Article by Dylan Costello
Winter is approaching and many of us will soon be turning to slightly heartier meals to provide some much-needed comfort as the temperatures drop. Preparing your meals doesn’t have to mean using loads of appliances, there are plenty of recipes that can be energy efficient while also providing us with that extra bit of energy as the days get shorter. We’ve pulled together some meal ideas that will help you keep your energy usage to a minimum and some of these ideas require no appliances at all!
Small changes to make a big difference:
Even small changes in our routines can help save energy this winter. While many of us like to start preparing our dinner once we get home from work, if we alter our cooking habits slightly and avoid cooking between 5-7pm we can greatly reduce the pressure on the national grid. This might be something we can keep in mind this winter as we look to reduce Ireland's overall energy costs. Thinking about what appliances we use with our cooking can also have a positive effect. An electric stove can cost €0.74 per hour while an air fryer can be a cheaper alternative at €0.56 per hour.
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and this is especially true over the winter! Here are a few ideas that can reduce your morning energy usage while providing you with that boost you need at the start of your day.
After a few long hours at work or school, lunch is a meal that we all look forward to. Planning out your lunch for the week can be a great way of saving money and cutting down on the amount of energy we use over lunchtime. Here are some delicious lunch ideas to consider over winter.
Salad: A salad is a super healthy option which can be made in just a few minutes and without even turning on your oven. A quick search online can give you loads of great options. Whether it’s a three-bean salad, a caprese salad or a Mediterranean salad with some tuna, salads are a great idea to keep you feeling healthy this winter. Leafy green salad recipe
Soup: Making a batch of soup at the beginning of the week can be a great option for a winter lunch and it can be heated up quickly in the microwave. You can get creative with the ingredients, and it can be a hearty lunch option which can also help in warming you up on a chilly day! Adding plenty of vegetables can be a healthy lunch option and why not pair it with some bread that is high in fibre to keep you feeling full. Mushroom soup recipe
A simple sandwich: While it might be the default lunch option for many of us, a sandwich doesn’t have to require any cooking at all and there are so many options to choose from. From vegetarian options to cold meats, it’s a quick and easy lunch that can be made before heading out on a winter’s day. Making your own sandwich can help you make additional savings, and the options are endless!
Dinner can be seen as the most time-consuming meal of the day, but this can be avoided with these handy tips that can also help keep your energy costs down. Appliances like an air fryer or a slow cooker can be great for making tasty meals and avoiding appliances with high energy costs like the electric stove. Here are some are tasty dinner options that will get the whole family to the table.
Stew: A traditional Irish favourite, a stew is a great option over the winter months. Consider your slow cooker for this meal, you can have this cooking as you go about your day, and this can help you to avoid using energy at peak times. There are loads of recipes for traditional Irish stews online so it’s an easy meal to prepare! Slow cooker beef stew recipe
Pulled pork: Slowly becoming a staple on many menus, pulled pork is easy to make at home using your slow cooker. There are loads of ways you can incorporate it into your dinner, from burgers to salads. If you have some left over, make sure to save it for some sandwiches the next day!
Cooking over winter doesn’t have to mean using lots of energy, these helpful tips will help keep you healthy and energy efficient over the festive period. Handy appliances like a slow cooker or an air fryer can make for a great Christmas present, and it might mean you even get treated to some of these delicious recipes!
To find more helpful information and tips, visit our Winter Ready section