Healthy eating on a budget can be a challenge especially in difficult times. However there are many cheap foods that are nutritious and with a little know-how and organization it is possible to eat well.
In this blog I will teach you 6 healthy eating budget tips which all involve these three key things – planning your shopping and meals, how to purchase or shop for cheap foods and preparation of meals and snacks.
How can I eat healthy on a budget?
There are lots of ways you can eat healthy on a budget. They all fall under the 3 p’s (plan, purchase and prepare).
6 healthy eating budget tips
1. Plan – meal plan & write a shopping list
- Planning ahead you can think about what’s going on in the week, different requirements and how much you have to spend.
- By writing a meal plan for the week or however long you shop for you are more likely to only get what you need for the meals and save money on any impulse buys.
- Find quick and easy recipes from magazines, recipe books and online for ideas.
- Look for recipes with common ingredients so your not wasting half a can of passata for example.
- Once you have your menu plan, work through it to see what ingredients you need and check your cupboards so you can pull together a shopping list.
If you want to know how to write a meal plan in easy steps then I have created this for you:
Meal planning made easy: in 10 steps
If you feel unorganised and overwhelmed at the thought of meal planning. Then this guide is dedicated to helping you restore calm and become content knowing all your meals are planned and balanced for the weeks ahead.
You’ll learn: In 10 easy steps how to create your perfect meal plan, how to write your menu plan & shopping list with templates included.
By menu planning you can see what you’re having each night which can help with the kids asking what’s for dinner. It also ensures you’re getting a variety and balanced diet by mixing up meals with different types of starchy foods for example.
Grocery lists for healthy eating on a budget
There are some basic store cupboard ingredients that are useful for making healthy budget meals. I have created a store cupboard essentials list inside my guide….
- Buy frozen fruit and veg, tinned food like fruit, veg, fish, beans, pulses, tomatoes. These are cheaper than fresh and will last longer. Frozen varieties of vegetables and fruit are usually just as nutritious as they are freshly frozen so retain their quality.
- Also frozen fruit and vegetables are usually sold in larger bags so you can take out what you need and reseal it meaning less waste.
- Buy when you’re not hungry. If you shop when you are hungry then you’re more likely to buy extras and possibly even buy less healthy food.
- Stick to the list otherwise your likely to overspend on food.
- Think and look at nutrition labels (if you have time) as obviously the nutrition will vary from brand to brand and the different levels e.g basic ranges to more high end. For example, meat can hugely vary in fat content.
So sometimes buying a more expensive cut or range can be worthwhile when thinking about nutrition. If you can’t afford to do this then chicken with skin can be taken off by hand before cooking or mince can be cooked and the fat drawn off when cold.
3. Prepare – Cook from scratch
- Cooking from scratch as opposed to buying ready meals or convenience foods has so many benefits. Its definitely cheaper, usually healthier and you have control on what goes into the recipes.
- Cooking from scratch gives you more flexibility with different dietary requirements to suit all the family. So you can mix and match different parts of the meal to give foods everyone likes without cooking separate meals for everyone.
4. Use leftovers
- Waste nothing by using all leftovers. You can incorporate them into new meals or have any leftovers for the next meal or snack.
- Great ways to incorporate into new meals are recipes like stews, soups, salads, stir fries.
- Most foods can be frozen if you can’t eat them straight away.
- Check what is hiding in the fridge and needs eating up (often some vegetables) which can be made into a soup.
- Freeze bread or bread that is going stale can then be made into breadcrumbs or croutons.
5. Batch cooking
- You could batch cook two or three meals at once depending on the size of your family.
- Good recipes to batch cook include things like sauces, stews, soups but most things you could batch cook and freeze or chill for another day.
6. Include meals that will stretch (go further than one meal)
- You could use a large joint or meat that will work for at least a few meals e.g a whole chicken can be used for a few chicken recipes and the bones can be used as a base for a soup.
- For recipes of stews, sauces, casseroles etc you can stretch them further by adding lentils or beans as these are cheaper than meat.
If you wanted to know more ways you can eat well on a budget you might like to check out 18 simple steps to build a meal, save time and money eating well.
- You will learn: How to use the Eat well guide
- 18 simple steps to cook well on a budget
- How to build a meal and ideas for cheap and healthy meals.
- Basic essential store cupboard foods you need to get started
- 12 healthy and cheap recipes
Cheapest way to eat healthy without cooking
Cold foods are a great way to save on fuel to reheat or cook meals. Also many of these below can be made into a batch and have cold the next day.
- Salads including beans and lots of vegetables or potato salad with eggs and beans
- Cold pasta salad like this store cupboard pasta salad
- Rice salads like this lemon and pea salad
- Cold platter of different foods like breads with meats and deli vegetables. Or tinned fish like sardines
- Cold pizza or pizza pinwheels
- Frittata or quiche like this ham, mushroom and spinach frittata
Healthy meals on a budget
If your looking for some healthy recipe ideas that are cheap then you may like to check out these 12 recipes in my guide. It includes a mix of savoury and sweet dishes that all the family can enjoy.
Here is a sample of one of the recipes from the guide: storecupboard fishcakes
So the key to spending less on your food shopping and making the most of the foods you buy comes down to planning and organization. If you follow my 6 healthy eating budget tips for 2023 then I am sure your going to be spending less but also eating healthily.
I would love to know your biggest win. So please comment on which of the tips has helped you the most.