How to eat seafood on a budget
January 15, 2024
With food prices rising, it’s easy to see seafood as an unnecessary luxury and start cutting it out of your diet. But let’s bust that myth – there are plenty of ways for savvy seafood lovers to still enjoy their fish dishes (and get all the nutritional benefits) without breaking the bank.
Here are our favourite ways to enjoy seafood while reducing your food bill.
❄️ Buy frozen, not fresh – frozen seafood has the same nutritional benefits as fresh, but lasts much longer and typically costs less – win win! For bigger savings, look for larger packs of individually frozen fish that you can defrost fillets from as and when you need them.
Keeping a supply of seafood in the freezer is also really helpful on those days when you need to whip up a speedy dinner – a salmon fillet takes less than 30 minutes to bake in the oven and is simply delicious with a squeeze of lemon, boiled potatoes and some leafy greens.
🥫 Stock up on tinned fish – if you think tinned fish is just for tuna sandwiches, think again! Tinned seafood is a great budget-friendly cooking hack that can help you get the protein and Omega 3s you need while still saving your pennies. It has a long shelf life so it’s super convenient, and it can be used in all sorts of fish dishes.
🧑🍳 Embrace batch cooking – batch cooking is the best way to create family meals on a budget and simultaneously take the pressure off your week! Stews, sauces, soups, baked pasta dishes and curries are great options for batch cooking as they typically freeze well.
To be a batch cooking pro look out for supermarket offers when you do your shopping. For instance, if you find salmon on sale, use it to whip up a large batch of Salmon Chowder and freeze it in portions so you have hearty and healthy dinners on demand for the coming week.
Extra money saving tip – if you have a fishmonger or fish counter in your local supermarket that sells fish at reduced prices when it’s approaching its sell-by date, snap up that seafood for batch cooking or freezing to enjoy later.
🐟 Look beyond fillets – fillets are the easiest way to prepare and enjoy fish so they tend to be the most expensive option. Look beyond these to a world of exciting and inexpensive seafood! Some fishmongers will sell offcuts or irregular shaped fish pieces at reduced prices, and these are amazing for fish pies, soups, stews and curries like our Coconut Fish Curry Soup.
Whole fish are also a great option as they are often cheaper than the equivalent amount of filleted fish. You can either cook your fish whole as we did in our Mediterranean Oven Roasted Sea Bass or fillet it yourself. This might feel intimidating but filleting a fish is simple if you know how – check out our trout filleting video for a step by step guide. Remember to keep the fish bones for making stock that you can then use to add flavour to soups or risotto.
📋 Meal plan – having a plan for your week’s meals is an easy way to keep costs down. It means you have a clear shopping list for your trip to the grocery store and avoids unexpected costs and stress from deciding what to eat day by day. Try to factor in two portions of oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, anchovies and sardines into your meal plan, and use the other hacks in this article to reduce your grocery bill.
💰 Get familiar with less popular fish – well known fish like salmon tend to be pricey, but broadening your fish cooking to include lesser known types of fish can be a gamechanger when it comes to enjoying seafood on a budget.
Look out for basa or tilapia, which both cost less than salmon but are delicious and really versatile. We love Baked Tilapia with Greek salsa and yoghurt sauce and this family friendly recipe for Basa Fish Tacos, which is a protein-packed alternative to the traditional beef version. Seafood like mussels and clams can also be inexpensive ways to get plenty of protein into your diet.
🥣 Learn to love leftovers – reducing food waste helps save money as well as the planet! Leftover seafood can be added to soups, pasta dishes, sandwiches and salads to help it go further.
There are plenty of ways to reduce the cost of your grocery shop without missing out on eating seafood dishes. Just be sure to look for the sea-green ASC label when you shop to be sure your seafood has been raised responsibly.
So what will you have for dinner? For fish dish inspiration, take a look at our recipe collection, and follow us on Instagram where we share cooking tips and recipes to help make seafood a bigger part of your family’s diet.