If eating healthy conjures up images of online shopping for organic fruit & veg, delivered in recyclable cardboard boxes, spending the weekend shopping at farmer’s markets for locally sourced produce, and buying foods that will empty your account quicker than popping to the corner shop for a pint of organic milk (from grass-fed cattle!), then we have some good news for you, because it can be quite the opposite.
Here, we are happily going to bust the myth that eating healthy breaks the bank. Let us show you how you can eat well, as well as healthily and on a budget.
If you need to find the cheapest, healthy solution for food, pulses never let you down.
Diets rich in pulses contribute to good health and studies show they can help in reducing the risk of numerous diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and even some cancers.
They are an excellent low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals which count towards your recommended five daily portions of fruit and veg.
Beans, peas and lentils are a great choice for the budget-and-health-conscious amongst us; they make an excellent protein alternative to meat which offers the option of reducing our meat intake for some days of the week which can add up to even greater savings.
For further information, check out the following links:
For excellent recipe ideas, printable recipe cards and further links try the following excellent website:
There is a reason why veggies are a great choice for a healthy diet. Not only do they provide you the vitamins, minerals and proteins that your body’s needs, they can also be cheap; especially if you make the most of seasonal offers such as Aldi’s Super Six.
Many people associate protein with fish, meat, eggs and dairy; all excellent sources of protein but the meat, eggs and dairy can be high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and compared to vegetables and pulses they can be very expensive; especially meat and fish.
So why not consider adopting the same practice as Jamie Oliver, who announced he was going vegan/vegetarian 2-3 days a week for both the health benefits as well as to show how families can save ‘a load of money’.
But, if you love meat too much to cut it out of your diet for too long, why not consider a compromise? Instead of putting together a meat-oriented dinner (which would be heavy on your budget) with more expensive cuts of meat, why not try incorporating vegetables to the dishes with cheaper cuts of meat to cut down the costs? Dishes such as meat casseroles are not only fun to make; they are also delicious, nutritious due to the high veg content, and low-budget as a result of using cheaper beef cuts such as chuck and stewing steak.
Okay, let’s be honest here. How many families with kids have wasted food in a month? We’re sure almost all of you have raised their hands, since the average family in the United Kingdom wastes about £60 of good food a month.
But families aren’t the only culprits; many more of us are guilty too. A WRAP food waste report in 2012 stated that UK households are throwing away 4.2 million tonnes of avoidable food and drink annually; the average household of 2.4 people purchased 27kg of food, of which 19% was wasted.
In the book that accompanies the BBC TV series ‘Eat Well for Less’, hosts Gregg Wallace and Chris Bavin observe that making the TV program revealed some constants we all seemed to be guilty of when it came to food and budgets;
‘we all waste food, don’t always make lists, are reluctant to try cheaper alternatives and spend far too much money on the things we don’t need to’
One of their principal recommendations, along with the likes of Jack Monroe, author of ‘A girl called Jack’ and blogger about eating on a budget as well as Allegra McEvedy, author of ‘Economy Gastronomy’ ; to help you shop and keep to a budget, is to PLAN.
To help you minimise waste, and to prevent you buying additional items not required and add to your spending, we recommend the following;
Also, when shopping, consider these other helpful tips; avoid the “luxury” items like cakes, fizzy drinks, and snack bars, and invest more in the wholesome food items that you can cook at home. If you can’t say goodbye to those decadent treats altogether, make a commitment to limiting them to one day per week only. Trust us, it will be a LOT cheaper, and your body will thank you for it.
Once you do start cooking at home regularly, make sure that the leftovers are frozen, so that you can eat them later. Leftovers come in handy when you are in a hurry and need to have a meal ready in a flash. They also eliminate the need of buying junk food, which is the option that people choose when they are short on time.
Leftover cooking can be something of an art, it takes a creative flair which gets better with practice, so to help you get inspired, check out the following websites for amazing ideas on how to cook leftovers;
Using frozen food will help your pounds and pennies go a long way in your goal of eating healthily on a budget. They are excellent when you need to have a quick meal and do not wish to eat the leftovers of the day before. The frozen vegetables are picked, chopped and frozen while fresh and their nutrients do not go to waste; and generally, the are far cheaper than their fresh counterparts. You can easily defrost what you need (meaning there is little/no waste) and use them in your delicious, home-cooked meals.
Ample evidence has existed for quite some time that frozen fruits and vegetables provide the same essential nutrients, there is even a study that has found that frozen blueberries make the anthocyanin antioxidants more bio-available!
So, embrace frozen foods for their cost, as well as their health benefits.
These are but a few tips of many, which we hope will serve as pointers towards a healthier, as well as more canny and prosperous way to plan your meals. As Tim Ferris says in his book The Four Hour Body; ‘The myth that eating right is expensive is exactly that: a myth’
Buckley, J., (2015) I'm going vegetarian 3 times a week says Jamie Oliver (who's got a veggie cook book coming out) [online] in the Daily Mail; 13th May, at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3079084/I-m-going-vegetarian-3-times-week-says-Jamie-Oliver-s-got-veggie-cook-book-coming-out.html#ixzz4nyrkePpn
Smithers, R., (2013) Food waste report shows UK families throw away 24 meals a month [online] in The Guardian; 7th November, at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/07/uk-households-food-waste
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) Household food and drink waste in the United Kingdom 2012: Final Report [online] at: http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/hhfdw-2012-main.pdf.pdf
Scarratt-Jones, J., (2016) Eat well for less. BBC Books: London
Monroe, J., (2014) A girl called Jack – 100 delicious budget recipes. Penguin Books: London
McEvedy, A., (2009) Economy Gastronomy: Eat better and spend less. Michael Joseph Publishing: London
Science Daily (2014) Freezing blueberries improves antioxidant availability [online] 22nd July, at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722124810.htm
Ferris, T., (2011) The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman. Crown Publishing Group: New York