it’s on special to build up freezer supplies
Another reader, Meg, wanted to ask the frugal shopper if she could make a simple suggestion for the best way to save on her supermarket bill.
Naturally, Kathrine didn’t pull any punches stating outright the best way to save is to make supermarket shopping a weekly event.
‘I look at the specials and then adapt what we are going to eat for the week for dinners, by pairing up what meat and veges are on special, I can on the spot think of what recipe i will use them for.’
‘If there is meat on a really good special i will buy 2-3 packs (or what my budget allows) and then i freeze them. It doesn’t take long to build up a good supply if you have the freezer space :).’
KATHRINE’S $100 SHOPPING LIST
Huntly & Palmer crackers $2.59
Pams rice crackers x2 $2.38
Popping corn 300g $1.95
Maggi onion soup mix $1.35
Peanuts raw-blanched 300g $2.89
Pams cocoa powder 250g $3.39
Coconut 0.057g $0.91
Dates 122g $2.67
Pams mayonnaise $2.69
Morning Harvest eggs 12-pack $3.99
Yoplait yoghurts 12-pack $5
Rolling Meadows cheese 500g $5.29
Long rolls, 6 pack x2 $4
Gold Max white toast bread $2.85
Romanos pizza bases 3 pack $2
Carrots 1.965kg $3.91
Tomatoes x2 $2.65
Potatoes x2 $1.39
Mushrooms, white button x4 $1.45
Onions x3 $0.94
Bananas x20 $6.02
Oranges x30 $10
Chicken breast $7.27
Beef mince $7.64
Shaved leg ham, 500g $4.99
Pams diced tomatoes $0.99
Oak cream style corn $1
Oak spaghetti $0.94
The blogger, who rose to fame for her $140 weekly shop, recently revealed how she stepped up to the 50 lunches for $100 challenge.
In order to coming in budget she used New Zealand grocery company Pak’nSave to purchase $97.45 worth of ingredients for 50 individual lunches – making them only $1.95 per meal.
Each nutritious lunchbox incorporated a main, either a sandwich, pizza or frittata, carrot sticks and fruit, and smaller snacks, such as popcorn, yoghurt, cheese and crackers.
According to Kathrine, the most expensive item on her shopping list was 30 oranges for $10, followed by beef mince for $7.64 and chicken breast for $7.27.
The blogger, who rose to fame for her $140 weekly shop purchased $97.45 worth of ingredients for 50 individual lunches – making them only $1.95 per meal
Her cheapest finds were dried coconut for 91 cents – used in her homemade boost balls – a tin of spaghetti for 94 cents and three onions for 94 cents.
Other bargains found during her economic shopping trip included 20 bananas for $6.02 and a 12 pack of yogurts for $5.
The mother-of-two stretched her $100 budget over 50 school lunches by making pizza (pictured) with the ingredients
Her cheapest finds were dried coconut for 91 cents – used in her homemade boost balls (pictured) – a tin of spaghetti for 94 cents and three onions for 94 cents
‘Kathrine’s goal is to inspire other busy parents to cook the most nutritious food they can for their children. She has proven that it is still possible to feed your family well on a tight budget – particularly if you plan your meals carefully,’ said Foodstuffs NZ Group General Manager Marketing Steve Bayliss
‘We asked Kathrine if she’d be up for another $100 challenge, and she suggested a kids’ lunchbox challenge because she knew families would be interested in it. She has blown us away with the results.’
Kathrine, who is a former PE teacher, was able to make healthy and delicious pizza, ham and vegetable frittatas and meatball subs from the $100 groceries found at Pak’nSave.
The economic shopper also did a similar challenge where she made 62 nutritious dinners with only $100 of supermarket- bought products.
Kathrine (pictured with her daughter) rose to fame after sharing her incredibly economic $140 weekly shop
According to Kathrine, the most expensive item on her shopping list was 30 oranges for $10, followed by beef mince (used to make the meatballs pictured) for $7.64 and chicken breast for $7.27
Other bargains found during her economic shopping trip included 20 bananas for $6.02 and a 12 pack of yogurts for $5
She shares tips on budgeting the weekly supermarket trip for other busy parents on her blog, Busy Happy Kids NZ.
Her suggestions include using eggs to bulk up meals and add in extra protein and only paying for groceries in cash so you don’t overspend.
‘Try and slowly reduce your grocery bill, for example aim to save $10 per week for a month and see how you get on and then see if you can reduce it a further $10 per week, a saving of $20 per week = $1000 for the year, that’s a very nice Christmas sorted!’ Kathrine said.
Kathrine is known for her blog where she revealed how to make 62 meals with only $100 worth of groceries
‘Aim to only go back to the supermarket one extra time per week and stick to a list, if you only need bread and milk then only buy bread and milk. Often we buy extras and it all adds up.’
After the challenge Kathrine donated her 50 lunches to the Salvation Army in New Zealand to be handed out to families in need.
Foodstuffs covered the bill for the groceries for the lunchbox challenge and also gave Kathrine Pak’nSave vouchers to give away to her thousands of Facebook followers.