We’ve all heard about the benefits of healthy eating but the worry is that it’s expensive to maintain.
The weekly food shop seems to be getting more and more expensive and it can put a lot of pressure on household budgets.
But eating a healthy, varied diet doesn’t mean buying the most expensive foods – there are plenty of cheap, nutritious and delicious foods available that you can make healthy meals from.
Here are a few tips to help make your money stretch a bit further.
Stock up on healthy cupboard foods that help bulk up meals
Look for special offers on long shelf-life products like dried pasta, rice and noodles, dried or tinned beans and pulses, tinned tomatoes, passata, tomato concentrate and cereals. These can be used to help bulk up your meals and make them go further.
Buy cheaper cuts of meat
Buying cheaper cuts such as chicken thighs or drumsticks instead of chicken breast can still be healthy and tasty. A whole chicken is also good value, especially if you use it for more than one meal. Mince is also a popular ingredient, versatile and inexpensive – just remember to drain the fat off before adding other ingredients! Asking the butcher for cuts like shin of beef, lamb neck or pork chump can also save you money compared to the more expensive cuts. Cheaper cuts of meat tend to need longer cooking times but can also be the tastiest! And look out for special offers on buying extra and pop them in your freezer for another time.
Canned oily fish such as sardines and salmon can be cheaper than buying fresh fish. They are high in omega-3 fats which can help to keep the heart healthy, plus they are easy to prepare and have a long shelf-life. Opt for ones in spring water to keep the salt content to a minimum. Frozen fish is often very good value and can be added to a range of dishes.
Consider frozen or canned fruit and veg
Check the frozen and canned fruit and vegetable section for cheaper items. Frozen vegetables tend to be cheaper than fresh varieties and freezing preserves nutrients so that some frozen vegetables provide more of certain nutrients than fresh versions. You can use them when you want without them going off, which cuts down on waste. Remember to check supermarket own brand and economy ranges – these are often cheaper than branded items.
Top tip: Avoid canned fruits and vegetables which have added sugar or salt and opt for those in fruit juice or water instead.
Fresh fruit and vegetables can be cheaper if you buy them from your local greengrocers rather than supermarkets. If you do buy from the supermarket, consider buying loose fruits and vegetables, which can be much cheaper than pre-packaged ones. Fresh fruit and vegetables in season are often cheaper as well and can taste great!
Write a shopping list
Draw up a weekly meal plan using up ingredients you already have and make a shopping list of any missing items.
Try not to shop when hungry. People who shop when hungry are more likely to spend more, especially on less healthy foods, such as high-fat and sugary snacks.
The average family with children throws away almost £60 of good food every month. Be strict about buying only what you’ll actually eat. Plan your meals so all the ingredients on your list get used. Freeze any unused food. Food storage bags and boxes will come in handy.
Eat leftovers for lunch
Cook extra portions for your evening meal so you can have the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Any leftovers can be frozen for another day. Eventually, you’ll have a freezer full of homemade ready meals on tap.
For some delicious healthy meal ideas and recipes – check out our family cooking section below.