Healthy eating on a budget for families doesn't have to be difficult. A few simple tricks and tips will ensure the whole family can eat well without breaking the bank.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. Just by spending a little time planning meals, you can cut down your costs and save money each week. Shopping smart and buying with savvy also helps you to cook family meals that are filling, tasty and inexpensive. Often healthy eating on a budget for families is easier than you think.
I've teamed up for another year as an ambassador for Organix as part of their No Junk Journey campaign, which highlights the importance of healthy eating for children.
8 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget
- Make a weekly meal plan - A little forward planning at the weekend means that you can draw up your shopping list for the week and stick to it. You'll also save time by not having to make daily trips to the shops (with temptations to buy unhealthy treats).
- Check your cupboards - I'm doing this right now. I've gone through my cupboards and I'm making it a mission to use it all up. Those forgotten bags of quinoa or rice are being worked into meal plans. I'm using up the HUGE amount of tinned tomatoes I had and finally getting through all the red lentils I forgot about. This is saving a lot of money and stops tins and packages from going to waste by passing their use by dates before I notice them lurking in the cupboards.
- Cook from scratch - It's cheaper to cook from scratch rather than buy pre-prepared food, plus you know what's going into the dish and can make sure it's healthy. Don't worry about everything being made completely from scratch, a few healthy 'cheat' ingredients are very useful and can make life a lot easier.
- Use more pulses - beans, lentils and peas are a budget-friendly way to bulk out meals and add extra goodness. They're also a great meat-alternative, and going veggie is a fantastic way to slash the family shopping budget.
- Love your leftovers - Whether you freeze leftovers or turn them into a new meal the next day, be sure that you don't let them go to waste. Serve up smaller portions as it's better to have seconds than have to scrape plates of untouched food into the compost bin.
- Cook in bulk - If you're making a red lentil dhal or Spanish beans with tomatoes, double the portion and have it for lunch the next day or pop it into the freezer for another day.
- Store well - make fresh foods last longer by storing it in the right place. Some foods, like potatoes and onions, are best kept out of the fridge.
- Know your dates - Check use by dates to make sure that you use food before it goes off. The average national household wastes a horrifying 20% of the food the buy. 'Sell by' dates are just a guide, so use your senses to check for freshness. Though 'use by' dates on fresh food should be followed more carefully.
More ways to encourage kids to eat healthy without breaking the bank:
There are plenty of other tips for getting kids to eat healthy food so it doesn't go to waste.
I have a wavy knife that I picked up cheaply in a pound shop. Simply cutting carrots, potatoes or other healthy foods into a different shape is often enough to get them to eat it. Plus, playing with their food, like the photo, makes them far more inclined to eat their veggies!
We always keep frozen fruit on hand in the freezer. It's inexpensive to buy, or easy to freeze when it's abundant and in season. We love it whizzed into smoothies, on top of porridge or turned into a healthier crumble.
We also keep a plate of veggies and fruit (mostly veggies!) on the table at lunch and dinner. The whole family picks at it and eat what we like, then the leftovers get wrapped and put into the fridge until the next meal. It also means that the fridge always has a plate of healthy snacks in case anyone gets peckish. I usually buy fruit and veg at our local greengrocer, so it's an inexpensive, and healthy, way for us all to fill up.
Reduced Aisle Bargains
Another great way to save money and get some healthy bargains is to check out the reduced aisle. My greengrocer sells massive bags of bananas each morning that are a bit brown. Over-ripe to some, but to me they're perfect. I unpeel them all, chop them up and save them in the freezer for smoothies or whizzing into banana 'ice cream'.
What are your best tips for healthy eating on a budget? Let me know in the comments!
Disclosure: This post is part of my ongoing campaign with Organix as part of the No Junk Journey. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make it possible for me to mess up my kitchen and write Veggie Desserts – Healthy Food and Lifestyle. All images, except Organix's are courtesy of Pixabay.