I often hear people complaining that healthy eating is expensive, or using that as a deterrent against switching to a healthier lifestyle. I can confidently call my food choices healthy – at least most of the time – but I also have a strict family budget to maintain. It is possible to eat healthy on a budget, thanks to a few simple swaps – some of which save calories, too!
Diet Tips That Save Money, Too
#1. Plan your meals. Dedicate 15 minutes once a week to sit down and plan your evening meals. Write a shopping list of ingredients and stick to it. That way, once in store, you won’t be tempted with unhealthy meal-deal offers and food you won’t get round to eating.
#2. Check your schedule – Working late or have activities planned for tea-time in the coming week? Plan ahead and cook a double-batch one evening prior. A spare homemade bolognese in the fridge or freezer can be a quick ready meal when plans go awry and will save you reaching for the takeaway menu. You waistline and bank balance will thank you.
#3. Poke around the fridge. How many times have you bought something because you can’t remember if you have it already? (That is the reason I have 3 jars of chilli powder in my cupboards right now). When planning your meals, have a poke around the fridge, freezer and cupboards and take stock of what you already have. When planning your meals, try and incorporate as much of what you already have into the coming week’s menu.
#4. Shop around. Do you tend to stick with just one supermarket for your weekly shop? Shop around! For example, Aldi’s have some terrific prices on their Weekly Super 6 fruits and veggies at just 69p. I struggle to do an entire shop there, but it’s worth a quick trip at these prices.
#5. Buy ingredients, not products. It’s cheaper (and healthier) to buy raw ingredients and cook food yourself than buying pre-packaged meals, snacks, and other food items. The more food you cook from scratch, the more money you’ll save. An added bonus – you know what all the ingredients are, and you can avoid mystery additives, preservatives and an abundance of fats and sugars.
#6. Bulk out meals with extra veggies. Not only will they be extra healthy, but meals stretch further too. Pop that extra portion in the fridge or freezer for a healthy fast-food / microwave meal on nights when you are running late. This is especially easy with meaty / saucey type meals.
#7. Use up leftovers. Having roast chicken on Sunday? Don’t throw away those leftovers! Chicken salad, risotto, pasta bake – are all quick and easy mid-week meals to make the most of those tasty leftovers. Got spare veggies? Think Spanish omelette or bubble & squeak for lunch the next day.
#8 Popcorn. If you avoid the sugary butterscotch varieties, popcorn can be a great low-calorie snack. But why buy overpriced microwave popcorn when you can throw some kernels in a paper bag and zap it in the microwave. Cost: pennies.
#9. Fresh berries can be very expensive, especially when they are out of season. Check out the freezer aisle for frozen fruit – frozen berries cost much less and they’re just as nutritious for you. Frozen fruit is perfect for smoothies and sorbets, as well as in baking homemade muffins etc. Plus, with frozen berries, you don’t have to worry about eating them before they go bad – just take what you want, when you want.
#10. Instant porridge oats. I loved those sachets of golden syrup porridge that you just add hot water / milk to and microwave – until I learned how sugary and expensive they were compared to regular porridge oats. Instead, switch to a far more economical bag of regular oats and make your own. Try overnight oats, too – they’re delicious!
Do you have any healthy money-saving tips to share?
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