The saying might be ‘cheap as chips’ but if you’re watching the pennies, you can still have healthy, well-balanced meals that don’t break the bank

green beans

When money’s tight, the weekly food shop can be challenging. When it’s the new year and you’re dedicated to eating healthily, it’s near impossible. But if you follow some of our top tips, you’ll find eating healthy on a budget is achievable, without sacrificing taste.

Plan your meals

Think ahead about what you’d like to make and write a shopping list. This way you’ll buy only what you need without any impulse purchases.

Make the brand switch

Swap premium, prepackaged foods for basic brands. Buy loose fruit and veg sold by weight. Try out your local markets – often these are much cheaper than the big brands.

Eat your leftovers

Save on waste and put your leftovers aside for lunch the next day – making something like a lasagne can be enough for several portions, and often tastes even better a day later.

Buy frozen

Frozen fruit and vegetables are pre-chopped and just as nutritious as the fresh stuff, but are often cheaper and last a lot longer. Perfect for a quick, nutritious morning smoothie.

You don’t owe loyalty to any supermarket, and some are more expensive than others
Go veggie

You might not be a full-time vegetarian, but cutting down your meat consumption isn’t only a great way to save money, it’s good for you and the environment, too!

Learn to cook from scratch

Cooking from scratch is a skill. It’s much healthier (without the added sugar and salt) and costs a hell of a lot less than a takeaway.

Shop around

You don’t owe loyalty to any supermarket, and some are more expensive than others. Price-check the big names on comparison sites, and do your shop online. You’ll save a bundle.

Find ‘happy hour’

You might not want go shopping after work, but most supermarkets will discount fresh produce at the end of the day. In particular, you can often pick up meat at a reduced price and freeze for future use.

vegetables

QUICK RECIPE

Bean & vegetable chilli - Serves 5

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 large white onion
2 large garlic cloves
1 chilli pepper
1 red pepper
1 carrot
4 tbsp tomato puree
400g tomato passata
250ml vegetable stock
400g tinned butterbeans
400g tinned kidney beans
400g tinned pinto beans
1 cup sweetcorn
1 tsp hot paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp chilli powder
Salt and pepper to season

Method

Finely chop the onion and garlic and fry on a medium heat.
Chop the peppers and the carrot into chunks.
Add to the pan and cook for five minutes.
Add the tomato puree and stir.
Add the passata and stock.
Leave to simmer.
Add the beans and sweetcorn.
Add the spices. Stir well and leave to simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
Serve with boiled rice or a side salad.

Divide any leftovers and keep in the fridge. Pop in the microwave at work for an easy, affordable and filling winter lunch!