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How To Eat Healthily On A Budget

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How To Eat Healthily On A Budget

Eating a healthy, balanced diet doesn’t have to mean buying expensive food. But when it’s cheaper and more convenient to buy chicken nuggets and frozen chips then choosing anything else it can be challenging.

So here’s some top tips on eating healthily whilst still staying on budget.

  • Shop at the end of the day – supermarkets often slash prices on fresh produce when it’s nearing its use by or best before date in the hour or so before they close.  Most items can be stored in the freezer ready for when you need it.
  • Choose wonky veg – curly cucumbers and knobbly carrots taste the same and have the same nutritional value but supermarkets tend to reject them. However, many shops now offer boxes of wonky veg that can feed a family of four for a week for a few pounds. You’ll also help to prevent food waste at the same time.
  • Protein doesn’t have to mean meat – meat is expensive and you’ll get just as much filling, healthy protein from using cans of beans and chickpeas instead. They go perfectly in a slow cooked curry or pasta dish.
  • Dried herbs and spices are cheaper than fresh versions and add flavour to any dish!
  • The same goes for frozen fruit and veg, which will last you much longer. Frozen fruit and veg nearly always have a higher nutrient content due to the freezing process locking them in.

What Does Eating Healthily Mean?

There is no one standard healthy diet that we should all follow. We all have different likes and dislikes and choose to eat certain things and exclude others. But as a general rule a healthy plate consists of around one quarter lean protein, one quarter wholegrains and the remaining half made up of fresh fruits and vegetables.

We also need a small amount of good fats which can come from foods such as oily fish, avocadoes, nuts or a drizzle of olive oil. Oily fish and nuts are good protein sources so you’re ticking two boxes at once.

What Does a Day’s Worth of Healthy Meals on a Budget Look Like?

You can spread out your healthy balanced meals across the day. For example, wholemeal toast and peanut butter for breakfast is rich in healthy wholegrains, protein and good fats but lacks in fruit or vegetables. A mid-morning snack of banana, grapes and yoghurt is then ideal.

Some balanced lunch ideas include:

  • Baked beans on toast with a side salad,
  • Tuna pasta salad, 
  • Cheese and tomato sandwich and a banana, 
  • Chicken wrap and an apple, 
  • Falafel and hummus with a salad

Batch Cooking and Meal Planning for Dinner

Most often the biggest meal of the day, you can save money and still eat healthily by doing some forward planning.

Planning your meals for the week might sound like a chore but it will mean that you don’t waste money on food that you might not eat. Have a list and stick to it!

Batch cooking also helps to save money, avoid food waste and will mean that you have healthy meals ready to eat. Cook up a batch of mince (either meat or veggie mince) one night and use some to make a bolognaise. Then keep the rest in the fridge or freezer for reheating, add in a tin of kidney beans and some chilli powder and serve it up as a homemade chilli con/non carne.

Curries, pasta dishes, casseroles and lasagnas can all in made in bigger portions that can then be frozen and used at a later date.

Get experimenting and enjoy being in control of both your healthy diet and your budget!

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