How to eat well for less and make your food go further

By Hannah Buckland, Healthy Hearts Care Planner

There is often a perception that eating well is expensive, which can be a huge barrier for people to pursue a healthy diet. However, healthy eating does not have to cost more. In this article, we provide some top tips for how to eat well for less and make your food go further.

Plan ahead. Take stock of what you already have in your cupboards and fridge and plan meals based around these foods. Write a shopping list of any items you need and stick to this when you shop. Avoid any spontaneous purchases and look for the value ranges; there is rarely much difference in taste. Beware of special discounts, such as buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF) deals – these often encourage you to spend on items that were not on your list. On the other hand, shopping towards the end of the day and keeping an eye out for discounted products can be a good way to save money. Just make sure the item gets used before the use-by date.

Avoid waste. The average family with children throws away almost £60 of good food every month. Planning is key here – buy only what you need. Freeze any leftovers or unused food to use another day. This will also save you time down the line!

Buy frozen foods. There is a common misconception that frozen fruit and veg are less nutritious than fresh. In fact, the opposite is often the case. Frozen fruit and veg are picked when fresh and then frozen to seal in their nutrients. They are also highly convenient and cheaper than fresh varieties, which need to be eaten before they go off. Frozen fish or meat is also cheaper than fresh – however, try to avoid processed meats if possible.

Buy tinned foods. Tinned foods also get a bad press but, again, they can be a cheap, convenient and healthy option. Consider tinned fish, pulses, veg and fruit over fresh. Always give tinned pulses and veg a rinse to remove any excess salt and try to buy fruits that are canned in their own water or juice rather than sugary syrup.

Have meat-free meals. Meat and fish tend to be the more expensive ingredients on a shopping list. Try adding vegetables or pulses to dishes like casseroles, curries or pasta to make your meals go further. Increasing pulses and veg will up your intake of fibre, vitamins and minerals and help you to reach your 5 a day. Having some vegetarian meals throughout the week can also help to keep costs down.

Keep an eye on portion sizes. Weigh or measure out staples such as rice and pasta to avoid waste. Don’t feel the pressure to finish everything on your plate if you’re full – you can always store or freeze leftovers to eat at a later date.

Cook and prepare your own meals. Takeaways are convenient but they can be expensive and less nutrient-dense than meals you prepare yourself. Why not try to recreate some of your favourites at home? There are lots of healthy “fakeaway” recipes online you can use for inspiration.

Compare prices. Look for the price per weight or price per unit of the food you are buying. This is the easiest way to compare value for money when looking at different brands or pack sizes of the same product. Fruit and vegetables sometimes cost more pre-packed than loose but it can depend – remember to buy only what you need to avoid waste.

We hope that this has given you some ideas for ways in which you can save money on food and reduce waste, without compromising on taste and nutrition. If you would be interested in further nutrition support and guidance, why not give us a call? Our team can help support you to achieve a healthy, balanced diet. Call us on 020 3434 2500 or sign up here.

References

NHS (2019). 20 tips to eat well for less. NHS. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/20-tips-to-eat-well-for-less/ [Accessed 11th March 2021].

Rhitrition (2020). How to make your food go further. Rhitrition. Available from: https://rhitrition.com/make-food-go-further/ [Accessed 11th March 2021].

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