It is a common misconception that it costs a fortune to eat healthily, and understandably so. Not only that, but it’s easy to use this misconception as an excuse to NOT eat healthy food. This blog will give you 10 instantly actionable tips that you can implement right now so that you can start reaping the benefits of healthy eating today.
1. Plan your meals in advance.
This is probably one of the most important things that you’re going to have to get used to doing if you want to cut down the amount of money you spend on food. Especially important for the budget conscious – meal planning can and WILL save you a small fortune, not to mention cut down the amount of food wastage your household has.
If you plan your meals for the family for the entire week, all you need to do is write your shopping list in accordance with that plan. That way, you will get everything you need and nothing more.
Before you go to the supermarket, make sure you have checked your cupboards and freezer to make sure you’re not buying staples or things you already have.
2. Cook from Scratch
Cooking from scratch with single ingredients instead of reaching for takeaways multiple times per week is going to save you a fortune. To do this, you’re going to have to stop using the ‘I don’t have time to cook’ excuse and understand that you are going to have to MAKE time. Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be fancy; it just has to be real food that you and your family enjoy eating. And dare I say it – cooking from scratch can be enjoyable!
It might be an idea to get a couple of recipe books to start you off, find meals you enjoy and stick with them for a while. Keep trying one or two new recipes every month and you will soon build up a repertoire of dishes that you enjoy.
With the average household in the UK spending £130.80 a month on restaurants, eating out, takeaway food and alcohol – imagine how much you could save by simply swapping one of your takeaways or restaurant meals per week for a home cooked, healthy meal?
3. Buy in bulk where possible
If you can, buy food in bulk. I understand this can be a bit more costly at the initial outlay point but will save you money in the long run. If you are a meat eater – buying this in bulk is definitely the cheapest way to do it overall. I find that local markets and local butchers have the best deals, and you can often strike a deal with them too. That way, you can buy enough for the entire month (maybe more) and portion it out for your freezer – and then your weekly shop will be for fresh produce and household items only.
4. Buy frozen (fruit and vegetables)
I often get asked if frozen fruit and veg are as good for you as fresh – and the answer is yes – absolutely. Buying frozen fruit and veg is a great idea, especially if you live on your own or have a small family. It will also cut down the amount of fresh produce that you end up binning at the end of the week.
5. Eat in season
A quick Internet search will tell you when certain fruits and vegetables are in season – you’ll usually see them ‘on offer’ in the supermarket, at the front of the supermarket (behind all the processed bakery crap that they lure you in with!). So if you start eating plant produce that is in season, it will start saving you a lot of pennies.
6. Avoid big brand names
A lot of the time you’ll find that swapping from big brand names to supermarket own brands for certain products will save you a FORTUNE. Things like tinned tomatoes and tinned pulses are mega cheap when you buy own brand. There’s no need to pay for a brand name!
I will also mention the cheaper supermarkets here – like Aldi and Lidl. It may be worthwhile swapping your main weekly shop from the big names to these smaller supermarkets. I guarantee your weekly shop cost will fall drastically just by doing this and their fresh produce is excellent – including their meat and fish.
7. Get to the market
Local markets are excellent for the budget conscious healthy eater. This goes hand in hand with the ‘eat in season’ concept in that you will find that the in-season fruit and veg is the cheapest. So buy that. Markets are ALWAYS cheaper than supermarket – fact. The produce is fresher, usually local (so hasn’t travelled halfway around the world to land on your plate) and often organic.
8. Use your freezer
My freezer is my best friend when it comes to saving money on healthy eating. Bulk buying is something that I do, as is cooking from scratch (in bulk), so freezing portions of my meals means that I only need to cook once every couple of weeks. Yay! Then it’s just a case of opening the freezer and getting my food out of the day, re-heating it and off I go. Saves time as well as money – you should try it!
9. Use up turning fruit and vegetables
Make smoothies or juices from fruit and veg that are starting to go off. Use over-ripe bananas to make banana bread or banana pancakes. Don’t let anything go to waste.
10. Have two meat-free days per week
Meat and fish can be expensive – so having one or two ‘meat free’ days per week can actually save you lots of dough. Planning in cheaper, meat free proteins like eggs, dairy, pulses like edamame, lentils, kidney beans, cannellini beans, chick peas and the likes will save you cash AND increase your variety of foods across the week too – which is very important for a healthy gut and a healthy body.