Nutrition >

Frequently asked nutrition questions:

Eat well for less This nutrition article should also answer some of your questions about your family's diet.

So who is the average family you’ve designed this for?

We chose a family of four (2 adults and two teenage children), and assumed they were average heights and the right weight for their height, we assumed they did a moderate amount of exercise each day. Since we have based the planner on averages, you may find that you need to add more calories into the planner if you are very tall, heavier than average or if you do a great deal of sport, or subtract them by eating smaller portions or less snacks if your family are smaller or more sedentary than average or wish to lose weight.

Does the planner contain enough calcium?

We have assumed an average daily need of 1,000 mg daily, which our research showed had general consensus amongst health care professionals as being sufficient for 97% of individuals.

Really? I can only see a block of cheese and a drop of milk, but it’s for a whole month?

We couldn’t afford to meet your whole family’s calcium need using these more expensive foods, but the calcium is there. The instant oat cereal used in several of our recipes contains 1330 mg of calcium per 100g, whereas cheese contains just 739mg per 100g.

Does it contain my 5 a day?

Our monthly meal planner contains 680 fruit and vegetable portions, not including potatoes, and thus exceeds the government recommendations to eat an average of 5 a day. As we have built the planner with flexibility about which meals to eat when, you may find that some days will contain more than 5 and some days fewer. The government recommendations encourage people to plan meals taking this long-range perspective, i.e. seeing your family's consumption over a whole week or month, rather than a single day.

Where? I can only see a few fresh carrots...

Although this plan provides no fresh fruit to eat, your 5 a day are contained within the meals and snacks. 32% of the fruit and vegetable portions in our meal planner are fresh the rest comes from the dried, tinned and frozen ingredients. In dried fruit and vegetables the goodness is condensed, so much so that we need even fewer of these to count as a portion! Frozen and canned foods have the advantage of being picked and packed the same day. There is some evidence too that the way vegetables are canned can even increase their health giving benefits, with canned tomatoes being richer in antioxidants than their fresh counterparts, for example.

Is there enough fat / energy? Growing children need fat.

We have provided 32% of the calorie intake through fat, in keeping with current guidelines that fat should account for 20-35% of our daily intake. The plan is low in the harmful transfats and high in the good fats. We’ve also ensured that there’s enough energy to keep each member of your family going all day (between 2,000 and 3,000 calories per day each depending on gender and age).

So are we filling up on cheap white bread?

The bread is cheap, because it is homemade, we do not however feel this is an unhealthy choice, since white flour contains more calcium than brown/wholemeal flour. So we were happy to choose it since there is sufficient fibre in the meal planner. By having homemade bread, we are also ensuring the bread doesn’t contain harmful additives.

Am I getting enough calories?

The plans have been designed to provide three nutritionally balanced meals a day. However, some people will need more calories than this, for example men generally need more than women & of course ravenous teenagers, who are growing quickly. For those who need more, we have therefore included a range of snacks that can be eaten at any time in accordance with your family's requirements, to ensure that sufficient food is available to meet your family's requirements. As stated elsewhere, we are assuming an average family using widely available nutritional information & if you are concerned about your family's nutritional requirements we would suggest that you seek professional advice.
Eat well for less

So are you nutrition experts?

No, but we take a great deal of care to ensure our recipes and meal planners meet government recommended daily amounts (RDAs) for vitamins and minerals. We have extensively researched the month’s shopping list. None of our team are dietitians and we do not make any claims that we are giving you medical or dietary advice, but we have attempted where possible to take account of health care professionals advice.

Of course no recipe website will have analysed each micro nutrient eaten at every meal, but we are currently happy that the plans as a whole which we are offering to families who want to greatly reduce their food costs, is a nutritionally balanced one. Our team are always looking at research evidence though, and will change our recipes and meal plans accordingly.

Health Disclaimer

This website provides recipe information, meal planning suggestions and content published over the Internet and is intended only to assist users in their personal meal planning efforts. Cheap Family Recipes is not a medical organisation and our volunteers cannot give you medical advice. Nothing contained in this website should be construed as such advice. The information provided by us should not be interpreted as a substitute for doctor or specialist consultation, evaluation, or treatment.

You are urged and advised to seek medical advice before beginning any meal plan which is different from your family's usual diet. This website is intended for use only by healthy individuals. The website advice is not intended for use by pregnant women, or individuals with any type of health condition. Such individuals are specifically warned to seek professional medical advice prior to initiating any new meal plan.

Before commencing this meal plan, you should make sure that you are not underweight.