The secret to healthy eating on a budget


So you want to eat healthy but you can't afford it.

You've got bills, school trips, and your washing machine has just packed in.

Getting more fruit and vegetables is way down your priority list.

'It's too expensive' is one of the top five excuses I hear for not eating healthily. But I'll let you into a little secret ...

Healthy eating, clean eating, whatever you want to call it, isn't expensive.

Healthy eating on a budget - it really doesn't have to be expensive

So what's the secret to healthy eating on a budget?

I'll tell you ...

Plan, prepare and cook your meals. 

It's not sexy. It's not ground breaking. But it's the truth.

Let me show you an example...

healthy eating on a budget - bulk buy

My own food bill for the last month came to £300 (give or take).

Now that may seem expensive to some, but when you take into account how many meals that covers, you'll see, it's actually not.

So £300.

That has covered my meals for the majority of the month.

That's 3 meals a day (and snacks, but we'll leave those for now).

I have had a few meals out, bought a couple of lunches, but mainly I've prepared and cooked most of my meals.

That equates to 28 (days) x 3 (meals a day) = 84 meals. Let's call it 75 to conservatively cover the meals out I've had.

On top of that, the £300 has also covered some of my husbands' meals. He works away quite a bit so he doesn't eat as many home cooked meals as he'd like.  But it's still over 50%.

He's been home 4 days out of the week for this last month, for which he's had 3 meals a day. This equates to 4 x 4 x 3 = 48. I'm taking that down to 45 as we have had a few meals out together.

The average cost of each meal ... £2.50.

£300 has covered 120 meals in total.

Doesn't look so expensive now, hey.

And believe me, we don't skimp on food.

All our meat is free range, grass fed and organic. All of our vegetables are locally sourced.

We've had rib eye steak, T-bone steak (personally prefer rib eye, but I thought we'd give T-bone a go), rack of lamb, extra lean mince beef and a couple of roasting joints.

Not too shabby, even if I do say so myself.

All of this is possible because we plan, prepare and cook our own food.

Sexy it's not. But it definitely is the key to keeping your food bill and your waist line down.

While I was moving, a few months ago now, I wasn't quite organised enough to make my own lunches as I usually do.

I had to buy them.


Every day it cost me about £6. Over the 3 days a week I work at the University, buying my lunch cost £72 for the month. If I'd carried on, £864 for the year.

I couldn't quite believe it when I did the figures.

Even if you bought the ingredients to make a sandwich, they would be much healthier than a shop bought sandwich and a fraction of the cost.

By cooking your own food, you know exactly what is going into it. No preservatives to lengthen the shelf life.

No non-food stuffs to chemically enhance the flavour. Just natural, nutrient dense ingredients.

So start cooking. You'll soon see the benefit.

Healthy eating on a budget - some tips

If you're not sure where to start, or if you just want to get better at healthy eating on a budget, here are some tips to help.


Bulk buy. Make the most of offers and meat and veg boxes. Fill up your freezer. It not only cuts down on cost, but also the amount of times you have to go to the supermarket.


If you haven't got the space yourself to bulk buy share it with friends. You'll have to buy more regularly but you can still make the most of the best deals.


Get cheaper cuts of meat. Shin of beef, brisket, minute steaks, all low priced but really tasty. They can be a bit chewier but the secret there is to slow cook. Just chuck it in the slow cooker before you go to work and come home to delicious goodness.


Bulk your dishes out with vegetables. Meat and fish are probably the most expensive part of your shop, so make them go further by bulking them out with vegetables. Carrots, onions, peppers and mushrooms all work well in a Bolognese. Throw in a can of tomatoes and maybe some Worcester sauce or balsamic vinegar and you've got a nutritionally packed, very tasty meal that will make quite a few portions.


Make your own sauces. Tomato based sauces are really easy - a can of tomatoes, some herbs and/or spices and cook down. Curry sauces can be made with stock, tomatoes or coconut milk.


Cook more dinner than you need and take it to work the next day for lunch. You'll not only save a tonne of money, you'll have some gorgeous lunches, keeping you feeling fuller longer.


Save some money healthy eating on a budget

So there you have it.

Healthy eating doesn't have to be expensive, nor does it have to be boring, tasteless or depriving.

Get in the kitchen. Experiment with your food. And most of all, have fun.

Give it a go and check out Muscle Food and Great British Meat Co. for bulk buying.

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