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Eating Well on a Budget

Eating a balanced diet does not have to be expensive. Try these tips for a healthy diet and bank balance!

  • Plan your meals for the week in advance and check your store cupboard before making a shopping list. Stick to your list so you won’t be tempted by more expensive items

  • Get cooking! Try making more home-cooked meals instead of buying ready-prepared dishes. They will be less expensive and are often more nutritious.

  • Shop Local: Visit your local butcher, fishmonger or market. You’ll avoid paying for packaging, and you’ll find seasonal produce, which is often more economical

  • Don’t dismiss tinned items. Tins are often cheap and can be very nutritious. Tinned beans count as one of your ‘5 A Day’. Tinned salmon and pilchards are a great source of protein and omega 3 (a ‘good’ fat)

  • Swap branded for own label particularly when shopping for staples such as pasta, rice and tinned items; they will often be better value.

  • Try frozen stand-bys, use frozen vegetables and fruit to make ‘stand-by’ meals when you can’t get to the shops. Modern freezing techniques mean they are just as nutritious as fresh produce.

  • Go shopping with a friend, you can take advantage of ‘buy one, get one free’ offers without buying more than you need.

  • For world foods use international shops and local markets for specialist ingredients. They offer the best value on regional fruit and vegetables as well as staples like rice and maize.

  • Make your favourite take-away meal at home. Pizza bases cost a fraction of shop bought or take-away pizza. Just spread with tomato purée and add your favourite toppings!

  • Shop the seasons. Product in season is often cheaper. The table below shows when more unusual fruit and vegetables are in the height of season in the UK:

January

Brussel Sprouts; Curly Kale; Leeks; Swedes; Turnips; Artichokes

February

Chicory; Chard; Spring Greens; Purple Sprouting Broccoli

March

Asparagus; Cabbage; Parsnips; Radishes; Rhubarb

April

Broad Beans; Kale; Leeks; Spring Onions

May

Strawberries; French Beans; Spinach; Lettuce

June

Most UK-grown vegetables are available at this time of year! Gooseberries; Courgettes; Cucumber; New Potatoes; Tomatoes; Mange tout; Peppers; Raspberries; Redcurrants

July

Aubergines; Runner Beans; Beetroot; Watercress; Celery Fennel; Sweetcorn

August

English Apples; Blackberries; Cherries; Marrow; Plums; Pumpkins

September

Damsons; Pears; Figs

October

Potatoes; Squash

November

Leeks; Garlic; Onions; Carrots; Cauliflowers

December

Red Cabbage

Vegetables such as onions, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms and other “usual” vegetables tend to be cheap all year round. For more information on what produce is in season now check the website Eat the seasons.