We’re not poor by any stretch of the imagination, but budgets are tight since my husband has changed his career and I continue to build a client base in my dietetic business. I’m very comfortable with thrifty living……it’s probably because I’m trying to relive my youthful cash strapped student days!
So here are some of my top tips for finding cheap healthy food. Fruit, veg, fish etc. can all be hideously expensive. If I didn’t know where to look for cheaper options, my daily shopping would be in excess of £30. So here are some ways to cut the costs of healthy eating:
- Use your local market, and get to know the stall holders…….some will be cheaper than
others, and offer bargains on particular days. If you are a regular customer they may even throw in an extra something for free. My local market is in Kingston town centre, where on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays my Avocado Man is there with bargainous 4 avo’s for a pound and massive bowls of peppers, also £1. Officially, the sign says 3 avocados for £1, but he makes his customers feel special by throwing in an extra one. Great marketing (excuse the pun!) Today I got 16 peppers and 4 avocados for £2. I was so excited with my haul that I missed the large basket of cherry tomatoes for £1 (noticed this is the photo above!) What to do with avocados. 10 things to do with a pepper
- Berries are often extolled as a ‘superfood’ and included in many of my recipes. They are full of antioxidants and all sorts of other goodies that a completely wonderful for you. They are also relatively low in sugar and low calorie. Bought fresh, berries can be expensive (£2-3 for about 150g). Buy the frozen basics range for a much less eye watering £1.35 for 500g. These are fabulous for making smoothies (no need to defrost), in berry crumble, in flapjacks, with yogurt for breakfast/dessert.
- Oats: super nutritious with soluble fibre which is great for keeping the digestive system healthy, lowering cholesterol, filling, low in sugar, and very versatile. Oh yes, and cheap! Even if you buy the posh chunky variety, they are cheaper than most other breakfast cereal. Oats are extremely versatile. I use them everyday for porridge, to make Granola and biscuits. I think they are so awesome that I devoted a whole post to them.
- Basic range carrots, apples, bananas, carton chopped tomatoes: once again, do not be afraid of the supermarket ‘basics’ ranges. The basic apples are usually the ones that are in abundant supply at the time, therefore cheaper. As an example, my favourite Egremont Russets were £1.80 per kilo, but they were also being sold at the same time as the Basics apple at £0.80 per kg. Bonkers! The Basics carrots aren’t perfectly straight and you may get the odd half carrot in the bag, but otherwise great. As for the bananas, I really cannot tell the difference between Basics and any of the others!
- Lidl: here are my particular favourites from this frills free supermarket…….Pesto, 1 litre tubs of yoghurt, beetroot and eggs. All miles cheaper that the other supermarkets.
- Bulk out tomato dishes with red lentils: bolognaise, soup, chilli, Shepherd’s Pie. Not only
are you making the cost of the recipe cheaper by needing to use less meat (or use the same amount of meat and have leftovers to use at another time), you are increasing the amount of great fibre making it very filling, reducing the overall percentage of saturated fat, and increasing the amount of plant protein. Red lentils actually look an orange/brown colour when cooked, so I add a great big squirt of lycopene rich tomato puree to ‘brighten up’ the colour of the recipe.
- Save any leftovers……take what you haven’t used and put in a tupperware container for the fridge. I always over estimate the amount of rice we need, so use it the next day for egg fried rice with peppers, spring onions and a dash of soy sauce, or throw in to an omelette with some grated carrot (great finger food for weaning babies and older children). My breakfast this morning after the school run was left over Chicken Jambalaya from the night before (not to everyone’s taste for breakfast!!).
I estimate that I can save about £10 a day using these tactics, which adds up to £300 a month!