to think that eating healthily is too expensive?(190 Posts)
I need to lose weight. Lots of it.
I have degenerative disc disease so have restricted mobility. I don't eat dairy or soya (my BF son is intolerant to both).
I have a budget of £40 a week to feed me, DH, a 3yo and a 1yo. I make sure the children eat well and healthily but just don't have the money to buy all the fruit and veg I'd like to. DH and I end up eating carb-based meals because they're cheap - sandwiches, pasta, rice, potatoes etc.
Am I missing a trick somewhere? How do others manage?
Ps just to add we both work full time and manage this, often the evening is a good time to pop into the shops to see what's been marked down. Sometimes people use full time work as a 'reason' for not being able to shop carefully but it doesn't need to be. Also, soups and stews can be made in large batches and frozen
Substitute your rice and pasta for brown rice and pasta, lower GI and will help with weightloss same with bread of course. You can get very cheap chickens from butchers (if you are not fussed about freerange/freedom food) - stick in roasting tin with carrots, parsnips and potatoes - cover whole thing in foil so veggies don't burn and roast with chicken - very cheap and easy meal, great comfort food, use any leftovers for soup.
Nope, eating healthily isnt expensive.
Frozen stir fry veg is great and handy to make a quick meal with some garlic, ginger and soy.
We're veggie and don't eat much dairy and we can cook very cheaply (can add more expensive things too of course). Protein comes from pulses, grains, nuts and seeds with some soya (you could use quorn, maybe not cheap). You need herbs and we use spices like cumin, mustard seeds, garam masala. We use a lot of garlic, chilli and ginger but we like spicy food.
Lentils - dahl, lentil and mushroom bake (fry each with onion and plenty of garlic, stock, herbs, layer, bake), I do a green lentil bolognaise.
Chickpeas, wonderful things - curry e.g. with spinach, add to dahl, stew with aubergine, courgette and tomato.
Haricot or cannellini beans - we use these a lot in tomato sauces for pasta, risotto etc.
Noodles - with various veg, can easily add seeds and some nuts for nutritional breadth.
Burgers - we make veggie burgers based on pulses and freeze them. Great convenience food for a 'meat and two veg' style dinner.
Grains - quinoa is very high protein, bulgar wheat more than couscous.
We also make bread and a lot of soup, frozen in portions and heated for lunch. You can do great soups with cheap market or leftover veg. Don't throw everything in one pot, get creative with flavours e.g. Beetroot soup is lovely, squash and ginger, cauliflower with coconut milk, carrot and coriander, curried parsnip.
I'd second the ppk as a good recipe source (seitan is wheat gluten protein, you can make it). Gillian McKeith is good at packing nutrition into healthy, lower calorie foods.
Generalising for the people I know, but I find that it is those who don't have the abilitiy to cook on a basic level who have the most issues with eating healthily on a budget. I have friends who are convinced that to make heathy meals is not only expensive, but hard. So they see eating healthily as buying ready made healthy foods, so stick to high fat\sugar pre-prepared foods.
I can cook, I have issues with portion size and comfort eating though. So I am a complete lardarse >_< Luckily the kids are not. Striking a balance and trying to improve. I've thrown out my dinner plates and am using a 'breakfast' plate instead now, can fit a lot less on it and I have told myself seconds are not permitted!
Fruit and veg from markets is incredibly cheap.
Oh and veggie chilli can be very veg based, or very beany. I like the beany version, with kidney beans and two of black-eyed beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, green lentils, with onion, courgette, mushrooms, garlic, chilli, herbs, cumin, veg stock and tomato of course.
Yellow split peas are my secret weapon. Boil with some garlic salt. You can use them mashed instead of potatoes to top shepherds (or veg in tinned toms) pie, instead of rice or pasta and as a hearty filler ( nicer than lentils) for stews and soups. Dead easy to cook and about 40p for 500g.
Porridge is very cheap and filling.
Dahl made from lentils and rice is really yummy, healthy and cheap. You can cook rice in the microwave quickly and easily.
I only buy the veg that is on special offer each week in Aldis and get creative with what I can make.
Beans, rice and lentils are heathier than pasta, white bread and potatoes so think of them as your staples.
binful thanks but I'm not in the UK cost of food is extortionate and no decent supermarket to speak of
theres nothing wrong with carbs,eat pasta and bread and rice if you want to,just have smaller portions and do some more excercise.
