13 Tips for a Healthy Diet on a Budget

Updated: Mar 26



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Poor diet is one of the biggest risk factors for preventable ill health in England. Choosing healthy foods can be challenging, especially if you live on a fixed income. With the ever-rising costs of living, it is important to find affordable ways to have a healthy diet on a budget.


Here are 13 tips to eat healthy on a budget:


1. Plan Ahead


Writing a shopping list and sticking with it when you are grocery shopping can help control your spending. Try not to shop when you are hungry, or you will be more likely to impulse buy with your essential ingredients. This is also a time when quick, easy to reach snacks which are often processed and high in fats and sugar are harder to resist.





2. Reduce Your Food Waste


Before creating your shopping list, look in your cupboards to see what ingredients you already have on hand. The UK wastes an average of 7 million tonnes of food and drink each year. Most of these food and drink items could have been eaten. This amounts to the equivalent of £470 of food thrown away every year by a typical family.


3. Look for Special Offers


Non-perishable items such as pasta, rice, couscous, lentils, beans, tuna, tinned tomatoes and cereal have a longer shelf life. Stock up on them when they are on offer as they are a great way to bulk up meals with healthy foods.


4. Buy Cheaper Cuts of Meat


· Chicken thighs and drumsticks are cheaper cuts of meat than chicken breasts.

· Whole chickens offer good value, especially if you plan to eat it for more than one meal. You'll get 2 breasts, 2 thighs, drumsticks, wings, and a carcass for stock from a whole chicken.


· Another popular ingredient is mince; it's versatile and inexpensive - just drain the fat before adding other ingredients.

It is common for cheaper cuts of meat to require longer cooking times, but they can also be the most delicious! There may be special offers on buying meat. This is a great time to purchase extra. Keep any meat you won't use right away in the freezer for later.


5. Use Frozen and Canned Fruit and Vegetables


It is generally cheaper to buy frozen vegetables than fresh ones. Benefits of frozen vegetables include:


· They count towards your 5 servings of fruit/vegetables each day

· Many frozen vegetables contain more specific nutrients than their fresh counterparts because freezing preserves their nutrients.

· Frozen vegetables can be stored and used over a long period of time

· Their lifespan is prolonged, which reduces waste.


6. Convenience Costs More


When you're willing to do some extra food prep, planning, and work, you can often save money. Consider buying whole chickens and cutting them into parts, shredding or grating your own cheese, and avoiding instant rice and instant oatmeal. Buying salad mixes in bags costs more and might not last as long as buying lettuce heads.


7. Buy in Bulk


Buying larger quantities of items can be much cheaper than smaller portions. Be careful not to purchase more than you can consume if the food cannot be safely stored or preserved before it will expire. Consider using what you need that day and freezing the rest in portion-sized packages if you buy meat in bulk.


8. Try cheaper brands


You can often find cheaper items in supermarket own-brand and economy ranges. Value and premium ranges are not always that different. Be open to trying lower cost brands without letting the shiny label influence your decision.


9. Cook with Pulses


Some of the cheapest foods on the supermarket shelf are pulses, such as beans, lentils, and peas. Besides being packed with fibre, vitamins, and minerals, pulses also count toward your 5 a Day. If you are making a dish with chicken or meat, consider replacing some of the chicken or meat with pulses, such as kidney beans in a chili con carne or chickpeas in a chicken curry.


10. Freeze Bread Products


One of the most wasted foods in the home is bread. By freezing bread in portions (for convenience) and when it is freshest (for taste), you will reduce waste and save money.

Avoid freezer burn by storing bread in an airtight container (like a freezer bag).


11. Shop at the End of the Day

Markdowns on perishables at the end of the shopping day are another way to save on shopping for healthy food. Always check the ‘use by’ date to ensure you will be able to eat the food before it goes off.


12. Simplify Your Meals


I use my crockpot most weeks as I find it a great way to batch cook chili, pasta sauce, soup or shredding chicken. These bigger meals can be spread over the week. Slow cookers are a great way to use tinned ingredients or cheaper cuts of meat as the longer cooking times make them taste delicious.


13. Use a Reusable Water Bottle

Instead of spending money on single use bottles and drinks, switch to a reusable water bottle that you can take with you every day. It is beneficial for the environment, helps you to drink more water and saves you money when you are out. I love this motivational bottle that is leak proof and easy to take with you.


You can improve your overall health and wellbeing by eating healthily. Controlling your weight and reducing your risk of heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes, and osteoporosis are benefits from a healthy diet. Do not let cost discourage you from trying to make changes to you and your family’s diet; a healthy diet does not have to be more expensive.





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