10 simple ways to eat well and save money
Read our dietitian's tips for shopping and cooking healthily for less.
1. Shop smart
Review prices online to find the best bargains. Using supermarket budget ranges for items such as tinned and fresh fruit and vegetables, pasta and rice is a real help too. Don’t overlook market stalls (pictured) and greengrocers for cheaper fruit and veg.
2. Beware multi-buys
These offers aren’t a great deal if you end up with a mountain of food that you can’t eat before it goes off. Think before you go for a multiple offer such as ‘two for one’ or ‘buy two get one free’.
3. Compare like with like
Compare prices per 100g to make sure you really are getting a deal – use the price tabs on the supermarket shelves to give you this information so you can compare across different size packs. Larger packs are often better value, but only if you are going to use it all.
4. Use seasonal fruit and veg
Prices come down when there is a glut of any kind of food and, when it comes to fruit and veg, an extra bonus is that produce tastes much better when it’s in season.
5. Plan everything
Don’t underestimate the humble shopping list, based on a meal plan for the week. This ensures you have everything you need and also helps you to avoid temptation in the supermarket.
6. Only cook one meal
Don’t get into the habit of catering for a variety of likes and dislikes. Make one meal for everyone. It costs more to buy the different foods and cook separate dishes.
7. Freeze leftovers
Cooked too much? Leftover bread? Don’t bin it, freeze it. Enjoy casseroles, soups and curries another day and use up bread as breadcrumbs, toast or chunky baked croutons in soup.
8. Add pulses to stretch out the meat
One of the most expensive items in your basket is meat, so learning to make a little stretch a long way is a good idea. Beans and lentils are vegetarian sources of protein and iron, but shouldn’t be exclusive to non-meat eaters. By adding pulses to your dishes in place of some of the meat, you’ll bulk them up and get plenty of protein, plus the flavour of meat, but it costs you less.
9. Fill your oven
If you’re putting the oven on, don’t just use it to cook a couple of jacket potatoes. Cook a casserole, like our chunky vegetable and bean goulash, to freeze for another day and bake some fruit to eat over the next couple of days.
10. Claim your benefits
Make sure that you are receiving any benefits that you are eligible for and, if you find yourself in an emergency situation, look for food banks in your local area and find out how you can access them.