What will I need to buy?
Protein in particular, you will need to purchase enough protein rich food, so that over several days you can give yourself a fairly constant stream of protein while you have symptoms. Protein should probably be about half of what you intake while treating malnutrition, gradually working down to the 30% of your diet recommended normally. Nuts, fish, beans, chicken, eggs. At this point it is not about gradually getting used to liking protein filled foods, you are taking protein as medicine here. Don’t worry to much about meal combinations, you may find yourself eating the fish out of the tin you need its contents so quickly. Tinned fish is by far the most fantastic thing you can buy right now, chicken and turkey and red meat is comparatively expensive.
It is worth aiming for about 70-100g of protein a day in your shopping and having a think about the cheapest ways to do that. You will be able to reduce this after you have treated your malnutrition. I found nuts, eggs, tinned fish, chicken and turkey pieces, and chickens reduced to clear from the rotisserie, are the cheapeast ways to do this. Processed meat will not do here.
An egg contains about 6g of protein, a tin of tuna will provide somewhere between 20-25g of protein, 23 almonds is 6g very easily absorbed, nutrient dense protein.
If you can spend £20 on carefully chosen protein rich foods to last a week, you will be well on the way to treating malnutrition properly and decisively.
Eggs. Buy them by the tray from a butcher, local shop, catering supplier, egg=map- anything-= there will be a way locally to buy eggs by the tray, cheaply. I buy mine for £3 a tray of 3 dozen.
Finding the cheapest way to buy nuts is also a very very good idea right now, if you can get a kg online cheaper than buying several £1-2 a bags in Lidl, then order one if you possibly can. Nuts are very likely to be one of the routines you adopt to prevent future episodes. Unsalted, and broken nuts can be bought fairly cheaply in bulk from food-co=ops, baking suppliers but are a financial commitment you may not be able to make right now. Fruit and nut mixes feature on the smart and value ranges in most major supermarkets.
You will need fruit and vegetables. Lots of fruit and vegetables.
Carrots and potatoes make good carbohydrates, onions are packed with vitamins, but you will also need leafy greens, and a variety of other fruits and vegetables you are able to prepare quickly, or eat raw. Packed lunch bags of fruit, seconds fruit. Buy what’s in season, and avoid the supermarket and you will get a great deal of fruit and veg for a small amount of money. Saying that Value Bananas are your friend, it is worth visiting Asda or Tesco for those.
If you can spend about £15 on a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables for this purpose, you will be in good stead, and will be able to include large bags of potatoes, carrots, onions, and plenty of fruit. A vegetables like cauliflower can give up enough raw veg snacks to last a day or two.
If you can add to that with another £6-7 spent on things to bolster your fruit intake, that would be great. Dried fruit especially, frozen veg, tinned fruit, tinned vegetables like sweet corn, and even cheap fruit juice from concentrate are all good here. These things are extremely cheap from budget supermarkets, cash and carrys and asian supermarkets, do not buy from people who charge a fortune for food with health benefits. They are ripping you off.
The important thing here is variety and enough fruit and vegetables to form a good proportion of what you eat after protein for the duration of this. Normally, fruit and vegetables should be about half your diet, and normally you don’t have to consume protein like a weight lifter. Dried apricots, raisins and prunes will help with any backing up caused by your newfound love of protein…..
This is a very very important bit of your budget, choose wisely here and you make your life a lot easier. You need a fat that is versatile and can be adapted to lots of uses. Sunflower oil is cheap but really useless outside frying and doesn’t add a nice flavour to anything, but you can buy bottles for about 50p. Lard is very very cheap and very good for cooking, baking, and frying, but not good eaten raw or on sandwiches and smells too much to reuse. Butter is amazingly versatile and you should buy a pack, even if you dont use it as your key fat, it is too expensive to be your key fat and quality matters here.
Mayonnaise is cheap and edible calories and brilliant for your purposes right now, it is one of the key ingredients for malnutrition calpol. Olive oil is versatile, good for dressings, enriching food, cooking, and works out very cost effective. You should try to buy two types of fat or more. I would guess you would need to be spending about £3 at least on fats, money wasted here on spreads etc is money wasted.
Here is where you to save money. This is where you get the opportunity to buy staples. 1kg of porridge oats for 75p, a bag of 7.5kg potatoes for 3.99 can come from your veg budget, budget bags of 1kg of pasta are available for less than £1, rice is available in many a cheap and splendid form. But big bags so you have energy available during the week. Not all carbohydrates are created equal though. If you can have two or three types of carbohydrate rich staples you will not regret it, endless porridge is too much. Alternating with rice, pasta, or mashed potato(potatoes are extraordinarily useful right now) helps a lot.
You will need carbohydrates with whole grains and puleses, that help you digest, back up your protein battle and give you minerals and vitamins you need, and give you slow burning energy because you are consuming a LOT of protein and your body is going to struggle. Good quality carbohydrates like oats and potatoes, not only give you long slow burning energy, their consumption makes the protein fest a lot easier to deal with.
Two litres of whole milk worked into your diet somewhere each day, will give you over 1400 calories. Budget supermarkets often do loss leaders on milk, so 2litres can be bought for £1, my corner shop does 2l for £1.25. If you can commit to fresh milk every day for the two weeks, even if it isn’t an entire 2l, you will be doing great.
These are good things to enrich with, if you can push to as many of these things as you can afford, you will help yourself a great deal. Grated cheese in bags, and the mozarellas, and faux regional cheeses available for just over a quid a block help. Sour cream is amazing, cream is also very reasonable and you can sour it yourself, and evaporated milk is cheap. Any of these you can buy, you will use.