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  • Writer's pictureRachel Davies

Top Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

In the midst of a cost of living crisis it can seem like eating healthy is too much of stretch. It’s true that better quality food is often more expensive, unfortunately our entire food system is skewed towards processed foods over quality whole-foods! However, I’m here to tell you that tightening your purse strings doesn’t mean you have to forgo your health goals, healthy eating on a budget is enitrely possible.

Eating on a budget

Here are my 10 top tips for eating healthy on a budget:

1.) Planning

I know it sounds dull but planning your meals really makes a difference when it comes to food shopping and total cost. Planning your meals across the week means you can minimise food waste and shop efficiently. Try sitting down at the weekend and planning your meals for the week ahead (with a bit of scope for change as this will inevitably happen). Then base your food shopping on that meal plan and what you already have in your store cupboard.

2.) Go meat-free for a few days per week.

I encourage my clients to buy the best quality meat and fish they can afford, organic and sustainably sourced where possible. However, this comes with a certain price tag. SO rather than swapping to poorer quality produce, why not alternate your days so you aren’t eating meat everyday. Try my lentil bolognese as an alternative to the traditional beef version. Recipe here.

3.) Use legumes to bulk out meals

I love to use lentils and beans to bulk out meals. Next time you make a chilli, try adding some red lentils along with your red kidney or black beans; if you are making a curry you could add some yellow split lentils to help eek it out and create a lovely daal like texture-delicious!

4.) Batch cooking

It's true that economies of scale works for food too so by doubling up your recipe and batch cooking you save money, time and energy! So whether it's a bolognese sauce, roasted vegetables or fresh pesto, by doubling or tripling your recipe you will save money in the long run, and it doesn't take that much more time. Utilise your freezer or plan your meals for the week to incorporate your extra portions.

5.) Opt for different cuts of meat

If you are a meat eater, choosing thighs, cheeks, drumsticks etc. is often cheaper than the prime cuts such as breast and steak, but are just if not more nutritionally beneficial. By opting for more economical cuts of meat you can still buy the best quality and organic where possible. They sometimes need a bit longer cooking to ensure they are just as tender so using your slow cooker or cooking on a low heat for a bit longer is the key.

6.) Use your freezer

I hate food waste, and try to minimise it wherever possible. If you are throwing away lots of food each week that has passed its use-by date, consider how you can use your freezer to reduce this waste and therefore save money. It's amazing what you can freeze! Check out this blog from the amazing Kate at The Full Freezer.

7.) Make your own lunches (use leftovers from dinner!)

If you work away from home, it can be tempting to grab your lunch from a local eatery every day. Whilst it is great to support local businesses, if you are doing this everyday the total will soon rack up! So why not make your own lunch a few days a week, maybe make a bit extra for dinner that you can have for lunch the next day. A food thermos flask can be a game changer! You can buy one here.

8.) Reduce your alcohol consumption

Reducing alcohol consumption is not only important for our overall health but will also make a big difference to your weekly budget. Try reducing the number of days you drink alcohol at home each month, save it for a special occasion!

9.) Reduce the number of takeaways you eat

In the world of Deliveroo and Uber Eats, it is so easy to get a takeaway at the click of a button. Whilst there are lots of healthy takeaways you can opt for now, becoming Deliveroo's number 1 customer is not going to do wonders for your bank balance. Again, save it for a one -off occasion and know that by cooking from scratch at home, you will be nourishing your body in a much better way.

10.) Frozen fruit and vegetables

I'm a big fan of frozen fruit and vegetables. They are often 'snap frozen' at the point of harvesting, therefore retaining most of their nutrients as once picked they can start losing their nutritional value and quality. Plus you can get a big bag for the same price as a small punnet of fresh produce! So next time you are doing your weekly shop, don't ignore the frozen section.

If you have found this useful and would like to share it with a friend, please do that! I'd also love to connect with you on social media too. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook @RachelDaviesNutrition

If you are interested in understanding more about how to keep yourself healthy, I’d love to help. Book a FREE 20-minute, wellbeing review call to discuss how together we can get you back in tune with your body and back to your best self.

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