After three and a half weeks of Healthy Eating on a Budget tips, it’s time to bring this series to a close. We’ve seen how you can change both your eating and grocery shopping habits to eat well and save money. However, it can seem like a lot of information, so I’ve created a handy step by step guide to bring all those tips together.
Plan your weekly shop
- Start by having a look at some healthy recipes which use seasonal ingredients (you can check what’s in season on the Vegetarian Society website). Consider trying some vegetarian meals.
- Think about making big re-usable food earlier in the week which you can have for lunches and dinners later in the week. You can also check your freezer to see if there are any big reusables left from previous weeks which could be eaten this week.
- Decide what you’re going to eat for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. Look at your schedule and be realistic about which days you’ll be able to spend time cooking.
- Check your cupboards and freezer to see what you have, and what you need to buy to make those meals. Pay particular attention to foods you plan to eat several times. For example, if you plan to have porridge for breakfast five days a week, and you use 50g of oats each time, you’ll need at least 250g of oats.
- Make your shopping list.
- Consider whether you want to go to the grocery store or whether online shopping can save you time and money.
- Only buy the things on your shopping list. Do not even go down the aisles which are nothing but crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks.
- Compare the price of different brands and package sizes using price per weight. If this is a hassle, buy supermarket own brands wherever possible, as they are usually better value.
- Consider buying things like chicken breasts in bulk and then freezing them at home.
- Spend some time in the frozen aisle. In particular, look for out of season produce (such as berries in December) and frozen seafood and fish fillets.
- When you get your shopping home, check the use by dates on all fresh food. If you have some chicken or fish that will be past it’s use by date before you plan to cook it, freeze it.
- Break up any big packages of chicken, meat or fish into individual portion sizes and freeze in plastic bags.
- Do any baking, (such as making your own flapjacks or muffins for snacks), and make your big reusables as soon as you can so you are ready for the week ahead.
- Make sure you eat the food you buy. If you decide not to cook your planned meal one evening (i.e. you go out to eat or get take away), remember to freeze any fresh ingredients (such as vegetables) which might go off.
- Remember the 80/20 rule: Get in right 80% of the time and you can be more relaxed about the other 20%. It’s OK to have the occasional treat or go out with your mates on a Friday night. Acknowledge that going out once in a while is healthy too and plan for it, so you don’t waste food. Healthy eating should be for life, so make it sustainable and enjoyable!
I hope you have enjoyed this series on healthy eating on a budget. If you have any questions, or any ideas for future blog posts, please get in touch!
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