Want to loose weight and eat healthier foo... - Weight Loss NHS

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Want to loose weight and eat healthier foods but on a budget..Any ideas?


I'm a poor student and don't have the facilities to cook fancy meals or buy lots of expensive ingredients.. finding it a little tough to support a healthy diet on a tight budget

17 Replies

Hi Pudgeypal

I make a lot of vegetable soup from seasonal vegetables, and add lentils for protein.

I also have a slow cooker so I can cook cheaper cuts of meat all day. If you buy some herbs and spices you can make food tasty. We look out for offers in the supermarket, but we have access to a local market which is often cheaper than the supermarket.

You could try googling "cheap meals" as well. I think this is one site.


It can be difficult on a tight budget and with limited facilities but remember that buying basic wholesome food and cooking it yourself is not only a lot healthier but cheaper than takeaways and ready meals. Cooking with lentils and other pulses is a good way of getting protein & cheaper than meat. If you have access to some freezer space you could batch cook and freeze in portions.

I tend to look on line for things to make with the ingredients I have got and if you have a store cupboard with some basic herbs and spices, tinned tomatoes, stock cubes, rice and pasta you can cook up something with whatever is reduced/on special offer in the supermarket.


I made this the other day with a reduced bag of carrots which cost 38p. I didn't use the milk and there is enough for at least 4 portions.

There is lots of advice about cooking on a budget on line and at least you know exactly what you are eating if you have made it from scratch.

Give it a go and be experimental. Good luck

Hi, supermarkets have reduced bread,meat, fruit and veg on certain days and certain times..ask them ...make stews..soups, salads...good luck..


Don't forget what you save on not buying junk you can spend on real food.

I agree with everything said above. I live on only £20 a week so I always make a vat of soup every week with loads of root vegetables, onions and curry powder. You can buy a bag of root veg in Lidl and Asda for £1 and I'm sure other supermarkets do them too.

My nearest supermarket is Asda and they have reduced sections for veg, bread products and all other foods, so I always look there first.

I lost three stone in six months on the 5:2 Diet so that saved me a great deal of money as two days a week you only eat less than 500 calories. I've been maintaining since last April so now I only fast one day a week. This video of the BBC Horizon programme that started it off will tell you all about it vimeo.com/54089463 and it's a life-changer.

I also downloaded the NHS Couch to 5K podcasts and started running a year ago - and I hadn't run since hating it at school. I just strapped on my trainers and off I went and it didn't cost me anything at all but has given me a brilliant hobby. I don't get buses any more nowadays either!

Hey Pudgeypal (love the username BTW!),

Keep an eye out for slow cookers on offer at Aldi or another supermarket because if you're tight on money and space to cook they can be set up anywhere not just in a kitchen, they don't use much electric at all so won't cost a fortune to run and you can then cook cheaper cuts of meat saving you even more. It's an initial outlay of around £20 but you'll soon save that much if you use it regularly.

I find bulking out meals with things like lentils and beans (baked beans, kidney beans etc - I use them in everything!) makes the meals more filling and go further. You can get a tin of beans for around 20p at most supermarkets if you buy the own brand (they don't taste that different to the brand names to me and if you're cooking with them then they add to the overall flavour). Quorn is also a really great value food if you stock up when it's on offer and it's generally super low in fat and calories so really good for you. I also find that if I bulk buy a lot of fruit and veg on a weekend say I don't use it all before it goes off so it's better to buy things when you need them for an extra couple of pence more and not throw anything away than to buy a £1 sack of oranges for example and throw half away because they've gone mouldy; effectively wasting 50p.

I don't want to endorse one particular supermarket but I find that Aldi do some great deals on meat and fruit and veg but it's not the cheapest for other things like pasta, beans and pulses if you buy the supermarket own brands like smart price, basics etc. Tesco's is by far the most expensive supermarket I've found - even sainsburys offers better value for money with it's basic range but it's worth trying out different supermarkets for yourself as each person has different items on their shopping list so will find different supermarkets cheaper.

