Christmas has snuck up on us once again, and the huge holiday looms ahead. As much as Christmas is a joyful time, it’s also a stressful time and money problems can really add to this stress.

In the run up to the festive season, has some food tricks to share that will help save you money while keeping you and the whole family healthy. Remember, look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.

1. Lentils

Lentils are an inexpensive addition to any of your meals. If you’re making 3 portions worth of spaghetti Bolognese at a time, add lentils and you will bulk up your meal enough to create 4 or even 5 portions. And they’re very, very good for you. 380 grams of red lentils are only 65p from Sainsbury’s and will be an excellent addition to your chilli, curry and spaghetti dishes.

2. Porridge

As the winter months set in, now is a good time to ditch the cereals and pick up some porridge. Unlike cereal, there is no added sugar to porridge oats so it is much better for you than Special K. If you add a banana a day, you’ll be full until lunch time.

Top tip: branded porridge tastes exactly the same as unbranded and you can find 1kg at Morrisons for just 75p.

3. Tofu

Tofu can be a bit of a minefield but once you have a read of this guide, you’ll be able to get your head round how to cook with it and which type to choose. The fact is, it’s a very inexpensive substitute to meat with a much longer shelf life and it’s much better for you. You can find tofuin Asda for £1.25. Bargain.

And have a look at these recipe ideas to get you going.

4. New potatoes

Low in fat and rich in vitamin B1 which helps with healthy heart function, new potatoes are a great way of bulking up any meal, keeping you full and healthy. They’re also inexpensive with a pack of 540g from Morrisons costing just 60p.

Check out these new potato recipes for inspiration.

5. Cauliflower

Believe it or not, cauliflower is one of the more versatile vegetables. Not only is it good to have as a side to a dish, but with the help of a blender you can make cauliflower rice. It’s quick, healthy and cheaper than normal rice and will fill you up. You can get a cauliflower for around 80p in all of the UK supermarkets which would make around 4 portions of cauliflower rice.

Have a look at this enlightening guide to making cauliflower rice.