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?
i have my own lamb obvs so just plucked them from google!
This is very useful, thanks. If anyone uses these farms and gives feedback that would be great!
Thanks you all for taking the time to pass on your tips and recipes, I really appreciate it.
Oops, just noticed half a sentence missing in the last para... It should say "I make a healthy, well-balanced veggie meals for 3, for about £2.50 on average, but could cut this down to £1.50/meal with a bit more effort (and if we stopped eating quorn)".
YANBU Puddle, but these bits of info might help... And please
ignore forgive me if I'm saying anything you already know!
- There is a fantastic 'classic' (30+ year old) cookbook called 'The Pauper's Cookbook', which I learned to cook from, which has loads of cheap recipes Amazon link
- Buy your fruit/veg from an open market rather than a supermarket - they'll be literally a third of the price, sometimes less.
- Buy staples in bulk if you can store them. Bigger bags/bottles etc. are cheaper, of course. But also, it's usually possible to get a card for your local Cash 'n' Carry store or a semi-wholesalers, where corner shops etc. get their stock - and multi-packs will be cheaper there.
- There is more 'food value' in whole foods, and they are usually better 'cash value' too - e.g. wholemeal bread and pasta have more nutrients than white/processed equivalents, and fill you up more, so you eat less.
- Ready meals are completely out if you are feeding a family on a budget. The cheap ones are rubbish, and the decent ones are too expensive. (But if you are
more organised than me, you can get plastic take-away tubs, make meals in batches, and freeze them). It's much cheaper to cook meals from scratch, including plenty of quick meals.
- Some 'basic' things are much, much cheaper to make yourself than buy ready-made. A big loaf of wholemeal bread costs about 30-50p to make, for instance (depending on whether you bought your flour in bulk). Pizzas cost about 40-50p each if you buy plain bases, and make your own topping with tinned tomatoes, grated cheese, etc. (Kids really like doing this btw, cos they get to choose their own toppings!) Soups, pasta sauces, pancake/yorkshire pud batter and pastry are easy to make and much cheaper than their ready-made equivalents.
- Eating veggie is cheaper, usually. Stews with beans or chick peas, lentils in everything ... I make a healthy, well-balanced veggie Prue Leith's 'Vegetarian Bible' is the classic, but it's very hard to get hold of - or very expensive. The Vegetarian Society provides online recipes here
and isn't OTT!
Forgot to mention - I found cooking from scratch and not eating processed foods (no white bread, white pasta, fruit juice) was the best way to lose weight. Eating the way your body was designed to eat - things it could hunt or gather, works really well.
We feed three adults, a toddler and two dogs on around £50 a week, we could spend more, but having had to pull it in a LOT previously I actually like seeing how low we can go as it enables us to do other things.
I cook from scratch every day, when DD was a young baby I used to prep dinner during her morning nap, and just switch pans on later, we also use a slowcooker a lot, again prepping whilst she napped. Now she rockets around behind the baby gate whilst I cook. It's like anything, the more you do it the easier it gets. DH takes a packed lunch to work.
I meal plan, and try to factor in what we call "free meals" - so something made from leftovers of other meals, I boil bones for stock, use parmesan rinds in soup, use broccoli stalks to make soup etc. You can also use peelings - as long as they have been washed they are fine in soup - it's just another part of the vegetable, and actually contain more nutrients and fibre than the flesh of most veg.
I also shop a day later every week, so this week I shopped on Monday, next week I will go Tuesday, the following week Wednesday, the extra day is either a leftover day, using up the last bits of the previous shop a la Nigel Slater or a storecupboard day - it's not hard to do with a bit of thought, and it means for every eight weeks you only actually do seven food shops.
I shop between Tesco, Aldi and Lidl, with Aldi being the cheapest. I buy a LOT of fruit and veg, but aside from grapes for DD I only buy the £1 packs of anything, it means we're eating seasonally too because fruit/veg in season is cheaper. I buy meat in Tesco 3 for £10, but stretch it out so each pack does two meals. The pork loin steaks have six in, and I use three in either a sweet and sour with extra veg, or in a casserole.
Tinned beans (butter beans, kidney beans etc) are cheap, healthy, taste good and are very filling. They can be thrown into any soup or stew to bulk them out.
Anything using mince you can throw a handful or two of oats into to bulk it out and make it go further.
