It’s no secret that healthy foods are more expensive than processed and packaged foods. And with the rising living costs, how can you afford to eat healthy on a budget?
According to Foodfoundation.org and their Broken Plate 2021 survey, healthy foods are nearly three times the amount of less healthy foods.
That’s why I’ve put together my top tips for creating cheap healthy meals. While still allowing you to be spontaneous! You don’t have to follow a strict plan and schedule your meals (or only buy what’s on your list!) to save money on food.
Can you eat healthy on a low budget?
Yes! You can absolutely eat healthily on a low budget, but it does need a little bit of planning. That doesn’t mean not being allowed to be spontaneous. There are a few little tricks that I love to use to help save money, while still eating whole foods that are nutritious.
How can I eat healthy on a budget for one person?
If you find food shopping a struggle when you’re cooking for one person, it doesn’t have to be. Cooking for one can give you a great opportunity to cook for two (or more!).
Batch cooking is a great way to make healthy meals cheap and use them as leftovers for lunch or another dinner. Most meals can be safely frozen to be used at a later date. Cook once, eat twice! As a lazy cook myself, I know it can be hard to motivate yourself to create a healthy meal when you’ve had a busy day. But with leftovers, it makes it much easier!
If you want to be able to eat healthy on a budget without cooking, then learning to read ingredients is key! And if you’re stuck for ideas, here is a week’s worth of recipes to help get you started.
8 tips to save money on your food shop
Everyone’s budget is different, but there are plenty of ways to eat healthily while still being pocket friendly. These 8 tips can help you keep within your budget.
1: Make a shopping list
You’ve probably heard this before right? But making a shopping list can help you stay focused on what you need to buy. Imagine walking into your grocery store without a list? How tempting are all the foods on the shelves with their buy one get one free offer?!
When you’re in the store a great way to keep a check on your spending is using a fast track scanner, so you’re scanning as you shop. Not only does it mean you pack your shopping as you go. ( Also less stressful than having to fill your trolley, unload your trolley, and pack it into bags at super speed as it comes flying down the conveyor belt!).
2: Shop online
Adding on to shopping with a list, have you tried getting your food shopping delivered?
When grocery shopping online, there is much less temptation from the unhealthy foods and offers of processed, packaged foods. Plus you can monitor what you’re spending instead of being shocked by the final bill when you reach the till.
Some supermarkets will also show you cheaper options (if available) for items in your basket.
3: Consider plant-based proteins
Meat can be expensive, especially good quality meat. So substituting meat for plant-based proteins like legumes can be a cheap way of adding protein to your meals.
Legumes can be part of a highly nutritious diet. And according to research, evidence shows they can help prevent and manage a number of chronic conditions including type 2 diabetes.
4: Frozen fruit and vegetables
Most frozen fruit and veg are frozen right after being picked, so they still contain plenty of nutritional value.
Some fruits and vegetables are cheaper to buy frozen plus you’re getting a larger quantity that has a long best before date.
5: Meal prep and freeze
Batch cooking and having meals prepared can help when you’ve had a really long day and the last thing you want to do is cook. It means there are always options for you. By spending one to two hours of your free time you could create a couple of healthy meals that you could enjoy across the rest of the week or month.
6: Find out when shops reduce items
I’ve been into our local Co-op plenty of times and picked up reduced fruit and vegetables. Most of the time there’s a day or two left on the best before date, but occasionally it’s been the same day. Buying reduced fruit and veg can save you money. But if you’re not going to eat them that day you can cut them up and freeze them for use on another day. (Quick note: some fruit or veg doesn’t always freeze well from personal experience! Mainly ones that contain a lot of water or are soft like courgettes or aubergines)
7: Use leftovers
Don’t throw your leftovers in the bin, especially when you’re cooking a joint of meat. We get as much meat off the joint as possible (there are so many tasty one-pot dishes you can make with leftover meat). Plus any good bits of meat can be used for lunches.
8: Cheaper cuts of meat
Buying cheaper cuts of meat can save money, and they are great to use in a slow cooker for stews, curries, and other one-bowl foods. Often due to the cuts, the meat can be fattier or tougher which is why they’re great in the slow cooker to make it more tender and tasty.
It’s no secret that eating healthily doesn’t come cheap. And when you’re busy and don’t enjoy cooking it’s easy to grab the quickest thing to shove in the oven.
But healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard work or take over half your monthly paycheck (unless you want it to!).
For more, you can check out my previous post on eating healthy on a budget. I hope these tips have been helpful and can help you create cheap healthy meals while saving money.
Have you got any money-saving tips for buying healthy food? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.