If you’re a savvy shopper and love to make your food budget go further, then a vegan diet is ideal. Eating deliciously healthy vegan food is super purse friendly, and there are some simple tips that can really help you to be a smart shopper. How to eat healthily on a budget is something that I’ve been practicing for the last few years. I share tips with friends, family, housemates, and once even my Uber driver! There’s no reason why healthy eating needs to be expensive, and there are plenty of ways to make sure you’re spending wisely and stretching your budget further. Check out these top tips…
The Cupboard Foundation
Initially, when you first change your diet to be healthier the first shop will be a bit of an investment. You need to set a strong foundation of ingredients for your cupboard. Getting the basics right really helps, however, once you’ve done this you’ll just be topping up each week. Key ingredients will be things such as tahini, coconut oil, quinoa, tamari soy sauce, almond butter, nuts and other dried goods.
Dry Food Aisle
Some of the cheapest food at the supermarket are the beans and lentils in the dry food aisle. Great news then that these are also super healthy and full of fibre. Great in salads, soups, curries and side dishes, they’re also a strong nutritional addition to a main meal. Energising and versatile, these are your core kitchen friends! They can be used to bulk out stews and soups, and are full of amazing plant proteins.
If you have the space, then bulk buying ingredients is a great money saver. You can buy kg bags of grains, seeds, nuts and beans at great value if you order online. Amazon, Healthy Supplies and Whole Foods Online are great places to shop. You might be able to order through your local independent health store too.
Focus on Simple Food
It’s easy to get swept up in the latest superfood craze and end up with a basked full of powders, tonics, raw chocolates and peculiar looking bits and bobs. I love health food stores, and could easily spend £100 in ten minutes. Instead, I aim to stick to a shopping list to avoid blowing the budget. Simple, but effective – go prepared with a shopping list and most importantly stick to it.
Preparation is Key
If you plan meals that suit your routine, and your workout/social schedule, you’ll find your food bill will go down. It’s the daily trip to the shop buying food on a whim that results in a big monthly food spend. Plan to make extra dinner for the next day’s lunch, and you’ll save lunch money too. Sunday’s are a great day for a chilled prep session, so plan these into your week and get ahead of the game.
Stock Up on Leftovers
Make extras, and have leftovers for lunch the next day or freeze some for future. You’ll save money and time, and have food ready for the end of the month when budgets are tight. Or even better, those days when you’re feeling totally ‘over it’ and cant’ be arsed to cook…
Visit Your Local Food Market
Farmers markets tend to be much cheaper than supermarkets. Most areas have good foodie markets running at weekends. You’ll also be supporting local business, and the food will have a lower carbon footprint. It’s a lovely weekend activity to mooch to the market!
Be a Savvy Organic Shopper
I’d rather buy organic where possible, however there are certain foods that are better to eat organic. The Environmental Working Group research extensively, and they’ve produced a list called Dirty Dozen. These twelve foods are the worst for absorbing pesticides and fertisliers, and are best to buy organic. There is also a Clean Fifteen list of fruits/veggies that aren’t worth buying organic. Healthy savvy shopping right there!
Stick to Seasonal
Not only are seasonal products tastier, they are much cheaper. Imported food is more expensive so it’s worth learning which foods are in seasons and incorporating these into your monthly meals and weekly meal plan. Again, buy British products just as they’re ripe and you’ll get more for your money!
Frozen Food is Your Friend
I always make sure I have certain foods in my freezer – frozen berries for smoothies, frozen garden peas, edamame beans, green beans, sweetcorn. I have frozen soy mince, sausages, and often a Fry’s, Cauldron or Linda McCartney burger/sausage pack for an easy weekend brunch.
Store Food Properly
Make sure you look after your ingredients as well as possible. Keep lids sealed, airtight containers handy and oil rich foods such as nuts & seeds need to be kept in a cool dark airtight place. I store nuts and seeds in old jars in the fridge as they stay fresher for longer. I also freeze almond meal, ground flax seed and matcha tea pouches so they stay fresh. Oily foods go rancid quickly if they get hot or exposed to oxygen.
Hearty & Homemade
You can easily learn to make condiments and sauces at home. Hummus is so easy to make, and it’s much tastier fresh and homemade too. Overnight oats or porridge with a banana and sprinkle of nuts/seeds are both super cheap breakfast ideas that are nutritionally balanced. You don’t need to be fancy every day, (but if you want to be, that’s ok too!). Stews, soups and curries are a great way to make big meals for very little money. As mentioned above, bulk out with beans and lentils, you’ll have meals for days!
Enjoy incorporating these tips into your routine to eat healthily on a budget, and please share your own tips in the comments below 🙂