Healthy eating on a budget

Shop smart

Look out for supermarket special offers.

Remember that prices change daily at supermarkets and can also fluctuate between stores.

Consider using a cheaper supermarket such as Aldi or Lidl.

Plan ahead, write out a shopping list so you know exactly what you need

Share - have you thought about sharing dried herbs and spices with a neighbour?  We often buy dried foods such as herbs and spices that we might not use regularly, swapping and sharing is a great way to increase your options of flavours without impacting on your finances.

Consider going down a brand

Why not try one of the supermarkets’ own brands? Lots of their own brands and value ranges are just as good as the leading brands.

Bulk out meals with cheaper products

Beans and pulses are good (especially red lentils as these take on the flavour of the foods they are mixed with)a healthy way to bulk out meals, and also provide a good source of protein.

Add grated vegetables to casseroles, chilli and curries

Buy products when they are on offer

Buy potatoes when you can get 2 packs for the price of 1 and store them in a sack in the shed or garage – they will keep for ages. Try not to be tempted to buy if something just because it is on offer, always ask yourself will use it and do you need it?

Use local markets

Shop at local markets for fresh fruit and vegetables – buy locally grown fruit and vegetables, which are environmentally friendly and cheaper than something which has been flown thousands of miles!

Shop just before they finish for the day when very often they will sell large amounts cheaply.
Why not take a look at your local Facebook/social media groups where you live, as often people have grown more than they can use and often give away their surplus or sell for very low prices.

Use foods in season

Again, being locally grown they are probably cheaper than something that has been flown thousands of miles.

If you know someone with an allotment, see if they will share their produce with you. Many allotment holders are proud of what they grow and happy to give some to people who will appreciate it.

Use the freezer

Fresh fruit, particularly berries, can be expensive but buy them frozen and the price goes right down. Defrost them and serve on your cereal or with low-fat yoghurt, or warm them and serve with frozen yoghurt for a quick, low-fat dessert.

Frozen vegetables are just as good as fresh, so buy in large quantities when on special offer. They’re always quick and easy to cook.

Go back to basics

Low-fat plant based sausages with mashed potatoes and vegetables make a great quick, easy and cheap low-fat meal. Baked beans on toast is a great low-fat lunch.

Casseroles, stews, Bolognese and chilli are all good comfort food, low fat and can be made relatively cheaply. Add extra vegetables to make them go further.

1 can of chopped tomatoes mixed with some dried herbs makes a great basis for a pasta sauce and is really cheap too!

Make the most of leftovers

Cook extra portions for your evening meal so you can have the leftovers for lunch the next day. Any leftovers can be frozen for another day. Eventually, you'll have a freezer full of homemade ready meals on tap

Budget meal suggestions

5 breakfasts

  • 100g mushrooms ( dry fried) with a slice of  wholemeal toast
  • 50g any bran cereal served with milk from allowance and 1 portion of fruit
  • 35g uncooked porridge oats, cooked in water with 1 portion of dried fruit
  • 2 vegan sausages cooked, served with 200g no-added-sugar baked beans and 100g mushrooms dry-fried
  • 100g plain yoghurt ( plant based ) with 140g frozen fruit and 1 tsp chia or flax seeds

5 lunches

  • 1 pitta bread, split open, filled with shredded lettuce, sliced peppers, spring onions, tomatoes plus 50g plant-based cream cheese with 1 tbsp sweetcorn
  • Mixed bean salad: mix together 100g drained, canned chickpeas, 100g red kidney beans and 25g sweetcorn kernels. Add 2 sliced spring onions, 1 sliced tomato, unlimited chopped celery, peppers and cucumber, and mix well. Toss in a fat-free dressing of your choice and add freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Lentil salad – large mixed salad topped with 80g cooked mixed lentils, 6 chopped olives, 1 tsp flax seeds sprinkled over the top with 1 tbsp of any reduced-fat dressing
  • Simple minestrone soup - click here for the recipe
  • 1 x 175g oven-baked sweet potato topped with 80g baked beans and served with a side salad

5 dinners

  • 3 plant-based Lincolnshire style sausages, grilled and served with 130g boiled new potatoes (with skins) and unlimited other vegetables.  For dessert, 1 apple or pear
  • Mix 80g uncooked weight or 176g cooked weight boiled pasta shapes with ½ jar (approx 200g) ready-made tomato and basil pasta sauce and heat through. Serve with chopped fresh basil leaves and a sprinkling of Vegan style Italian hard cheese shavings, plus a large green salad tossed and serve with 35g of fresh french bread
  • Spinach and lentil burgers - click here for recipe
  • 1 x 200g oven-baked sweet potato topped with 200g baked beans and served with a side salad tossed in a low-fat dressing of your choice
  • Tofu and sweet potato curry with rice - click here for recipe