If cost is discouraging you from trying to make changes to your diet then read on: healthy eating doesn’t have to cost more.
Use 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.
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 that all ingredients on your list get used. Freeze any unused food.
Eat leftovers for lunch
Cook extra portions for your evening meal so that 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.
Frozen fruit and vegetables are underrated. They come pre-chopped and ready to use, are just as good for you (try to avoid those with added salt, sugar or fat), and are often cheaper than fresh varieties.
Eat more veg
Meat and fish are typically the most expensive food ingredients on a shopping list. How about adding vegetables to meat dishes such as casseroles to make your meals go further? Or try a few vegetarian meals during the week to keep costs down?
Cook with pulses
Pulses, such as beans, lentils and peas, are some of the cheapest foods on the supermarket shelf. These pulses are low in calories and fat but packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals and also count towards your 5 A DAY.
Use them in dishes to replace some of the chicken or meat, such as a chilli con carne with kidney beans or a chicken curry with chickpeas.
Buy cheaper cuts
If you’re prepared to take a little more time with your cooking, buying cheaper cuts of meat is a great way to save money. Choosing a cheaper cut of meat, such as braising steak, shin or shoulder, doesn’t mean missing out on a tasty meal.
Slow cooking gradually breaks down the fibres in cheaper cuts, giving great taste at a lower cost.
Eat smaller portions
Try eating smaller portions by saying no to a second helping or using smaller plates. You’ll have more left over for lunch the next day and your waistline may benefit, too!
Try weighing or measuring out staples such as pasta and rice when cooking to stay in control of portion size and reduce waste.
Cook from scratch
Save money by cutting back on takeaways. Preparing and cooking your own meals is generally cheaper than buying a takeaway or a ready meal, and because it’s easier to control what goes in to your dish, it can be healthier.
Buy chicken whole
The cheapest way to buy chicken is to buy a whole chicken. From a whole chicken, you’ll get two breasts, two thighs, drumsticks and wings, plus a carcass for making stock.
Consider using the deli counter for cheese and cured meats. You can get exact amounts, which is cheaper and less wasteful.
Cut down on luxuries
If your regular shopping basket tends to include fizzy drinks, crisps, snack bars, biscuits and cakes, try trimming down on these non-essential items. Many of these are high in sugar and fat so you’ll be doing your waistline as well as your bottom line a favour. They can also contain a lot of salt.
Think about cheaper and healthier alternatives – such as sparkling water and fruit juice instead of cola, or fruit and plain yoghurt.
Kids eat the same
If you’ve got a toddler in tow, get them used to eating the same meals as you instead of relying on costly pre-prepared toddler food. Simply blend or chop up their portion to suit their age and freeze extra child-sized portions for later. Make sure not to add any salt to their portions and be careful with spicy food.
Eating healthy certainly doesn’t have to cost more but it involves a little bit more thought. Save pounds and lose pounds by planning ahead!
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