I spend 200+ per week on food,i love food and i like better quality stuff as i think it tastes nicer and i feel better when i eat well,there are 6 of us though and we eat meat 5 times a week or occasionally more,plusi have to buy nappies for 2 and formula for one,and cat food for 2!
I'm not in the UK either, but I'm surprised the tentacles of Aldi haven't reached every continent yet!!
So if you were me, with a budget of £40 a week to feed 2 adults and 2 children (1 adult and 1 child dairy and soya free, 1 child can't have tomatoes) what would you buy? Reading the posts here I think I've been doing it wrong! I do cook from scratch and buy frozen veg as well as some fresh, but could obviously do with some guidance.
It really is. In fact just eating in general seems to be getting more and more expensive.
binful we ate in the middle east and no UK supermarkets other than waitrose which is great but like boutique shopping!
Several French hypermarkets: Carrefour, lullu's and geant but they're a but grim. Don't know if they're also grim in France though.
We tend to buy all frozen veg, fresh veg just doesn't seem to last. Frozen mushrooms/peppers/spinach are great for omelettes/stews/chilis.
Mmm I can shop in France, Switzerland or Germany. I have to admit my trips to Carrefour haven't really enthused me! Still they must do frozen brands?? <<hopeful>>
frozen veg is half the price per kilo than fresh.
try tins of beans... value kidney beans or looking in cheap shops for 3 for a pound etc.
and yeas brown rice/wholemeal pasta/noodles are more expensive. tis very annoying
Well £40 is a really tight budget so I think you're doing well to manage on that at all. You're also managing the dietary requirements already, so your question is about healthier food isn't it?
To be healthier, you need to be packing protein, vitamins and minerals into everything and making the nutritious dishes tasty and filling, so you don't need to bulk out too much with carbs - though, there's nothing wrong with carbs as a major component of your diet. Potatoes are great. Just exercise portion control and don't eat empty calories, like white bread and crisps.
Ok, I'm used to cooking vegan food and have accommodated gluten free, nut free and mushroom dislikes with that. Does everyone like mushrooms? That would be a positive! (They're not cheap but sometimes you can get lots cheap from a market).
Vegan cooks and recipes will be helpful as dairy free is quite a different way of cooking and you can always use meat in place of soya etc. the Vegan Society could be helpful. Have a look at Vegan Dad's blog archive, he has a cookbook too. Look at who he, ppk etc like on Facebook, to find other good bloggers.
Do you use any sort of milk substitute, rice milk etc? Not cheap. You can do a cheese-type white sauce, with nutritional yeast flakes and a bit of mustard.
Lots of shepherd's pie variations are possible with pulses and veg. Lentils or haricots can be blended into quite creamy sauces for pasta, gnocchi (can make your own) etc.
Lots of variations on burgers / rissoles / croquettes are possible with pulses, veg, potatoes and most can be baked not fried.
OP If I were you I would really struggle to feed a family of four on £40pw healthy or not healthy, if you are managing to keep everyone fed you are doing well!!
I think it's good to have almost of easy/cheap/healthy meal ideas that can just be tweaked different ways. Other meals I can think off top of my head:
Eggs are great so one night a week is an egg based meal. Omelette, tortilla, frittata, scrambled eggs....with veg
Pasta- pesto with frozen peas and sweetcorn added
Bought or made soup with brown rice added for more of a meal
Stews - loads of veg, tin of beans (cannellini or borlotti etc) herbs and maybe some bacon in the basics
Casseroles- quite similar to above. You can get cheap and good quality meat such as lamb neck and it makes a delicious stew.
Risotto- start with onions, celery, rice and stock and basically do whatever you like. Doesn't have to have cheese or wine.
Nut/veg roast (still trying to get my boys to like it!) So easy, ground up nuts, grated veg, two eggs whisked up, maybe parsley? In tin for forty minutes.
Fish baked with small potatoes and peppers, onions, (with or without tomatoes), olives and capers (just a few of both I always have jars in the fridge) just shoe in oven and all bake together add fish on top 20mins before end serve with bread or rice
It's much cheaper to eat veggie than not, but healthy fruit and veg is unfortunately more expensive than unhealthy food IMO. I was very skint as a single mum in my 20s and found fruit and veg expensive on my limited shopping budget.
Ps sorry that wasn't that helpful. Supermarket value chopped tomatoes are about 30p in cartons - make a nice ratatouille with some grilled veg then use as a pasta sauce or a filling for baked potatoes/sauce for risotto/filling for dairy free crepes (google recipe).
Sorry if someone's already linked but this is a great book - you can buy used on Amazon -
Lots of good ideas in it.
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