If you want to make soups I'd suggest getting a crock pot/slow cooker, you can use the cheapest cuts of meat (if you want meat) and slow cook the soups all day, they do a fantastic job.
I have been known to read the ingredients off a can or packet of stuff I like and improvise, It has made for some lovely dinners.
Thank you Flatbread, I'll have a look.
I've just checked online and Sainburys & Tescos also do the same. I usually have some in the freezer - I feel that the smoked salmon makes a simple meal feel like a luxury.
flatbreadthank you, I will look.
I made a huge pot of potato and leek soup for less than a few pounds. 4 pack of leeks reduced to 80p, 1 large baking potato at 70p ish, few garlic cloves and some stock. Made about 3 adult portions and a few kids ones. My tip, but fruit and veg in the evenings when reduced and be inventive
chaz I didn't know about asda doing salmon trimmings - thanks for the tip. I'll b stocking up next time I go
I'm busy looking at slow cookers ...
Disclaimer -never used it. But the price seems reasonable
This place delivers, I think
I'm trying to find somewhere locally that will supply a whole lamb or half a pig or beef, the way my mum used to get when I was little - it used to last ages and was a really cost effective way of buying meat - there does not seem to be anyone local to me that does it.
Our butcher has a special price for buying meat in bulk. E.g., while lamp chops may be 25 euros a kilo, price for half or full lamb is 9 euros a kilo.
Same for veal or pork. And he cuts it up really nicely so it is simply a case of labelling the cuts as grilling, stewing and so on and popping in the deepfreeze.
Worth checking if your butcher does something similar?
You need lots of root veg to bulk out stews at this time of year. It helps with the heating bills if you can get it on and then do craft/baking in the kitchen with the dcs, can turn the heading of fir a few hours then.
As for the person who complained about the cost of healthy puds, stewed (eating) apples with a few spices and a bit out sugar are cheap, warming and delicious. Or homemade flapjack/oakt biscuits. It doesn't have to be expensive. I buy frozen berries and mix them in ramekins of cheap pain yoghourt 12 hours before eating too.
Don't buy low fat, make the most of the money you do spend then bulk out with veg or water milk down yourself to reduce the overall fat content of each dish. Lean strewing streak didn't go nearly as far as the fattier stuff, and if itsthe quarters veg then the difference is negligible. Porridge is filling and cheap, use full fat milk and offer a spoonful of chocolate powder or golden syrup to make it more attractive than expensive light sugary cereals.
Been lurking with interest!
BoPeep could you tell me more about which suppliers you would use please?
Also,what joint of pork for a ham?
I've recently swapped to using our local free range butcher and we have dramatically cut down the amount of meat we eat, it's now probably only around 20/30% of our meals which really helps food bills. I've actually managed to buy some crisps or biscuits for DH, which I could never afford before. Anyway, I digress, the butcher is more expensive than the supermarket and doesn't ever seem to have special offers on though so I wonder if I'm losing out. What does anyone else think? Do you get offers at your butchers? I think I'm sometimes getting a bit extra than I've asked for at the same price, the odd extra bacon rasher etc. but I don't know if its by accident or I've just paid extra for it! Because not everything is on display so you have to ask for it and you don't know how much per kg it is, which I find hard cz I need to budget in advance as I meal plan.
Re the OP, I think it is easier to eat healthily at cheaper prices than processed food but it takes so much time to get good. Well, it has for me! I've been meal planning for about 8 months now and I'm getting there. I also have invested in the Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall cookery books, RC every day and veg every day, which are fantastic and loads of ideas for meat free meals and using cheaper cuts of meat. I've tried quite a few of the cheaper cuts that we fancied and some have been repeated, others haven't! It's just trial and error. My biggest finds have been bulgar wheat and lentils (never been able to make them tasty before now!) and they really help make things go further and make cheap, filling meals. I agree with someone earlier, you need a good spice cupboard and that takes a while to build up. I bought one or two a week as I found them in the recipes I was trying.
Gosh, that's tough. Good luck with the job hunting. I can't imagine having to provide meals for a family at a rate of less than 2 pounds per day per person. You are incredible to manage that.
Where did the rest of my post go?
Loads of veg through the rice too, and DH ate some of it - result!
Egg Fried rice for tea tonight - with some left over chicken.
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