5 life hacks to keep the balance but save money

Posted 02 January 2019

Eating well can seem like bit of a struggle if budgets are a bit tight. But by making a few small tweaks to the way you shop, cook and eat, you can have a healthy balanced diet without breaking the bank.

  1. Plan plan plan! Being prepared and planning your meals can help you cut down on waste and save money. Look at what you have in the house, and plan meals around this food for the week. You may be surprised at what you can make with even just a few ingredients! Then you can write a shopping list of any missing items – these are the only things you really need! Stick to your list and avoid impulse buys, if possible.
  2. Don’t forget the freezer! If you’re often one for buying fresh fruit and vegetables and accidently letting them go bad, the frozen aisle may be your new best friend. Frozen fruit and vegetables are often underrated, but they tend to be cheaper than fresh varieties and they count towards your 5 A DAY. Freezing can also preserve nutrients so that in some cases, frozen vegetables may provide more of certain nutrients than fresh versions. Frozen vegetables are also often pre-cut and sold in large bags, so great for big families! Equally, if you have fresh vegetables in the fridge that you don’t not use, you could cook them in a big batch and freeze them in portions for another time.  Frozen fish, such as salmon or white fish, are also often quite a bit cheaper than fresh and still taste great.
  3. Stock up on pulses – beans, chickpeas and lentils Many of us are trying to eat more plant-based foods as part of a healthy, balanced diet. What helps here is that pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas) can be very good value and are a great alternative to meat as they’re naturally low in fat, count as 1 of your 5 A DAY, and are a source of plant protein, fibre and lots of vitamins and minerals! They can also be some of the cheapest foods on the supermarket shelf (where possible choose those without added salt or sugar). If you do fancy some meat, why not use half meat, and bulk the other half out with pulses. They can also be used easily to bulk out any leftovers that isn’t quite enough to feed the family!
  4. There is nothing wrong with economy! Remember that supermarkets may place the more expensive or popular items at eye level, so scan the shelves for lower cost items. Economy ranges are usually great value and nutritionally there is often little difference to the standard or branded versions. This can relate to things like dried pasta, rice, canned tomatoes or fish, passata, canned pulses, canned fruit, vegetables or potatoes (try and look out for those that ) and low fat natural yogurts.
  5. Use your leftovers Using your leftovers is a great way of saving money and reducing your food waste. Do you have loads of bits of vegetables in the fridge that you don’t know what to do with? Instead of throwing them away, shove them all in one pan, and make an omelette, mix with some cous cous, or combine them with those canned tomatoes at the back of your cupboard and make a big pasta bake or risotto! Make sure you use your leftovers safely, heat thoroughly and don’t include foods beyond their use-by date. Another good tip, if you don’t use bread that often, pop it in the freezer the day of purchase and take one slice out at a time when you need it.

Hopefully, we’ve shown you that there are some simple steps you can take which can help you and the family enjoy a healthy balanced diet without it costing you a fortune!