Food shopping amid a cost of living squeeze is tough but doesn’t mean you have to compromise on a healthy diet, according to health and fitness experts.
Personal trainer company OriGym has shared eight ways to cut the cost of the weekly shop while still getting essential nutrients.
It comes as the chair of Tesco warned supermarket prices could rise by as much as 5% by the spring as spiralling costs are passed on to consumers.
Shoppers are already facing the highest price rises for almost ten years as food inflation rose from 2.4% in December to 2.7% in January, according to the British Retail Consortium.
Here are OriGym’s eight tips to save money and stay healthy:
1. Prep and freeze
Not only does prepping food save you time and money, but it also makes it much easier to plan future meals and incorporate all your essential food groups and nutrients.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by batch cooking or doubling your portion sizes and saving the extra portion for a future meal.
Alternatively, you can freeze the meal for a later date or box up your leftover vegetables and use them in stews, chillies, curries or soups.
2. Go bargain hunting
Making the most of discounted goods and meal deals is another great way of eating well for less.
Often found in specific areas of the supermarket, marked down items are another way of bagging a saving.
Just be sure to grab food and drink that you’re likely to use and will contribute to a substantial meal such as pasta, meat, fish and meat-free alternatives. It’s also worth checking the use-by-date so you know when you will be able to eat it, and it doesn’t go to waste.
3. Shop at cheaper supermarkets
Lower priced supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl provide ideal substitutions for some of your branded favourites, saving you money in the long run.
A lot of the time, there isn’t much difference between value and branded ranges. Items like fruit and vegetables often taste the same wherever you shop – the only difference you will see is your bank balance.
4. Grow your own veg
Not everyone has the garden space to grow their own vegetables, but if you do have an area for planting this may help you reduce your grocery bill.
Salad leaves can cost a small fortune when bought bagged from the supermarket and their use-by-date often isn’t great.
By growing your own, alongside fruiting vegetables like beans and tomatoes, you can save money and source the right nutrients needed for a balanced diet from the comfort of your own home.
5. Cook with tins
As a cheap staple with a long sell-by date, tinned food is a cupboard essential and often high in nutrients.
Tinned beans, chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and pulses are great sources of protein, fibre and B vitamins. They also count towards your five-a-day and are versatile enough to be used in an array of healthy dishes.
Usually priced at £1 or less, tins are ideal for those looking to stay healthy on a budget.
The jump in the cost of living is putting household budgets under pressure, with some having to choose between heating and eating.
Here are some resources available if you need help.
Citizens Advice is an independent charity offering free, confidential support with legal, consumer, housing, debt and other problems. Its website details what help is available and where your nearest bureau is, for face-to-face advice.
Helpline: 0800 144 8848 in England / 0800 702 2020 in Wales (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)
The Trussell Trust
The Trussell Trust supports a national network of more than 1,200 food banks, providing emergency food for free to those who need it. You can use its website to locate support wherever you live.
Helpline: 0808 208 2138 (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)
Turn2us is a national charity providing practical support to people who are struggling financially. Its website includes a benefits calculator and details of schemes and grants in your area, including for energy and water bills.
Helpline: 0808 802 2000 (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)
6. Make your own crisps
Another way to get inventive with your leftovers is to make use of your vegetable peelings and make your own at-home, healthy crisps alternative.
Easy to make and full of vitamins, vegetable crisps act as a cheap, nutritious snack that only require a short amount of prep time.
Simply dry out the peelings, spray with some oil and add a little salt alongside your favourite seasonings and you’re done! Better yet, they cost next to nothing and stop food from going to waste.
7. Do some recipe research
Life is busy and it can be hard to find the time to cook and think of new meal inspiration.
Even with a fridge packed full of food, it’s no easy feat deciding what to eat. This is where recipe books and the internet come in handy.
Check what food you have at hand and research some recipes that include these ingredients. That way, you’re more likely to use up everything you have in, without wasting any food or money.
8. Stay hydrated
Fizzy drinks are a firm favourite, but water is the cheapest and healthiest way to quench your thirst.
Drinking water and staying hydrated is just as important as the food you consume and plays an equally vital role within your daily diet.
Replacing your fizzy drinks for water is a simple and free way to boost your health. Drinking 6-8 glasses a day will likely enhance your skin, concentration and overall wellbeing and it costs little to nothing!
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