One of the big statements that I come across time after time is “Healthy Eating is expensive”. Well I agree that it can be…. however there are certainly ways to make it a lot more afforable for everyone. We don’t have a huge budget for food, so here are my top tips on how I make our healthy meals go further. For healthy meal ideas see my healthy meal planner.
1. Meal Planning.
Meal Planning is key for us. I try to make one meal that then has leftovers than will turn into the next days meal – for example a roast chicken turns into soup and stock plus meat for a stir fry. Or it helps me plan the shopping so we only buy what we need.
2. Buy in bulk.
Items like lentils, beans and pulses are usually cheaper dried and bought in bulk. I find our Indian supermarkets sell them at a good price. You can either cook them as you need them or cook a pile and freeze them for when needed. Great for making cheap and tasty hummus for example and a great way to bulk out meals for less money and more nutrition.
3. Make soups .
Hearty, filling and cheap. Lentil and carrot soup for example is a super soup! Quick to make, packed with goodness and easy on the wallet. We always make a chicken soup after a roast to make full use of the bird by adding water or milk to the bones and simmering, then straining and adding in pulses and vegetables with some leftover chicken.
4. Reduced Section.
Always check the reduced section of the shops and be prepared to make changes to your meal plan. If there is something there that will make a cheap, healthy meal then get it.
5. Embrace your freezer.
I freeze all the leftover bits of items such as creme fraiche, coconut milk and then use them in other recipes. I also buy meat and then separate it into the right size portions and freeze it ready to use. Bread items like pitta and crumpets I buy when reduced and keep in the freezer and use as we want them.
6. Budget buy.
Have a budget in mind for your shop and stick to it. Try not to get conned by all the offers. They are probably more expensive food items that you just don’t need.
7. Use all your leftovers.
One way I do this is to keep them all for a few days and then make a big pasta dish with all the leftovers as a sauce or put it all on a pizza. Alternatively eat the leftovers for lunch with everyone choosing which bit they want.
8. Shop around.
Don’t get it all in one supermarket. See if the fruit and veg is cheaper elsewhere. My local butcher can be cheaper for some types of meat and most of our fruit and veg comes from Aldi, I use the Indian supermarket for flours, rice, spices and pulses, the Polish shop for yoghurt, ham and sausage and the Chinese shop for rice noodles. Then an online shop from a big supermarket for store cupboard essentials. We buy in bulk so we don’t have to go to all these shops too often or it would take forever!
9. Eat in season.
It really is cheaper for fruit and veggies.
10. Batch cook.
Cook a big batch of a meal and freeze it or eat it twice that week. It saves cooking time, gas/electricity and can be cheaper on ingredient costs too.