When you scroll through an Instagram feed of Kombucha, £15 raw superfood salads, and healthy treats bought at local organic shops, it’s unsurprising that many people think of eating healthy as wildly expensive and inaccessible. But in reality, you really don’t need anything special or expensive to look after your health with a good, balanced diet. Here’s our top tips on eating healthily whilst sticking to a budget:
Cook at Home
This one might seem obvious, but eating out is the biggest killer to any budget. The easiest way to cut down the costs? Stop whipping to Pret on a lunchtime and prep a healthy lunch the night before. If you’re worried about how budgeting could effect your social life, try getting your friends together for a wholesome, home cooked dinner instead of splurging £100+ on food and drinks when you go out.
You might think meal planning sounds a little dull, but it’s another huge tip for keeping on track with your spending. It will help you avoid food (and therefore money) being wasted, and will also make sure that everything you'd like to cook will fit well into your weekly budget. This doesn’t mean you can’t still be flexible - just swap your meals around if you’ve got a craving for a big bowl of pasta or a warming stew.
Write a Shopping List and Stick to it!
Want to take your organisation up a notch? After you’ve planned out your meals, write out a shopping list and stick to it, avoiding picking up impulse purchases that you don’t really need. And try not to go hungry either - everything always seems way more tempting when your stomach is growling!
Make Leftovers Your Best Friend
Cooking for one is often more expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! Whip up enough for four regardless and throw the extra portions in the freezer. It’ll mean less wastage, less money spent on individual items and always something for dinner waiting for you when you get home late.
Frozen food often gets bad rap, but the freezer section isn’t necessarily somewhere to avoid! Frozen spinach, peas and berries are great kitchen staples that are not only much cheaper, but also are far fresher thanks to being picked in season. We love bulking out curries, stews or even smoothies with frozen greens for a more nutrient-dense meal.
It surprises many, but home-cooked vegetarian food is actually often much cheaper than eating meat. If you think about it, a can of pulses or a pack of tofu is WAY cheaper than your average pack of chicken, so try going meat-free a couple of times a week to look after your pennies and mix up your mid-week meals.
Picking up those strawberries in the dead of winter might be tempting, but seasonal produce is not only cheaper, but usually has less air miles too - talk about a win, win situation!
Buy in Bulk
For anyone trying to scrimp and save, the bulk buy section should be your holy grail! Even in Wholefoods, the bulk bins are a great place to stock up on those tore cupboard essentials. Invest in a variety of lentils, rice, pasta, or even quinoa in big quantities to save yourself money in the long run.
Switch up Your Supermarket
Always just nipping to the Tesco or Sainsburys on the corner to pick up a few bits for dinner? It might be a little extra effort, but scouting out your local cheaper supermarket can make a shocking different on your shopping costs. We’re big fans of Lidl and Aldi - they have great quality veggies and you can literally get double the quantity of food for your money!
Take Advantage of “Happy Hour”
No, we’re not talking about your local’s cocktail hour, but the hour at the end of the day where most supermarkets discount fresh items. Get the timing right and hit the reduced to clear shelves, throwing anything with a short date in the freezer, to save yourself big money.