It takes a little more time but you can eat healthily on a budget and after an initial largish outlay to get your store cupboard staples like herbs, stock cubes etc you'll find that your weekly shopping bill will be much cheaper.

Good luck :)

Thanks very much for all the replies guys! Definitely think I'll give making my own soups a go and I'll be keeping an eye out for a slow cooker..I'd never have thought of most of the suggestions! Thanks again

And remember that porridge is cheap, filling and healthy for breakfast.


Hi Pudgeypal,

I'd kind of agree with Concerned's comments. Nutitionally, cheap food is often poor in nutrition value.

And nutrition matters, especially if you are on a weight loss journey. So do aim to get those nutrients in because you body will function better for it.

Yes - it's easy to get into eating empty calories with no other nutrition in them. And very often pretty cheap too. But you need the vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, phytochemicals, etc, etc

And before you stretch for the multi-vitamins, usually the forms of nutrients in fresh food are better for you than the ones in pills and supplements.

Good luck with your weight loss efforts.

Oh and have a look at the NHS Choices live well eat healthily pages - it'll give you some ideas to start you off with.

Hello, I have been a student for four years now so I totally get this!

Here are a couple of things that I have learned on saving some money when out food shopping;

Don't buy massive bags of fruit and veg. Buy just what you need and it can be so much cheaper.

I have found that shopping near to when the shops close also helps a lot, as things going out of date get reduced to really low prices. I don't worry about use by dates etc. Just freeze things and cook them when you need. If it's veg, just semi cook them, freeze them and then add them to a pan of boiling water for a couple of minutes before serving.

Also, try to not waste anything. You will be so surprised how far things can stretch if you just think of ways of using up ingredients. It's quite fun too!

I hope this helps, good luck!

My tips would be to look at frozen veg and fruit if you've got the facilities to keep it. Frozen veg can be incredible value for money at the moment, there is a real revival of it since several celebrity chefs started to push it. Things like spinach, broccoli go a long way, especially as there is less wastage. The other is frozen fruit especially berries which are low carb and a fraction of the cost of fresh as they are often frozen when in season and at their best, so they taste great as well. Half a Kilo of Frozen Fruit Salad (I know not berries, just demonstrating the price) at Tesco is about 85p last time I looked.

Frozen fish is another good one, especially if on multi-buy, supermarket own brand white fish fillets I mean not Cod in Batter!

Another cheap healthy alternative to rice is Pear Barley which can be bought for less than £1 a kilo in a lot of places, cook it slightly less longer (al dente) and it's not unlike rice in texture. Lower GI than rice!

Thanks again for all the suggestions! I don't have that much freezer space but I'm going to start freezing as much as I can

I know it's already been suggested but that blog called A Girl Called Jack is brilliant! Her 8p kidney bean burgers are highly recommended :-) She started to learn how to cook whilst on benefits and she makes really simple but yummy healthy recipes that are perfect when you're on a budget and she uses lots of pulses so you won't go hungry! Good luck x

drink green tea and water 2 litres

Abby141 stone

Sainsburies do a great basics range, they are cheap & tasty :) you can get some good basics meat! or Audis & lidis do really nice cheap Fruit & veg :) Plan your meals, soups are good, you can get them for 50p a tin! stews are good to make to & you can freeze any left overs, You might be able to get food bank vouchers, ask your GP, they can issue them, it"s worth a go! lidis do a cod in folrine sauce £2 for 2 that could do 2 meals with rice or veg! They are Lovely :) we have them! or youngs do 4 cod in batter for £4 there are 4 Fllets So a pound a meal, Home made chips & basics mushey peas 30p a tin, lovely meal! Look on like on line for meal ideas. I am not a huge fish fan but those fish dishes are lovely!

Pouldhu2019 December

Hi Pudgeypal,

I recently bought a cook book called "Eat Well For Less" by Jo Scarratt-Jones, foreworded by Gregg Wallace and Chris Bavin. It's all good food for small budget. And it gives you some ideas of meal you wouldn't think about. Just try it.

From Pouldhu

morelessAdministrator in reply to Pouldhu

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