How to stay healthy on a budget and match your nutrition to your finances

July 20, 2023

The world is set up to deliver food and drink quickly and conveniently to fit with our busy lives, but this also comes at a cost. If you consider the two coffees you (possibly) buy every day you are in the office, over a year that could total £1,800 of spending, just to avoid boiling the kettle yourself.  

If you’re serious about eating nutritious food, it’s absolutely possible to stay within your budget, with some planning and smart choices.  

Here are some tips to consider, regardless of what your budget will allow:  

1. Plan your meals: Creating a meal plan is essential to avoid impulse purchases and wasting food. Planning your meals for the week ahead, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks means you don’t have to rely on pricey grab-and-go options. It also means you can keep a succinct shopping list too to avoid overspending.  

2. Cook at home: Cooking your meals at home is generally more affordable than eating out or buying pre-packaged foods. By preparing your meals from scratch, you have control over the ingredients and can make healthier choices. Batch cooking can also help you save time and money by preparing larger quantities and storing leftovers in the freezer for later meals. If you’re not confident at cooking or struggle for inspiration, you can always ask friends or family to buy you a meal delivery service subscription for your birthday!  

3. Buy in bulk: Purchasing non-perishable items in bulk can save you money in the long run. Look for staples like rice, pasta, beans, lentils, oats, and frozen fruits and vegetables in larger quantities. Spending a little time comparing prices of different brands and between major shops to get the best deals, can also prove to be a great cost saver.  

4. Seasonal and local produce: Buying fruits and vegetables that are in season and sourced locally can be more affordable and fresher than out-of-season imports. Visiting local farmers' markets is a great way to support the local community and find reasonably priced produce.  

5. Reduce meat consumption: Meat can be expensive, so consider balancing your consumption with more affordable protein alternatives into your diet. Plant-based protein sources such as beans, lentils, tofu, and chickpeas are generally cheaper and offer many health benefits. Whey or vegan protein powders are also a great addition to help keep protein in-take high in a cost effective way.  

6. Shop sales and discounts: Keep an eye out for sales, discounts, and coupons on healthy food items. Check store flyers, subscribe to newsletters, or use apps that offer deals and discounts. Take advantage of these opportunities to stock up on nutritious foods at lower prices.

7. Limit processed foods and snacks: Processed foods and snacks can be convenient but often come with a higher price tag and can lack nutritional value. Opt for whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts instead. They are often more affordable and provide essential nutrients.

8. Drink water: Drinking water is not only essential for your health but also an inexpensive option. Avoid sugary drinks and opt for water instead. If you want some variety, infuse your water with fruits, herbs, or cucumbers for added flavour.

9. Grow your own food: If you have the space and time, you could consider growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Gardening can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to supplement your food supply with fresh produce, and is a great way to stay active and out in the fresh air.  

10. Be mindful of portion sizes: Practice portion control to avoid overeating and wasting food. By consuming appropriate portion sizes, you can make your meals go further and reduce the need for additional purchases.

Eating nutrient dense foods is a great way to focus on staying healthy and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Deciding on a budget that works for you and then making a plan is the best place to start.  

Along with regular physical activity, your nutrition is a key factor in your overall and long term well-being.  

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