Eating healthy on a really tight budget

Hi everyone, hoping some people on here might be able to give me some pointers on healthy foods on a really tight budget, like really tight..

Since having to move out after a split, I now live alone. So things have become VERY expensive for me, very quickly haha..

To be able to afford my flat, car, all my other bills etc I have had to reduce my weekly food shop to £10-£15 a week, with very little wiggle room.

Whilst doable, completely, I'm sure we can all agree that finding the right foods for a healthy diet, can sometimes become a little expensive... like, a pack of 6 gala apples is £1.50 in Tesco... and I LOVE gala apples above all others....

Like meat is really expensive in comparison... to try and get a weeks worth of meats (namely chicken and fish) for lunches and dinners, is ridiculous and sucks half if not more of my budget... without resorting to processed foods/meats... That's not including any household stuff I might need to get that week also, which takes away from food money...

I was wondering how other people manage to buy all the fruit and veg they want, whilst trying to get protein as well! I'm really struggling to build a health week's worth of food with so little money to go on... How do other people do it?

14 Replies

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  • Hi Brocollibunnies, I'm really pushed for time at the mo, but wondered if this might be useful to you? :)

    nhs.uk/Livewell/eat4cheap/P...

    I'll try and get back later to help out more :)

  • Ooo, this list is really useful. I'll be sure to take note of everything shopping day. I've started to cook double the amount, to make multiple dinners, I don't mind repeating meals!

  • I'm glad it's helped and that you've had lots of other useful suggestions :)

  • I get things as and when from my local fruit and veg shop - means you don't have to buy whole packets, works out cheaper than in Tesco where you have to pay £1.50 etc - just pay 20p for an apple when you want it instead :) I do a monthly tesco shop for about £50 including toiletries, big bag of rice, pasta, tins, uht soya milk, frozen spinach and Quorn, then just top up as I need to as I go along. If you're really that tight for money you could get help from a food bank, a friend of mine goes it's not as bad as it sounds, you can stock up on tins that way. Cooking in batches saves fuel costs too - make big stews, soups, curries etc, divide into portions and freeze. Batch cooking is great for calorie counting too, just write what it is and the cals on the lids before you freeze them.

  • I have my go to soup (that kind of turns in to a thick broth after fridge storage, ha) which I always go overboard on, to make multiples.

    Will have to google a local fruit and veg shop, they're not common place where I live

  • Maybe look at growing some things at home in that case - rocket, sugar snaps, nasturtiums - things that grow quickly, save you money on bags of salady stuff...

  • Lentils, chickpeas and other beans are a cheap source of protein, have a look at some vegetarian recipies, they are much tastier than they used to be. You can also replace fresh fish with tinned sardines, mackerel, salmon and tuna, they are all packed with the right kinds of nutrients (so long as you buy those not packed in oil or drain the oil off before eating) and don't break the bank or the calorie allowance. Good luck, stay cheerful, and I hope your cicumstances improve shortly.

  • Think I'll have to go with lentils and chickpeas, not a fan of beans... I love chicken lentil soup, make it full of veggies, so I guess I can sub the chicken with loads of veggies!

    I have bought tinned salmon, but it's still not massively cheap, I have it for lunch 5 times a week, so may have to rethink the wraps I make. I want a food spiraliser to make veggie spaghetti.

  • It infuriates me that fruit is sooo expensive a chocolate biscuits so cheap!!! Grrrrr 😡

    It is possible, lots of seasonal veg, frozen or tinned fruit is useful, less meat. 500g pack of mince can do 8 of 10 servings if you put onion, carrot, tomatoes, leaks, courgette etc in it, even a few lentils. You can freeze this and turn into bolognaisse, chilli or lasagne. Like others have suggested, vegetarian meals are cheaper and healthy.

    Also lidls and Aldis are cheaper than tesco, 😊

    And of course, portion sizes are reduced which will help Long term also 😊

    Good luck

  • It seems very backwards to me!

    I'll definitely have to bulk up on veg meals I think. Feels like I may have to become a part time vegetarian!

    I do have an ALDI close by-ish, but I never remember to take a look in there when I go shopping, as Tesco is much closer. May have to detour on my way home from work.

  • Aldi do 59p fresh offers. You can check in their catalogue or online what they are. I save a fortune shopping there. Xx. Also I keep a lot of frozen veg in as well so there s no waste. Xx

  • Firstly, if you don't do it already, look at Aldi and lidl - you really can make a saving.

    Cooking from scratch can be really inexpensive with a little planning. Using frozen veg for stews, bolonaise, stir fries etc.

    Try lentils as a substitute for meat in some recipes. Look for student cookery books - these often have cheap recipes that are also easy to cook.

    Good luck, you can do this 😊

  • I'm a big fan of soup (a bunch of celery and a punnet of mushrooms with a veggie oxo stock cube - makes about 4 good sized portions of soup, delicious, very low calorie and very filling!).

    Cooking at home and then freezing stuff is the way.

    Have a look at Jack Munroes tips for cooking on a budget...

    cookingonabootstrap.com/cat...

  • I was trying to remember her name, that website sprang to my mind too.

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