Eating healthily on a budget: Recipes, top tips and more

August 22, 2022 • Chris Bardsley

Healthy eating doesn’t need to take a chunk out of your budget or your day. With a little research and preparation, you can plan balanced and delicious meals for your family all year round. You just need to find the recipes that work for your schedule and household.

Today’s blog post includes some quick and easy meal ideas and our top tips for adopting a healthier lifestyle.

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Healthy meals on a budget

  • Breakfast - A high-protein breakfast will keep you full for the entire morning, cutting out the need for your mid-morning snack. Some good options include porridge, eggs and baked beans.

  • Lunch - If you can plan ahead at dinner the previous evening, you can cook a little extra and save yourself the hassle of cooking another meal. Pair your leftover salad with canned oily fish or leftover meat dishes.

  • Dinner - Batch cooking can save you time, money and effort in the evening. Spaghetti bolognese, chilli con carne and curry are perfect for batch cooking and freezing for later.

Planning your healthy eating

When it comes to healthy eating on a budget, meal planning is absolutely key. You can map out exactly what you need to eat throughout the week and how much it will cost you. Take the effort out of healthy eating, and prepare for the week ahead with a top-notch meal plan. You can see exactly where your money goes each day while maintaining a healthy diet. Here are our top tips for planning a week of healthy food.

Be realistic

It’s easy to make an idealistic meal plan for the week ahead, filled with all kinds of superfoods and lean proteins. However, you will quickly find most of the Instagram-inspired healthy foods are either difficult to find or expensive to buy. Fortunately, plenty of budget-friendly recipes are available to help you achieve a balanced diet. Bring it back to basics, and try not to get caught up in the latest health trends.

Don’t be too restrictive

Everyone needs a treat from time to time. If you’re used to having a takeaway on a Friday night, try to find a healthier version for your meal plan. For example, you could make homemade burgers from scratch - instead of ordering a McDonalds. Factor in a few sweet treats throughout the week to help you stay on track the rest of the time.

Incorporate leftovers

Make the most out of the leftovers in your fridge, and reduce your household food waste. You can make a new meal from your leftovers, such as blitzing your leftover vegetables into a soup and freezing portions.

Include breakfast in the meal plan

Breakfast can be cheap and cheerful with the right ingredients. Instead of relying on sugary cereals, buy yourself a bag of oats and make porridge every morning. Switch up the toppings for new flavours - such as apple and cinnamon or berries and honey. You can even prepare this the night before and take it to work in the morning.

Finding cheaper alternatives

Cooking from scratch

It’s much easier to eat healthily when you can cook from scratch. You don’t need to prepare five-star meals with all the trimmings - but a few basic recipes will help you stay on track. Let’s take a closer look at how you can save money by cooking homemade meals.

Use inexpensive ingredients

You can make delicious meals with budget-friendly ingredients to keep your diet balanced and varied. Avoid the branded ingredients and stick with the own-brand range for bread, tins, dairy and much more. You can also make significant savings just by choosing tinned products over fresh ones. Watch out for tins with high sugar counts, and stick to the plain options. Equally, frozen alternatives are often less costly and last longer. UK supermarkets have all kinds of frozen options these days - from frozen fruits to frozen fish.

Make your own frozen meals

Ready meals are tempting after a long day at work - but they are often more unhealthy and expensive than cooking from scratch. If you rely on ready meals and takeaways out of convenience, you should consider making your own frozen meals instead. For example, you could batch cook a large curry from scratch and freeze individual portions. Keep it healthy with plenty of vegetables, and avoid using a premade sauce.

Reducing food waste

In the UK, the average household wastes £60 worth of food every month - says the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WARP.) You could be making the most out of that £60 and squeezing in some extra healthy meals. Start using every piece of the food in your kitchen to save money and the environment. Check out our top tips for making the most out of common household foods.

Overripe fruits

Put all your overripe fruits into a blender, add some milk or juice, and make a smoothie. Or you could throw them in a baking dish with some homemade granola and cook a crumble. Just make sure to look up healthier alternatives to your favourite sweet treats and cut back on the butter and sugar.

Use up potatoes

Do you have a few loose potatoes hanging around? Use them up in a potato pie, curry or bubble and squeak. Just remember to pair your potatoes with vegetables and go easy on the oil.

Leftover bread

If you have a loaf of bread that’s starting to go stale, try making breadcrumbs to coat fish or chicken. You can also freeze breadcrumbs to use at a future date.

Alternatively, if you struggle to use up an entire loaf of bread - start freezing it and defrost individual slices of bread when you need them.

Find Out More

If you or anyone you know is struggling to afford the basic items they need to furnish their home or support their family, then Fair for You is here to help.

We look to offer essential goods to those on a low income, but in a way, that’s different to the companies that set out to do so for massive profit at your expense. Instead, Fair for You is on your side, and we strive to offer the essentials that you need for your home, with a flexible payment schedule. Our focus is on people, not profit.

Check out our online shop to view our products for sale, including beds, laptops, sofa, dining room furniture, children’s beds, hoovers and much more.

This entry was posted in Health and Wellness, Budgeting Tips and How To's