• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

How to eat well on a budget

Recent research shows that a third of people in the UK say they do not eat healthily because it is too expensive, with 1 in 10 saying that they don't know how.

Eat asparagus in April, when in season

The findings reflect how, for many of us, cost can be perceived as a barrier to eating nutritious food.

This is often coupled with confusion as to what actually constitutes a healthy diet. Eating for good health should be, and can be, accessible to even the tightest of budgets.

Here are 7 top tips to combine frugality with nutrition and vitality.

1.       Eat seasonally

When fruits and vegetables are in season they are usually at their cheapest, as well as having their best flavour and nutritious value. Choose root vegetables through the winter months, asparagus in April, berries in the summer and apples & squash in the autumn.

2.       Savvy staples

Stock up your store cupboard with the following canned goods. These can form the basis of cheap and easy, but highly nutritious meals:

1 Beans and pulses- a great source of protein, fibre and energy-boosting B vitamins. Fantastic to add to soups, stews and casseroles to boost the nutrient value, and bulk up meals to make them go further. 

2 Tinned fish- such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines. A cheaper alternative to fresh fish, but still rich in heart and brain healthy omega 3 fats.

3 Tinned tomatoes- the most versatile of ingredients, these can form the basis of most dishes. Cooked tomatoes have a higher concentration of the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene than raw tomatoes too.  

3.       The frozen aisle

Frozen vegetables and fruit are usually picked, packaged and frozen within a very short time-span. This means they may actually contain more nutrients than some supermarket vegetables which can lie in storage for weeks before making it to the supermarket shelves. You only use them when, and in the amounts, you need which also greatly reduces wastage. 

4.       Choose your supermarket wisely

They are now popping up on every street corner, but try to avoid shopping at the major supermarket "mini" stores. These outlets often don't sell fruit and vegetables as loose items, meaning that you end up spending more on packaged produce that you don't want or need.  Don't rule out local farmers' markets for the freshest, local produce; and there is often a bargain to be had if you go at the end of the day!

5.       Never shop hungry

Hunger will lead you to making food choices based on what you fancy there and then, rather than what's good for you.  The best way to avoid impulse buying is to 1) eat before you shop and 2) prepare yourself beforehand by planning your meals for the week ahead, writing a list, and sticking to it. Be particularly wary of BOGOF offers as they can tempt you to buy more than you need or can use.

6.       Cook in bulk

When cooking, make large batches of your meals; freeze the leftovers and use for lunches and dinners throughout the week. If you've got a meal ready at home, you are less likely to splash out on a takeaway or an overpriced ready-meal on those days when you don't feel like cooking.

7.       Make some simple switches.

Nuts are nutrition powerhouses, but can be very pricey. Instead, opt for seeds which are cheaper than nuts and can replace them in most recipes. Pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds are all high in protein and good fats, and bursting with minerals and vitamins.

Eating good, nutritious food really doesn't have to break the bank- it just takes a little more planning.

Contextual targeting label: 
Food and drink

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

215893