By Nutrition Experts| with thanks to Tescodiets
Monday, September 15, 2014.
Thanks to cost-of living increases, healthy
eating on a budget has become a major challenge for many families. The annual
government Family Food Survey shows that low-income families are spending less
on fresh produce, while the UK Faculty of Public Health claims that nutrition
deficiencies like rickets are making a return to GP surgeries. If you are
feeling the pinch and struggling to get healthy food on the table, check out
this three-point plan to help you and your family eat well for less.
Eating healthy on a budget - the 3 point plan
Healthy eating on a budget can
be challenging, but it's not rocket science. It boils down
to doing 3 things well:
- Plan ahead
- Shop smart
- Reduce waste
Planning ahead is the best way
to manage healthy eating on a budget. By taking a little time to decide what
you are going to cook for the week ahead, you can assemble your list of meals,
ingredients, and can compile a shopping list to ensure you can eat well for
- Plan your meals. By using your Food Diary, you can set out your
whole week's meals in advance. If you are following a meal plan, you can
fill your Shopping List with healthy, nutritious
food at the click of a button. To keep your budget down, choose meals with
similar ingredients so there will be no waste.
- Save recipes. This is another great
tool in your planning arsenal. Got some food you need to use up? Then head
to our Recipe Centre, enter a key ingredient
and get a list of meal ideas.
- Make a list. Compiling a shopping
list is one of the best ways to eat well for less. This way, you only buy
the things you need. With your Tesco Health and Wellbeing Shopping List, you can order your food
from Tesco Online and don’t have to set foot inside the store.
- Shop online. By shopping online, you
can resist the pull of impulse-buying that can add pounds to your bill.
Special offers may seem like a good deal, but a few impulsive items thrown
in the trolley can deliver a nasty surprise at the checkout. Another
advantage of shopping online is that you can see your total as you shop,
making it far easier to stick to a budget.
If you really do prefer
shopping in person, be smart about how you shop and what you buy. Here are some
smart shopping tips to help you get the best value for money without skimping
- Eat before shopping. Our judgement can be
clouded by hunger, making us buy more food than we need. So make sure that
you're not hitting the supermarket on an empty stomach.
- Shop alone. Leave the kids and
partner at home. This way, you can buy what the family needs without being
pestered for unnecessary items.
- Consider own-brand
out the own-brand goods in your supermarket: see what the nutritional
value is like, and also how it tastes. If you find a product that's
cheaper, just as tasty and just as nutritious, it's a big win-win.
- Take a calculator. As you make your way
around the aisles, enter the price of each item you put in your trolley
and keep a running total. If you find yourself going over budget, you can
decide what to leave out.
- Shop in the evening. Many supermarkets mark
down perishables like bread, fruit, veg, fish and meat at the end of the
day. So, if you time it right, you can get some great deals. Be sure to
consume these foods before they reach their use-by date or on the day of
- Buy in bulk. You'll need to be
organised, and use products before they go out of date, but you can make
quite a saving in the long run by buying larger quantities. Rather than
buying a small box of cereal every week, check to see how much you'll save
per portion if you buy the biggest one in stock. It may cost more, but you
can leave it off your shopping list for a while.
- Use coupons and vouchers. If you have money-off
coupons or vouchers, be sure to use them whenever you can. The same goes
for Clubcard vouchers if you are a Tesco customer. Watch out for offers
where you can ‘boost’ the value to save more money on food.
- Always take your loyalty
card. Supermarket loyalty
cards can save you pounds on your shopping. Be sure to always collect your
points. Use these points regularly or save them up for when you need to do
an extra-large shop, like at Christmas.
According to the UK
government’s 2011 Review of waste policy in England, we throw away 7.2 million
tonnes of food and drink per year, 50% of which could have been eaten. On
average, therefore, each household wastes between £470 and £700 per year - the
figure is usually highest in households with children. Can you really afford
this? Here are some tips to help you keep your food wastage to an absolute
- Use perishables first. When you plan your
meals, make sure you are using the most perishable food first. Items like
salad, fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, bread and cakes often need to be
used within a few days of purchasing. If you leave it a little late and
notice fruit or vegetables going soft, use them up in a curry, casserole
- Batch cook. Rather than leaving half
a jar of pasta sauce in the fridge to grow fur or allowing that second
courgette to go soft, make a big meal. You can save what’s left over for
lunch the next day, or freeze it to use later in the week.
- Check use-by dates. This is important for
food safety as well as for avoiding waste. Check your kitchen inventory
regularly and move foods that are approaching their ‘use-by’ dates to a
more prominent position. If you’re not sure what to do with them, check
the Recipe Centre for inspiration.
- Be creative. Look at unique ways to
use fruit and vegetables by learning how to dry, pickle, preserve, or make
jams and chutneys.
We hope these tips will help you to get the best value possible so that you
can continue eating healthy on a budget. If you have any other money-saving
tips that help you eat well for less, share with your fellow members and post
them in the comments below!