A grandad claims he cooks healthy and homemade meals for four on a budget of just £25 a week – and he’s shared his tips.
Deit Deitreich-Briggs, 70, looks after his grandchildren five or six days a week from 7am to 6pm, plus a couple of nights, to enable his daughters to work.
The Birmingham pensioner loves to cook for Lacey, eight, Indie, six, and Zayn, six, and also collects them from school, helps them with homework and supports them during their out of school activities.
Running to a tight budget on his pension, Mr Deitreich-Briggs says he manages to feed the four of them for just £25 a week.
Among the dishes he prepares for the children, there are homemade fish and chips, pizza and mini toad in the holes, Birmingham Live reports.
At the weekend, the kids often like to help their grandad bake chocolate and vanilla cakes for them to eat during the week.
“I love having a close bond with my grandchildren and wouldn’t want it any other way,” the retired retail manager said.
“I’m proud of my daughters and their careers, and glad I can help them to have the lifestyles they need to be able to work and have children.
“I enjoy making all our food from scratch, ensuring it’s healthy and balanced, and teaching the children to cook too.”
Mr Deitreich-Briggs, from Erdington, Birmingham, is a widower so he cares for his grandchildren on his own.
“We have an extremely good breakfast every day and then they go off to school laughing and happy,” said Deit, “they are doing well and are happy, they’ve got that stability.”
They also do their homework every morning before going to school.
He gives them tea at 4pm then takes them to football, swimming and the gym before their parents come to collect them.
The 70-year-old, who is a yoga teacher, then goes to work.
Among his tips to cook healthy meals on a budget, Deit said it is important to plan and prepare ahead, make sure nothing is wasted.
Other tips include storing leftovers, shopping at value supermarkets, using honey instead of sugar and getting the kids a meal chart.
His daughter Amii Deitreich-Worthington, 39, is a corporate travel consultant and lives just down the road in Erdington.
She said: “My and my husband wouldn’t be able to both work full time without dad, he takes the pressure off us.
“It’s nice that the children have that special time with their grandad. When I was younger, I used to spend a lot of time with my nan.
“It’s great to have a different role model in your life who brings different ideas on how to do things.”
Amii, whose husband Ross works as a shift manager, added: “The children learn a lot from their grandad.
“He has more time than we do and helps them with their homework. It’s such a big pressure having to get homework done and trying to get to after school clubs when you’re working full time.
“It’s great that he makes sure they eat healthily too. We totally trust him to make the right decisions. When the kids are in his care, it’s his rules and what he wants to teach them.”
His daughter Zita Deitreich-Irving, 43, works as a part time legal secretary so her son Indie goes to his grandad’s three days a week.
On the days when she is not at work, Zita meets her dad, niece and nephew to do the school run together and she helps Deit take them swimming on a Monday too.
“Dad is a massive help, we wouldn’t be able to do it without him,” said Zita, who lives in Erdington and is married to Neil, a plumbing and heating engineer.
“It means by the time me and my husband get back from work, Indie has had his dinner and so he doesn’t have to wait to eat at 7pm at night.
“Dad was just the same with us when we were kids, he loves it. We love that he has that close bond with them and that the cousins see each other every day. When dad’s on holiday, Amii and I will still keep the kids together, sharing the childcare the way dad does.”
A points chart hangs on the wall in the kitchen and the children get points for eating all their dinner, helping out and using their manners.
They also get points deducted for bad behaviour or not doing their homework.
“We tally up the points at the end of the month and they get pocket money,” said Deit.
“It makes them really keen to help. I hear ‘can I lay the table Grandad, so I can get my point?’ It’s good for them to have an active interest – they’re keen to see the benefits of that. I think you make things tough or easy, I’ve always been resourceful.”
Breakfast: Cereal or porridge* or pancakes* cold breakfast is always accompanied by milk, Greek style yogurt, berries and or banana and honey plus juice. The hot food is served with berries and or banana with honey.
Lunch: Packed lunch for Lacey – sandwich on brown bread a small yogurt or biscuit a baby bell cheese plus a flavoured water – the other two have school dinners. During school holidays, Deit and the children make lunch together.
Dinner: Different daily, for example:
Monday – Ham* and cheese toasted flatbreads with salad and a cake* or biscuit plus cordial drink and a snack of brioche and a drink to take to swimming with Zita.
Tuesday – Chicken and veg pasta* with French bread and cake* or biscuit plus juice.
Wednesday – Mini toad in the hole steak pie* or chicken pie*, mash, mixed veg and gravy plus a cake* or biscuit and juice.
Thursday – Pizza* and salad and a snack to take to football which is usually a pain au chocolat* and a drink. Indie goes to gymnastics with his mum and home for dinner.
Friday – Chicken nuggets* or battered fish * and chips* followed by cake* or pancake*or biscuit plus a snack of brioche and drinks to take to gymnastics.
Saturday – Usually just breakfast and a snack for lunch.
* Asterisked items they are homemade from scratch. The children then go home and have some cookies and milk before they go to bed.
Total cost : Around £25 a week, which works out to approximately £6.25 each (Deit’s daughters contribute £20 per month each to help cover food bills).