7 Tips for shopping healthy on a budget

1. Go frozen

For many of us, when it comes to a weekly shop fresh fruit and veg is often top of the list, and rightly so.  Planning your meals for the week ahead isn’t always that easy though, as expiration dates often mean our vegetables find their way straight into the bin before we’ve even got round to enjoying them.  In the UK, 50% of food waste comes from homes, with perishable foods like fruit and veg high on the list.  Get around this problem by buying frozen vegetables.  With just as much nutritional goodness as fresh vegetables, use what you need when you need it with frozen vegetables and enjoy eating vegetables at a fraction of the cost.

2. Think smooth

Don’t just stop at frozen vegetables, add frozen fruit to your basket.  Frozen berries, mangos and pineapples can all be great for smoothies, again, allowing you to add what you want, when you want.  You’ll also have little preparation for the smoothie so simply blitz and enjoy.  Add a spoonful of flaxseed and goji berries and some Greek yoghurt and enjoy a frozen berry flaxseed smoothie for breakfast.

3. Make a list

Making a list to prepare well for your weekly shop will make things a little easier when it comes to paying at the checkout.  It can be all too easy to reach for special offers on the end of the aisles so be prepared and disciplined and make a list of planned meals for the week to ensure you don’t spend overboard.

4. Grab some cans

Adding some canned food such as cannellini beans or chickpeas to your basket can be a great way to bulk up meals, particularly when your fridge is empty! They are cost-effective and will keep for a long time in your pantry cupboard.  They’ll also make a great addition to any soup, rice or pasta dish, allowing you to whip up a tasty and affordable meal in not time. Make sure to check the labels though – many canned goods can contain added salt and preservatives  so leave them on the shelf!

5. Shop local

When it comes to buying meat and fish, aim for lean cuts and shop local if you can.  You’ll find some great offers on fish and meat, at your local butchers or fish mongers and you’ll even find great deals at local markets – along with fruit and vegetables.

6. Shop last minute

There’s a lot to be said for planning your weekly shop, but if you really want to hunt out some bargains why not shop as you go?  Call into your local supermarket, butchers or fruit & veg shop and pick up offers for food that is close to its sell by date.  So long as you’re not too picky about what your meals will be each day (surprise is always a good thing), you’ll get some great ingredients and can get really creative in the kitchen.  It’ll be like an episode of ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ every night.

7. Avoid processed foods

Try to avoid cheap, processed package foods.  Even if they do appear to be low in fat and great value, there are always things that won’t be too obvious on the labels.  Most of these meals will be high in sugar and calories and not contain as much fruit and vegetables as your body needs – they can also leave you feeling hungry due to the lack of key minerals and nutrients.  Be sure to clearly read the labels on any packed or processed foods that you plan to buy to check the ingredients.

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