There’s a lot of advice out there on how to eat healthily. From green juices and courgetti to paleo this and Low GI that, it can often feel like there’s way too much to think about – especially if you need to feed your family on a budget. However, the good news is that eating healthily doesn’t have to be complicated, boring or expensive. In fact, a few little tweaks here and there is all it takes to make sure your family is fed, happy and healthy. And, to put more money towards your healthy food shop, you could always take part in paid market research opportunities! So, read on to find out 15 simple ways you and your family can eat well for less…
1. Write a shopping list
It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people do their weekly shop without a shopping list and end up buying things they don’t need. Instead, create nutritious weekly meal plans and stick to your shopping list as rigorously as possible so you can fill your basket with healthy foods that you’ll actually eat.
2. Empty out your cupboards
Before you head out shopping, make sure you root around your kitchen to find any hidden ingredients lurking in your freezer or long-forgotten tins at the back of your cupboards. You might find you’ve got enough ingredients to make a whole meal, or you could plan your weekly meals working around the items you’ve already got.
3. Don’t hit the shops when you’re hungry
It’s true! People who go shopping when they’re hungry are much more likely to splash the cash on high-fat or sugary snacks. Not only are these types of snacks more expensive, but they’re also less healthy too – so make sure you head out shopping with a full belly so you can be strong and resist snacking temptation!
4. Be careful not to waste anything
By creating a meal plan and only shopping for ingredients you really need you can make sure you use up everything and that there’s no wastage. Did you know that the average family with children throws out almost £60 worth of totally good food every month? That’s a lot of money to throw away – so make sure you only buy what you’ll eat and that you freeze any leftovers too! To top up your weekly food budget, why not sign up to some paid market research opportunities?
5. Make use of your leftovers
That leads us on nicely to our next point. Instead of grabbing expensive and often unhealthy meal deals for your lunch, why not take your yummy leftovers into work for lunch the next day? You can even cook bigger portions when making your evening meal to make sure you’ve got enough left for lunches too.
6. Try meat free Mondays
Meat and fish are typically the most expensive ingredients on the shopping list – so going meat-free on a Monday and adding more vegetables to your meals can make your food go further for less. And who knows, if you like it you could add a few more vegetarian meals to your weekly meal plan to keep those costs down!
7. Consider buying frozen
If you’re concerned about the cost of fresh fruit and veg, frozen alternatives are actually just as good for you. In fact, they’re usually picked at the point of freshness and frozen to seal in their nutrients – and obviously they last longer too! Try frozen berries in smoothies, and of course frozen veg as a side to your meals.
8. Don’t dismiss own-brand
People often dismiss supermarket own-brand food in favour of bigger and better known brands, but actually there’s not much difference in taste at all. Give it a go and let your taste buds be the judge rather than being attracted by shiny labels and flashy ad campaigns.
9. Cook with pulses
Pulses such as beans and lentils are the superhero of healthy eating on a budget. Not only are they delicious and cheap with a long shelf life, but they’re also high in fibre, vitamins and minerals and count towards your five a day. Try putting chickpeas in your curries or use beans instead of mince for your chili. It will make your meals go further and you can cook up a storm trying out new recipes!
10. Look up cheap recipes
Cheap and healthy doesn’t necessarily mean boring and bland. With so many food bloggers out there constantly competing to come up with innovative ways to eat for less, there’s tons of recipes online to get you excited and inspired. Check out Change4Life’s meal mixer, One Pound Meals and BBC Good Food to get started.
11. Buy cheaper cuts
If you don’t mind taking a little longer with your cooking, buying cheaper cuts of meat is a fantastic way to save money – without scrimping on the taste! Slow cooking cheaper cuts such as braising steak, shin or shoulder slowly break down the fibres, giving you a fantastic taste at a fraction of the cost.
12. Cook from scratch
However tempting it is to order a takeaway after a long day in the office, it’s much healthier and more cost effective to cook for yourself. Preparing and cooking your own meals is much cheaper than splashing out on a takeaway or warming up a ready meal – and because you can control what goes into your dish it’s also healthier too.
13. Cut down on luxuries
Cutting down on non-essential items in your shopping basket can save you money and make you healthier too. If you find snack bars, crisps and fizzy drinks are regularly sneaking into your shopping basket, try and cut down or swap them for healthier and cheaper alternatives such as sparkling water instead of fizzy drinks and fruit and yogurt instead of biscuits and cakes.
14. Or shop during happy hour
Instead of doing the food shop online, heading to the supermarket at the end of the day to do your food shopping can be a great way to grab a bargain. If you time it right, the reduced to clear shelves can save you a substantial amount of money – just make sure you keep a close eye on use by and best before dates though! Although, if you freeze on the day of purchase this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
15. Shop seasonally
Food grown in season not only tastes better, but it’s usually cheaper too. From apples and squashes in autumn to broccoli and berries in the summer, not only will shopping seasonally save you money but it can put variety and colour into your diet too! Check out this website for more information and inspiration.
See, we told you being healthy doesn’t need to be boring! If you’re feeling inspired by any of these ideas, we’d love to hear your thoughts – and if you fancy making a bit more money to put towards the weekly shop, why not register with Angelfish to find out about the latest paid market research opportunities? Click here to find out more.