Healthy living may seem expensive. With a little planning and know how, it's possible to eat very well on a budget.
Our tips will help keep your food bill low and your diet healthy. Give them a go.
Plan your meals
Meal planning’s at the heart of budget-friendly eating. Spending time thinking about your meals for the next few days and noting them down can save you pounds every week, spending only money on foods you need and not wasting money on stuff that ends up in the bin!
It also saves you time shopping because you know exactly what to buy.
- Don’t make your meal plan too restrictive, as this makes it hard to maintain. Allow a little wiggle room for foods you enjoy.
- Include breakfast in your meal plan. Breakfast is a great opportunity to incorporate some inexpensive, healthy foods into your diet such as oats and frozen fruits. You won’t opt for unhealthy, expensive snacks mid-morning either.
- Use leftovers when planning your lunch for the next day, so there’s less cooking, food waste and shopping.
- Think about portion sizes. Buy only what you need – to avoid eating more than you need or waste.
- Go for a healthy balance. As a guide, fill half your plate with vegetables, a quarter with healthy carbohydrates and a quarter with lean proteins such as beans, pulses, fish and lean meat. Learn more about a heart-healthy diet.
- Pack up at home. Prepare salads, sandwiches or soups at home and take them with you when you need to eat out of the house. Cheaper, and probably healthier, than buying a sandwich deal or getting lunch in the work canteen.
Using your meal plan write a shopping list. Only buy items on the list. It’s difficult to stick to your plan when there’s so much choice available in attractive packaging. Our tips may help:
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach.
- Don’t browse, head straight to the foods on the list.
- Shopping with children? Involve them, by playing games that help you stick to your shopping list by getting them to tick items off as you put them in the trolley.
- Online shopping’s a great way to avoid temptation.
- Look for offers on items on your shopping list but don’t be tempted by “buy one get one free” offers for items you don’t need. It’s false economy if the food ends up binned or they are in place of healthier items on your list.
- Go for own brands. When choosing between brands for a specific food, own brands are often cheaper, but check the price per 100g, normally shown on a label on the shop shelf.
- Offers that fit with your plan. Shopping towards the end of the day may mean there are extra offers available on foods on your lists, or foods you could easily swap in. Consider offers on foods approaching their ‘best before’, ‘sell by’ or ‘use by’ dates. Only go for these offers if they’re on your list or you can use them in an imminent meal.
- Check the labels. Use the front and back of pack labelling to compare products and opt for the healthiest options. Go for the healthier option even if it’s a few pennies more. Some packaged foods have colour coded labelling. Choose foods with more green and less red on the label that are healthier.
More information can be found here.