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Nutritious family meals on a budget

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As the cost of living continues to climb, more and more South Africans are feeling the pinch of rapidly shrinking household budgets. Having to stretch grocery money to put wholesome dinners on the family table every night can be a real challenge, but we have good news: creating healthy budget meals is possible when you’re armed with the right knowledge!

Nutritious family meals on a budget

Interestingly, some of the world’s most nutritious ingredients are among the least expensive items on supermarket shelves and can easily provide the vital nutrients our bodies need to stay in tip-top condition. Read on for a list of foods that won’t break the bank, together with a selection of our easy, tried-and-tested family recipes.



A great favourite in South Africa, tinned pilchards are jam-packed with vital nutrients. They’re a superb source of protein and calcium (which comes from the fish bones) and are also naturally rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties believed to support heart and brain health and help reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Try our pilchard recipes:

Pilchard Fish Cakes

Saucy Pilchards with Spaghetti

Spicy Pilchard Macaroni Bake

Pilchard Cottage Pie


Both dried and tinned beans are excellent sources of soluble and insoluble fibre, which are so important for good digestion and gut health. They’re low in fat and rich in nutrients, including iron, potassium, magnesium, and folate (Vitamin B9). Beans also provide a good amount of protein, making them a smart choice for vegetarians.

Try our bean recipes:

Tasty Samp and Beans

Sugar Bean Curry

Three-Bean Pasta Salad

Chicken and Butter Bean Sishebo


There are few foods that can match the liver when it comes to providing iron, a mineral that’s vital for the transport of oxygen in the blood, and for many other key functions in the body. Nutritious, delicious chicken, ox and sheep livers are also rich in folate, Vitamin A and particularly Vitamin B12, an essential nutrient that our bodies can’t make on their own.

Try our liver recipes:

Chicken Livers and Spinach

Knorrox Peri-Peri Chicken Livers

Spiced Liver with Tomato

Ox Liver and Imfino Curry


High in plant-based protein, lentils are a naturally gluten-free, low-fat food, and full of healthy fibre. They’re also low in sodium and a plentiful source of phosphorus, iron, potassium, copper, and folate. Delicious eaten plainly in a comforting dhal or veggie soup, they are also a great way for ‘stretching’ a small amount of meat to create filling family meals for many mouths.

Try our lentil recipes:

Lentil Soup

Chicken and Lentil Stew

Lentil and Butternut Bobotie

Spicy Lentil-Stuffed Butternut


Eggs are a vastly under-rated superfood! Whether eaten boiled, scrambled, or poached, or in a quiche, omelette, frittata, or custard, eggs deliver almost every vital nutrient our bodies need. Research01 has shown that eggs represent the lowest-cost animal source of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, iron, and riboflavin, and the second-lowest cost source of zinc and calcium.

Try our egg recipes:

Curried Tomato Scrambled Eggs

Lentil and Boiled Egg Bredie

Aromat Chakalaka with Sunrise Eggs

Egg and Baked Bean Curry

Soya mince

This versatile, tasty meat substitute is another excellent budget ingredient that’s high in protein and a good source of fibre. Do you know that Knorrox, one of Unilever’s iconic South African brands, is now fortifying its soy-based mince with zinc? Combine soya mince with hearty flavourings to create nourishing plant-based family meals, or use it to bulk up stews, soups, and mince dishes to make meat go further.

Try our soya mince recipes:

Knorrox Soya Mince Lasagne

Spicy Soya Mince with Samp and Beans

Knorrox Roasted Butternut Stuffed with Soya Mince

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