Even with the increase in the cost of food, eating healthy meals does not mean you have to break the bank and spend above your budget. There are so many healthy, nutritious and delicious meals that are very affordable and easy to prepare. In the Uk and worldwide, many are yet to master how to eat well for less.
Eating healthy and cheap does not have to be boring and bland. In fact, this is the time to get creative and innovative. Come up with delicious, new and healthy recipes to make the best out of what you have. You can eat well on a budget if you want to.
According to the BRC, food price inflation in the UK rose to 4.3% in April 2022. This is the highest recorded since April of 2012.
The BRC said a jump in the price of food, which offset discounting and promotions in clothing and homeware, accounted for the rise from 2.7% in April. Food inflation leapt to 4.3% in May from 3.5% in April, reaching the highest since April 2012
Here are some tips on how to eat healthy on a budget in the UK. These tips are tested and trusted to help you save more from your food budget and eat better.
- SHOP FROM YOUR LOCAL MARKET
Buying fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers or markets is cheaper than buying from the supermarket. Most times, go for fresh fruits and vegetables that are currently in season. These are mostly cheaper, fresher, healthier and even taste better.
Plan your meals around these vegetables and fruits. Learn to incorporate them into your recipes and even use them as substitutes for other vegetables that are not in season or are more expensive.
Aside from fruits and vegetables, you can also get milk, meat and other locally produced farm produce at a cheaper rate from your local market.
- HAVE A MEAL PLAN
Having a meal plan will help you to streamline your budget and your grocery list when going to the store. It will reduce wastage, by making sure you only get what you need and avoid getting what you already have.
Before planning your meals, take a quick scan of your pantry and freezer, taking a note of what you have and how best to incorporate them into your meal plan. This way, you reduce wastage and get the most out of your purchase.
- GET CREATIVE WITH STAPLE FOODS
Staple foods like rice, pasta, potatoes and bread give you a good value for your money. For one, you can buy them on sale in bulk and store them, as they can go for a while without going bad. Also, you have them ready to use, and all you have to do is get creative and come up with exciting and delicious recipes.
For example, baked potatoes are a cheap and healthy meal. You can throw in different toppings of your choice or even eat them with that leftover pasta sauce from yesterday.
Having staple foods in your pantry gives you an array of healthy meal options and an efficient way to eat well on a budget.
- CUT DOWN ON FOOD WASTE
Even though many don’t realize they are doing it, food wastage is a part of us. It is one of the leading causes of the high food budget. Learning to reduce food wastage and make the most out of food will allow us to save more.
Fruit, drinks, dairy products, vegetables, meat and bread are some of the food often wasted. Using up these leftovers will help save money and you will even get a delicious meal or snack out of them.
For example, instead of trashing your bread. You can oven-dry them and blend them into breadcrumbs to be used in your next recipe. Leftover vegetables can also be used to make a healthy and delicious soup. Overripe fruits can be blended with that almost expired milk to make a healthy breakfast smoothie for the whole family.
- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SALES AND SPECIAL OFFERS
Take advantage of sales on food products that have a long shelf life. Food products like rice, pasta, noodles, cereals, tinned tomatoes and so on can be stored in the pantry for a long time. If you can afford to buy them in bulk at a reduced price, you should.
This will save you money. Also, you get to have these staples in your pantry to be used at your convenience. You can effectively plan your meals around them.
- SUBSTITUTE MEAT WITH VEGETABLES
Sometimes, substitute meat in your recipes with vegetables. In addition to being cost-effective, this will lend a new flavour profile to your dishes and even make them healthier. You can try out mushrooms and tofu as a substitute for meat in some of your recipes,
You can even use beans and lentils instead of meat. These are low in fat, high in fibre and even cheaper!
- BUY CHEAPER CUTS OF MEAT
Buying a cheaper cut of meat is another way to combat the high cost of meat and eat well for less. Even though fresh meat and fish can be quite expensive, some cuts are less expensive and quite affordable. Whole chicken, ground meat, and chuck steak cost way less.
- KEEP A SUPPLY OF CANNED FOODS
Canned foods like fish, vegetables and fruits have a long shelf life and can be stored for a long period. You can take advantage of sales and special offers to buy them in bulk and store them.
Canned fish are sometimes cheaper than fresh fish and can be used on the go. Canned food products can be used with your staple foods like rice, pasta and potatoes to make healthy and delicious meals.
This will reduce money spent on food as you don’t have to go out to source fresh ingredients for new recipes. Watch out for added sugar or salt in your canned foods, and go for healthier and more natural brands instead.
- SKIP PROCESSED FOODS
In addition to being expensive, processed foods lack good nutrients. They are high in sugar, sodium and preservatives. Instead of buying processed foods, spend less and eat well by buying nutritious whole and fresh foods.
- EAT AT HOME
Eating out is more expensive than preparing your home meal. In fact, it is less healthy. Eat more home-cooked meals as it gives you control over what you eat and you get to cook nutrient-dense meals good for you.
Pack lunch for work, also for kids to take to school. Of course, this requires some planning to pull off but it pays off in the long term.
You don’t have to spend the bulk of your income to eat well. These tips have shown you how to eat well on a small budget. Explore these to eat nutritious and delicious meals that are affordable and cost-effective.