Feeding your family on a budget
Meat and fish
Meat and fish
The freezer is your friend
Made too much? Leftovers can go into the freezer – you can defrost them when you haven’t got time to make a meal from scratch.
You could also try cooking batches of food and freezing unused portions. Chilli and pasta bakes are all good batch cooking meals. It might take 30 minutes one day to make, but only minutes to reheat in the microwave!
Help with the cost of feeding your family
Free School Meals
Children in Primary 1 to Primary 3
Every child in Scotland at a local council school can get free school lunches during term-time in primary 1, 2 and 3. This applies to all children in these years.
Children and young people above Primary 3
You will continue to receive free school meals for your child after primary 3 if you meet eligibility criteria. Information about eligibility for free school meals is available here.
Glasgow City Council and Inverclyde Council also give free school meals to all children in primary 4. If your child is in primary 4 at any school in those areas and is not receiving them, please contact the school as soon as possible.
Free school meals during the school holidays
The Scottish Government has confirmed that free school meals, or alternatives such as cash payments or vouchers, will be given to eligible families during the Christmas holiday, the February mid-term holiday and the Easter holiday in the current school year. Your local council, or your child’s school, will make arrangements to get those to you. You can find contact details for your local council here.
Best Start Foods
Best Start Foods is a payment card you can use to buy healthy food for you and your child. It’s for use when you’re pregnant or have children who are 3 or under and you receive certain benefits. Find out what your family is entitled to on our page about Best Start Grant.
Community Food Co-operative Programmes
Community Food Co-operative Programmes across Britain provide affordable fruit and vegetables to communities. For further information go to Sustain's website.
Scottish Welfare Fund
The budget for the Scottish Welfare Fund has been more than doubled to ensure it can meet the needs of those facing financial crisis as a result of the impacts of COVID-19. There is guidance on how to apply for a Crisis Grant in your area.
Food banks and other community support
Local community groups across the country are providing extra help with food and other essentials for families who might be struggling. To find out what’s available in your area contact your local Third Sector Interface.