Family who spent £220 on weekly shop save £1,000 in Eat, Shop, Save

Family-of-four who follow vegetarian and vegan diets and spent £220 a week on groceries save £1,000 in a month by ditching processed meat substitutes for natural ingredients on Eat, Shop, Save

  • The Glen family, from Newton Abbot, Devon, spent £220 on weekly groceries
  • Saved more than £1,000 when on ITV’s Eat, Shop, Save, which aired last night 
  • Mother Jena also dropped a dress size after ditching twice-daily protein shakes
  • Meat-free family-of-four swap pricey alternatives for natural plant-based foods

A meat-free family-of-four who spent £220 on their weekly groceries saved more than £1,000 in eight weeks simply by swapping expensive and highly processed fake meats for all natural plant-based foods instead.

Skin care clinic receptionist Jena Glen, her recruitment manager husband Aaron, and their two children Louis, 18, and Rory, 13, from Newton Abbot, Devon, appeared on the second episode of ITV’s Eat, Shop Save – which aired last night at 7.30pm.

The Glens, who adopted a vegetarian diet three years ago, with Louis going vegan, admitted they no longer felt like a family as they didn’t eat the same dishes, making mealtimes a nightmare.

But with the help of presenter Ranvir Singh and her team of professionals – including a nutritionist, savvy shopper and fitness consultant – the Glens saved more than £1,000 after their eight week challenge, while mother Jena dropped a dress size and her partner Aaron lost five pounds.

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A meat-free family-of-four (the Glens, pictured above) who spent £220 on their weekly groceries saved more than £1,000 in eight weeks simply by swapping expensive and highly processed fake meats for all natural plant-based foods instead

Skin care clinic receptionist Jena Glen (pictured right with her eldest son and a shopping expert), her recruitment manager husband Aaron, and their two children Louis, 18, and Rory, 13, from Newton Abbot, Devon, appeared on the second episode of ITV’s Eat, Shop Save

The Glens, who adopted a vegetarian, and vegan diet for Louis, three years ago, admitted they no longer felt like a family as they didn’t eat the same dishes, making mealtimes a nightmare. Pictured, Aaron, left, with a fitness coach

When Ranvir first met the Glens in March, they said they were stuck in a rut and wanted to feel like a family again.

Despite all following a meat free diet, no one was eating the same dishes, making mealtimes a nightmare, and their food shopping was adding up to £220 each week thanks to expensive substitute products.

Speaking ahead of the challenge, dad Aaron said: ‘It would be great to make us feel like a family again. It’s always four different meals, our meal times are just hell to be honest.’

His 18-year-old son Louis, who is preparing to head off to university, admitted: ‘I’d say in general I feel quite unhappy with the food in this house,’ while Rory said: ‘I quite miss [having time as a family].’

Jena and Aaron explained that fake meat products were a ‘big thing in our house’ since the dad isn’t a fan of vegetables, while his wife confessed she had ‘no passion about what I’m eating’.

‘I made something the other day and [Jena] liked all the ingredients but you put it together and she said: “I don’t like it, I don’t know why,” Aaron recalled before confessing: ‘It’s so frustrating.’ 

Jena Glen’s diet before  

Breakfast: Protein shake – 447 calories, 18.8g

Lunch: Protein shake – 447 calories, 18.8g

Evening Meal: Rice cakes and peanut butter – 703 calories

Snacks: Chocolate and fruit – 493 calories, 61.8g

 

Jena Glen’s diet after 

Breakfast: Porridge and blueberries – 298 calories, 14.6g sugar

Lunch: Avocado on toast with tomatoes, onion and basil – 402 calories, 4.1g sugar

Evening Meal: Either lemongrass dahl curry, meat-free lasagne or hummus and red pepper wraps

Snacks: Dark chocolate, nuts and fruit – 302 calories 7.4g sugar

But with the help of presenter Ranvir Singh and her team of professionals – including a nutritionist, savvy shopper and fitness consultant – the Glens saved more than £1,000 after their eight week challenge, while mother Jena (pictured) dropped a dress size and her partner Aaron lost five pounds

To tackle the food fallouts, top chef Dale Pinnock is sent in to help with Jena’s diet, which he says concerns him the most out of the family.

Her daily diet consists of weight-loss shakes for breakfast and lunch, rice cakes with peanut butter for her evening meal and fruit and chocolate as snacks in-between.

But despite not eating any ‘proper meals’, Dale reveals that Jena is slightly exceeding the recommended daily calorie intake for a woman, which is 2,000 calories, by 90 calories.   

The powder that she was putting in her shakes on its own adds up to around 365 calories a day – more than a cheeseburger from Burger King or McDonalds. 

Dale prepares healthy swaps that Jena, and her family, can embrace – such as porridge, avocado on toast, dark chocolate, nuts, and fruit for snacks, and lentil-based meals, including lemongrass dahl curry, meat-free lasagne and hummus and red pepper wraps.

Elsewhere in the programme, savvy shopping expert Kate Hardcastle challenged herself to take the £25 that the family normally spent each week on 36 portions of meat substitute products, and see how much further it can go. 

When Ranvir (pictured right, with the family, left) first met the Glens in March, they said they were stuck in a rut and wanted to feel like a family again

Despite all following a meat free diet, no one was eating the same dishes, making mealtimes a nightmare. Pictured, Aaron Glen

For less than £25 Kate managed to buy around 150 portions of natural plant based ingredients, leaving the family stunned.

Then to help with dad Aaron’s need for more exercise and motivation in his life, the programme saw personal trainer Tom Pitfield encourage him to start running twice a week. 

‘Now I’m exercising because I’m wanting to, not because I feel forced to do it. We don’t need a £30 a month gym membership,’ Aaron said after his experience. 

Two weeks into the Glen family’s Eat Shop Save challenge, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK and the country went into lockdown. 

Both Jena and Aaron were furloughed, and Louis’ university plans were thrown into uncertainty – but the Glens pulled together to find positives in their situation and put their time to good use as a family. 

Following the challenge, mealtimes for the family now see everyone getting involved in the making and then sit down together to enjoy the dish.

The family’s food shopping was adding upto £220 each week thanks to expensive substitute products before appearing on the show. Pictured, Aaron , seen left, with a fitness expert

‘Food has now sort of united us as a family,’ admitted Jena, who stuck to her diet and cut out the weight-loss shakes.

Thanks to this change, the mother-of-two dropped a dress size, while Aaron’s new exercising routine saw him lose five pounds.

‘Ditch the diet shakes and lose some weight, it’s ironic isn’t it,’ quipped Aaron, before explaining how different mealtimes are now: ‘I was very much on my own previously but now the boys get involved, Jena gets involved.’

Viewers were impressed with the family’s dedication, with one person calling them ‘inspiring’ while praising their efforts

‘The planning makes a massive difference, it’s saved us time, money, headaches, tears, it’s been great,’ he added.

Louis confessed: ‘I’ve definitely learnt that if you go for the basic ingredients of rice, chip peas, lentils and vegetables, then it actually isn’t that expensive.’ 

The family revealed at the end of the programme that they had saved just over £1,000, with Jena saying: ‘It’s a massive saving… shocking. We never expected it to be more than a few hundred really.’

Viewers were impressed with the family’s dedication, with one person calling them ‘inspiring’ while praising their efforts. 

Eat, Shop, Save, ITV Thursday’s 7:30pm 

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