At the start of the year, many people look to cut back on non-essentials, and that can include looking at the food budget and making some adjustments.
Here, we have 10 handy tips for making sure you are able to still eat healthy and nutritious meals that won't break the bank.
Tip 1 - Stock up on veggies
Veggies are easy to come by, affordable and full of essential nutrients. A diet that’s rich in vegetables has been linked to lower blood pressure, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and some types of cancer, as well as improved digestion and benefiting blood sugar which helps to keep your appetite balanced.1
Fibre is super important for your gut health. Fibre acts as a food source for the good bacteria in your gut, helping to promote diversity and maintain balance. Broccoli, leafy greens, Brussel sprouts, carrots and aubergines are all fantastic sources of fibre.2
Tip 2 - Breakfast Oats
Oats are a powerhouse of nutrition, and can be bought in bulk for a very low cost. Oats contain Vitamins B1 and B5, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, folate and 63.91% of your daily intake of manganese in just half a cup.3
Just make sure you don't go for instant oats, as although they are quick to cook, they are often highly processed and lack the nutrition that whole oats have.
Tip 3 - Make your own sauerkraut
Fermented foods are full of probiotics; essential for good gut health. Although fermented foods generally are affordable, you can cut cost even further by making your own sauerkraut. Adding probiotics into your diet adds new species of good bacteria into the gut, boosting that necessary diversity.
All you need is an airtight container, white cabbage and seasalt. It can take anywhere from 3-6 weeks to ferment properly, and will leave you with the perfect sour side dish, dip or topping for your meals!4
Tip 4 - Use your leftovers
Don’t throw away your leftovers or let them go bad in the fridge; put them to good use and create new meals for no more money! Your leftovers can make great salads, side dishes or soups to fill you up the day after.
The UK throws away 9.5 million tonnes of food each and every year.5 If you are able to make use of your leftovers rather than bin them, you can save a pretty penny and feel good about not contributing to this extreme waste!
Tip 5 - Buy own-brand foods
Sometimes, known brands and own-brands are made in the same factories, making the quality of the product identical. All food manufacturer are under obligation to follow the same standard to make safe food, and own brand foods are often a fraction of the price.
When doing this, be sure to check the ingredients and nutritional information to identify any changes between the known brand and own brand, so you can avoid allergens. ensure you are not getting a load of unexpected salt and sugar, or less nutritional value.
Tip 6 - Switch out your protein
Although meat is a great protein source, it’s not the only option out there and is normally the most expensive option. Eggs, legumes, chickpeas and canned fish are all great sources of protein that come in significantly cheaper than chicken, beef or pork is.
Tip 7 - Buy frozen fruits and vegetables
The only issue with buying fruits and veggies at a low cost, is that the shelf life is normally pretty short. If you buy frozen fruits and vegetables instead, you don’t need to worry about using them up quickly or throwing them out because they’ve rotted.
If you are buying frozen fruits and vegetables, you are likely to get more for your buck, too. They often come in huge packs that work out a lot cheaper than buying fresh! In Aldi, frozen strawberries work out at £4.26 per kg, whilst fresh strawberries are £9.48 per kg.6,7
Tip 8 - Bring a packed lunch
Coming prepared can save you a lot of money in the long run. If you are organised with what you are going to eat, you can stop yourself buying expensive food unnecessarily out of necessity from being unprepared.
Packing a lunchbox when you know you will be out of the house can stop you from eating out. A packed lunch doesn’t have to be boring - pack the stuff you like and you can look forward to your cost effective, yummy lunch!
Tip 9 - Eat Seasonally
When produce is in season, it’s usually more affordable. By planning your diet around what food is currently in season, you can save a pretty penny.
A benefit worth considering is that food in season is usually at it’s peak nutritionally, so you are able to buy super nutritious food at a lower cost by using this method.
Tip 10 - Cook in bulk
We’re sure you’ve heard this one before, but it really does work to cut the cost. Cooking multiple portions at once not only saves you a whole load of effort long term, but can cut the cost of your weekly shopping.
Let’s break it down. If you buy one meal that requires 500g of chicken and one that requires 500g of pork, you need to buy two different meats.
By making two portions of the meal requiring chicken, you can buy a bigger pack of chicken which works out cheaper by the kilo. In Aldi, a 600g pack of chicken breast costs £6.15 per kilo, whilst a 900g pack costs £4.99 per kilo.8
What's your tips?
If you have any money-saving tips and tricks you'd like to share, email us at email@example.com! We'd love to hear about how you eat healthy on a budget.
If you liked this article, check out 12 Myths of Christmas: Nutrition Myths, Busted!