Healthy eating on a budget

Keeping your nutrition on track may seem like expensive business with a lot of people using the cost of nutritious foods as a ‘barrier’ to maintaining a healthy diet but it certainly doesn’t have to be. The key is awareness and planning which will help you build a healthy and sustainable diet without burning a hole in your wallet.

1. Focus on the essentials first and foremost. Eggs, dairy, meats, fish, grains, fruit and veg should be the necessities to concentrate on first with your money. Any fancy ingredients or cooking devices should be an afterthought.

2. Compare prices and brands. Often store’s own brands taste exactly the same but up to 50% cheaper compared to brand name products. Shop around and don’t just reach for the brand name with the fancy packaging straight away.

3. Bulk buy meat and fish. Buying in bulk is a great way to save big. Despite paying a bit more upfront, the end price will be cheaper than if you were to buy each meal individually. Often butchers and fishmongers do bulk deals so buying meat and fish in bulk which can be frozen in individual freezer bags is a great way of making the price and produce go a long way. With fresh fruit and veg, these have a short shelf live so a mini shop every 3-5 days can help in keeping stocks fresh rather than dumping expired produce however frozen varieties of these can also be cost effective and just as nutritious.

4. Find in season produce. Fruit and veg that are in season are often cheaper as these are in greater abundance at that time. When it’s not it has to be shipped from elsewhere or grown in smaller batches therefore bumping up the costs. Example is strawberries are in season from June to late September.

Healthy eating may seem expensive but with careful planning and comparing it to take aways, meals out and alcohol, it often works out cheaper. Additionally, healthy eating will go a long way of improving your overall health and can keep your medical costs down in the future.