12 Ways to Eat Healthy for Less

*This is a collaborative post*

Despite what a lot of people think, it is perfectly possible to eat a healthy diet without spending more money. In fact, if you shop savvy, you could actually eat healthier for less than the cost of your usual shop. Sound good? Here are some tips to help you start eating healthy for less…

Plan Your Meals

Meal planning might seem like a bit of a chore when you already have lots to do, but it really does cut down on food waste, and more importantly, it enables you to ensure that you have a healthy balanced diet every day of the week. 

By working out exactly what you are going to eat each week, you can write out a water-tight shopping list and prevent yourself from spending more on extras and stuff that’s really unnecessary, thus saving you money.

Buy Frozen

We tend to think of frozen food as being the stuff that’s bad for us - the ready meals and the chicken nuggets - but you can actually get a lot of very cheap healthy foodstuffs from the freezer section. Frozen fruits and vegetables are not only cheaper than fresh, but they are often pre-prepared for convenience, and more importantly, they tend to be cheaper than fresh. Since they’re frozen, you don’t have to worry about them being wasted either.

Make Treats Part of the Meal

One thing you can do to ensure that you don’t feel deprived while eating healthier, and still having lots of nice things so that you don’t get bored, is to switch from buying lots of additional treats like chocolate and crisps (although they’re fine in moderation) to buying treat foods that can make up a meal. For example, things like smoked trout, camembert cheese and halloumi are all examples of slightly indulgent foods that many people see as a treat, but which can be incorporated into a healthy recipe that will be as satisfying as it is good for you.

Bulk Food Up with Legumes

Legumes, especially red lentils, are great for bulking up soups and stews while increasing the healthy content of your meals. They’re dirt cheap, especially if you buy them from bulk stores or Asian supermarkets, one of your five a day, and once they’re in your bolognese or whatever, you won’t even notice they’re there - what’s not to love?

Eat in Season

Foods that are in season tend to be cheaper than foods that have been imported out of season simply because they are so plentiful. So, instead of eating mangoes in the Autumn, for example, switch to blackberries - you’ll still be getting your nutrients, but in a more pocket-friendly way.

Have Meat-Free Days

Meat and fish tend to be the most expensive elements of any meal, so why not have more meat-free days? Even if you’re a meat lover, you’ll find that there are plenty of veggie recipes that are packed with flavour, and that are so good you won’t really miss the meat. You don’t have to go vegetarian - even having a meat-free Monday will help to lower your bills, and if it means lowering your consumption of red meat, it will do your health a world of wonders too.

Choose Cheaper Cuts

If you do want to eat meat, you can make savings by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat than you might otherwise. A lot of people shy away from things like pork shoulder or beef shin, but often these overlooked cuts are just as, if not more tasty than the more commonly used cuts, and they can make some extremely tasty dishes.

Cut Your Portions

If you happen to be over your ideal weight, it could be that you are eating portions that are bigger than you really need, That’s good news for your wallet because you can very easily save money by cutting your portions. This will lower your food bill and ensure that you can afford lots of good healthy food on your budget. You’ll lose weight and feel better too, of course.

Cook Everything from Scratch

Eating out and convenience foods might be tasty, but if you’re serious about eating more healthily, you really should think about cooking everything from scratch most of the time. Doing this will not only save you money, but it will give you a health boost purely because you will be eating fewer unnecessary additives, and you will have complete control of every single thing that goes into your mouth, which means you can cut calories, add in extra veggies, include more iron-rich foods - nor whatever you need to do to make your food healthier for you and your family.

Give Up Your Vices

This one may be tough, and it isn’t strictly necessary, but if you want to slash your food bill and eat healthily, you might want to think about giving up those foods and drinks that you know aren’t particularly good for you. If you drink lots of colas, try switching to sparkling water then move on to plain water when you’re ready or if you eat a lot of chocolate try replacing it with healthy apples or carrot sticks instead. This isn’t always easy and you may be able to simply cut down rather than go cold turkey, but anything you can do to reduce the unnecessary elements of your diet will be a big help.

Give Up the Big Brands

If you always buy the expensive branded stuff when you’re at the supermarket, why not try a cheaper version? Often, it’s hard to tell the difference between the two and even when you can, that’s not always a bad thing. If you can save on, say branded baked beans, that will mean you have more money available for healthy fruit and veg, and you won’t have to give anything up.

Shop Around

Shopping around instead of staying loyal to one supermarket, if you are able to do so, allows you to take advantage of all the best deals wherever they may be.

What do you do to eat healthy for less?