Eat well, spend less
It is a myth that eating healthily needs to be expensive. This food fact sheet will give you some ideas to help you eat well and spend less.
In this fact sheet:
- Ten money saving tips
- Unit pricing
- 5-a-day for 50p
- Meal plan – feed a family of four for £5 a day
Ten money saving tips
- Plan ahead; write a shopping list and avoid shopping on an empty stomach as you will likely buy more
- Special offers are not always the cheapest option; use unit pricing of products (see unit pricing).
- Look out for seasonal fruit and vegetables as they are widely available and less expensive
- Ask members of staff at supermarkets for fresh food reduction times to grab a bargain. Use within date or freeze for later
- Take a packed lunch to work and avoid those costly lunchtime meal deals
- Reduce your food waste by eating leftovers for lunch the next day
- Make a homemade soup from leftover vegetables at the end of the week (see recipe)
- Try superstore value brands, which often taste just as good for a lower price
- Reduce your meat portion and add extra pulses (beans lentils chickpeas) to classic dishes for example add baked beans to a shepherd’s pie
- Cook from scratch; avoid those pricey takeaways (see resource list for homemade recipe ideas)
When deciding which product to purchase, use unit pricing, it shows the price of a food for a specific unit of weight (or volume). It helps you select between products when the product size is different and one product is on 'special offer'. Unit pricing helps you get better value for money.
Finding unit pricing on a label...
5-a-day for 50p
This list shows you how to achieve 5 fruit and vegetables a day for 50p. A portion of fruit and vegetables is 80g. A portion of dried fruit is 30g. Supermarkets are starting to sell ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetables that are cheaper in price but just as nutritious and tasty. Select seasonal fruit and vegetables as they are also cheaper in price.
- Small Banana 15p
- Apple 18p
- Carrots 3p/portion
- Broccoli 11p/portion
- Tinned Peaches 7p/portion
- Tinned Sweetcorn 11p/portion
- Tinned chopped tomatoes 6p/portion
- Tinned Baked Beans 5p/portion
- Frozen Peas 7p/portion
- Frozen Berries 26p/portion
- Sliced Pickled Beetroot 15p/portion
- Raisins 9p/portion
Meal plan – feed a family of four for £5 a day
This menu offers meal and snack ideas for a family of four to eat for approximately £5 a day. It is colour coded to match the different sections of the eatwell guide. The menu is based on portion sizes given on the packets. The menu incorporates the money saving tips for example using leftover vegetables to make a homemade soup and using value brands. Good value for money protein sources include: baked beans, chickpeas, mixed beans, lentils, quorn mince, milk, yoghurt frozen chicken breast and budget cuts of meat e.g. leg.
Homemade Apple Crumble
150g plain wholemeal flour
75g reduced-fat spread, cold, cut into small cubes
75g sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on the fruit
3 cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced pinch of cinnamon
1. Put flour, sugar and reduced-fat spread into a bowl; rub together using fingers until you have a mixture like breadcrumbs.
2. Preheat oven 180°C/gas mark 5. Put the apple into an oven proof dish, and add sugar to taste.
3. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the fruit and bake for approximately 30 minutes until golden brown.
Vegetable and Lentil Soup
1 medium diced onion
2 diced garlic gloves
2 tsp cooking oil
400g vegetables (for example potato, carrot, swede, broccoli - seasonal choices, frozen, tinned or leftovers)
1 vegetable stock cube made up with 750ml boiling water
400g tin of lentils (drained)
2 tsp dried ground cumin ½ tsp dried ground coriander
1. Fry onion and garlic in the oil in a large saucepan for 5 minutes until soft.
2. Add the spices and fry for a further 1 minute, stirring continuously.
3. Add the remainder of the ingredients, bring to the boil and then simmer for approximately 20 minutes (time may vary depending on vegetable type e.g. raw or pre-cooked).
4. The soup can be served chunky or blended with a pitta bread roll or wrap.
Making the simple changes in this food fact sheet will help you to save money, eat well and contribute towards a balanced diet and lifestyle. You may find it useful to look over the Eatwell Guide which aims to help you get a balance of healthier and more sustainable food. It shows how much of what you eat overall should come from each food group.
British Heart Foundation Healthy Eating on a Budget
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The Eatwell guide is a handy guide to show you how much you should eat from each food group for a healthy balanced diet.
Download this fact sheet as a PDF
This Food Factsheet is a public service of The British Dietetic Association (BDA) intended for information only. It is not a substitute for proper medical diagnosis or dietary advice given by a dietitian.
If you need to see a dietitian, visit your GP or a private dietitian.
Written by Alexandra Harper and Hannah Johnston.
© BDA March 2019. Review date March 2022.