How to Eat Healthier for Less

By Leeds Credit Union

If, like us, you overdid it on sausage rolls and Pimms over the Jubilee Bank Holiday, you might be considering ditching the carbs and booze for some healthier alternatives. If that IS the case, you'll be pleased to hear that the British Nutrition Foundation's 10th annual Healthy Eating Week takes place from 13th - 17th June, giving us all the perfect opportunity to stop overindulging and start watching our calorie intakes.

By now, everyone is aware of the benefits of healthy eating: it helps you live longer, boosts immunity, helps digestion, supports muscles and more. Unfortunately, there's a reason more households don't eat healthier - it can be prohibitively expensive. And with the ongoing cost of living crisis putting more pressure than usual on the nation's wallets, convincing people to spend more on food they wouldn't necessarily choose to eat is easier said than done.

What many people don't realise is that healthy food doesn't actually have to be expensive; there are plenty of ways to eat healthier without spending a fortune. Here are some of them.

Be aware of the season

Fruit and vegetables are always going to be the starting point when it comes to healthy eating. To ensure you don't overspend on them, only buy seasonal produce next time you're in the supermarket - when they're in season, they're more readily available and therefore cheaper. Strawberries are a great, healthy option in summer; likewise parsnips in winter.

Consider the wonky

Is it really worth paying more for a carrot just because it's straight? Many supermarkets sell ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetables which are just as nutritious but vary in shape and size, making them cheaper. 

Keep it loose

As well as being better for the environment due to the absence of plastic packaging, 'loose' products - ie those that aren't bagged and can be purchased individually - tend to be cheaper too.

Frozen and tinned products are good for you too

For some reason, people in the UK tend to turn their noses up at fruit and veg that isn't immediately edible or ready for cooking, but all this does is add to your food bill.

Frozen items are just as healthy as fresh ones as their nutrients have been sealed in by the freezing process. They also last longer because they can be returned to the freezer and, best of all, they're cheaper because they're not technically 'fresh'. Try adding frozen peas to pasta dishes during cooking or thawed-out berries to porridge - you'd never know the difference.

Similarly, fruit and veg that come in tins are cheaper and have a much longer shelf life. One word of caution though - to keep things as healthy  as possible, only buy tinned fruit with natural juice and not syrup; with vegetables, avoid anything with added salt.

Look for special offers

Items with long shelf lives are often worth buying when they're on sale. Tinned beans and pulses, tinned tomatoes and healthy, high-fibre cereals are all worth keeping in stock for their healthy properties; even more so if they're available at a reduced price.

And don't forget that milk and cheese can be frozen, so don't be afraid to buy more than you need when it's on sale - you can just store it in the freezer until you need it.

Buy cheaper cuts of meat

We love chicken breasts in the UK but thighs and drumsticks are every bit as tasty and significantly less expensive. They may take longer to cook but, when served as part of a healthy meal, it's a small price to pay. 

Shop around

Fresh vegetables and fruit can often be picked up cheaper in local markets than in the supermarket so shop around as much as possible before making a purchase.

Use your leftovers

If you've got some fruit that needs using up, don't bin it, puree it all together and make healthy and delicious breakfast smoothies.

If you have leftover veg, use it instead of meat in your evening meal to make your dishes go further and cost less while still filling you up.

Buy own brands

When it comes to healthy items like yoghurt, own brand versions are often much cheaper despite tasting almost exactly the same as any branded equivalent. Don't waste money for the name on the packaging!

Leeds Credit Union - helping you through the cost of living crisis

If you're worried about rising food bills and your ability to pay for your weekly shop, we're here to help. You could borrow from £250 to £20,000 with one of our affordable loans - for more information click here.