When times are tough, we show you how you can still stay healthy on a budget
2020 has been a whirl wind year to say the least, and with the majority of people having to tighten their belts and cut back where they can when it comes to finances due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic, it can be a struggle to eat well and save money whilst doing so.
From students to families, flat-sharing friends and independent singletons, everyone has been effected in some way or another financially so we’re here to show you how to make healthy meals on a budget.
Low cost healthy meals needn’t be a struggle either, as good quality fresh fruit and veg are readily available in budget supermarkets and are easily accessible to all. The key to healthy eating on a budget is preparation and portion control, once you’ve nailed that, you’ll find it much easier to stick to a healthy eating plan, cut back on spending, make your food go further AND stop reaching for those snacks.
Plan your meals
It may sound simple, but planning your meals in advance is a sure fire way to cut down on costs. Set aside one day per week to plan meals for the week ahead, then make a shopping list of everything you need that way and try not to stray from it. Only buy what you know you’re going to use to save on wasted food and money. It’s also worth scanning the kitchen cupboards and the fridge for what you already have to save you spending your cash on items you don’t need.
Batch cooking is a great way to plan your meals for the week, eat a healthy balanced meal and stop you reaching for quick fix, empty calorie options when you’re hungry. Curries, stews and stir fry’s are great examples of meals you can pre-prepare, cook in advance and then stick in your freezer for you to grab and go when needed. If you have no plastic containers to hand, recycling your prepped-pots is a sustainable alternative. Not only are you saving the planet of single use plastics, these little pots are also the perfect portion size for meals.
Buy whole foods
A simple hack to save the pennies (which soon add up to pounds) is to buy whole foods instead of pre-sliced and packaged foods. Whole mushrooms and blocks of cheese are often cheaper than buying them already sliced and grated, so make cut-backs where you can. Buying whole foods is also much healthier than processed foods, as well as cheaper. Whole grains such as oats, pasta and brown rice are often available in large bags too, making them cheaper per serving.
We know how hard it can be to stray from your favourite labels when it comes to food brands, but budget supermarkets have really upped their game when it comes to their own brand products. Switching to supermarket own-brand can slash your monthly spend without compromising on quality, making you a tidy saving each month with could add up to thousands over the course of a year! If your family and friends aren’t sure, do a blind taste test to see if they can spot the difference.
Bulking out your favourite dishes with pulses, beans and veg is a great way to save some cash and not cut back when it comes to flavour or feeling full. Bolognaise and other pasta dishes are a great example of this, and not only will you get more portions out of the meal which will help reduce costs, you’ll also be topping up your 5 a day.