The difficulties of sticking to a budget for meal plans
- How on earth can I meal plan on a budget?
- How can I eat healthily on a budget?
- Surely healthy food is too expensive?
These are questions that you might be asking yourself, however it is possible to eat healthy food on a tight budget. In this blog we’re giving you a Shopping List with Recipes to help you get started with Eating on a Budget.
Tips for sticking to your budget:
- Do a meal plan for the week ahead and write a shopping list of the foods that you need.
- Compare supermarket prices (always checking price per g/kg) and take advantage of local markets. Check when supermarkets discount food and buy produce to eat that day or to freeze for later.
- Buy in bulk where you can – rice, pasta, frozen veg, tinned foods.
- Make sure you stick to your shopping list and only buy the foods that you need. Buy fresh, whole food produce. Whole foods tend to be cheaper eg. Cheese is cheaper bought in a block rather than grated (and it is easy to grate yourself) The same goes for vegetables – it’s cheaper to buy and chop, rather than buying ready cut veg. Try to buy a whole chicken and cut it up – much cheaper than buying ready diced chicken.
- Make sure you don’t just look at products at eye level as these tend to be the most expensive – look at the top and bottom shelves.
- Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry as you will buy more food than you need. Try to shop after a meal or have a snack before you go.
- Buy the shop’s own make rather than branded foods. These are often the same quality but cheaper.
- Don’t buy any junk food such as chocolate, crisps, biscuits, cakes (if they are not in the cupboard, you can’t eat them). These are expensive as well as being very unhealthy and offering little nutrition.
- Get into the habit of cooking at home rather than eating out. It’s cheaper and you know exactly what you are eating.
- Cook large batches of food (using inexpensive ingredients) and either use the leftovers the following day or freeze for another meal. Leftovers are great for stews, soups and stir-frys.
- Buy frozen fruit and vegetables. These are cheaper and last much longer.
- Use cheaper cuts of meat in casseroles and soups.
- Make your own lunches for work – buying a sandwich and a drink every day soon adds up.
Below is a basic shopping list with food that should feed 4 people for one week, costing approximately £30. If you can get online shopping slots for free or £1, it might be worth considering as it’s easier to stick to your list as you won’t be tempted to add any extra products you don’t need, and you can also see the total of what you are spending and take out anything over budget.
My Shopping List
Porridge oats – 89p
Onions – 50p
Garlic – 50p
Carrots X 2 – £1.00
Broccoli – Frozen – 99p
Blueberries – Frozen – £1.65
Bananas – £1.60
Potatoes – £1.00
2 tins of chopped tomatoes – 561 tin of kidney beans – 30p
Mince beef – 2 x 500g – £4.18
2 X large chicken – £6.56
Wholemeal pasta – 2 x 500g – £1.06
Brown rice – 1kg – 94p
Crème fraiche – £1.07
30 eggs – £3.25
Butter – £1.45
Milk – 2l – 79p
Wholemeal bread – 2 x 800g – £1.10
Total – £29.39
Cupboard Basics (will last a few weeks)
Beef/Chicken stock cubes
The above ingredients can be mixed and matched to make different meals and below are a few ideas:
Scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast:
Scramble 2 eggs per person with a little salt and pepper and serve on a slice of wholemeal toast.
Mix 50g of porridge oats with 200g milk or water (or a mixture of the two) and microwave for 2 minutes. Add a drizzle of honey and some blueberries.
Pancakes made with eggs and bananas with blueberries:
Mix 1 egg together with 1 mashed banana and fry gently in a pan using a little butter. Add the blueberries for the last few seconds.
Poached eggs on toast:
Poach 2 eggs per person and serve on wholemeal toast
Chicken and mayonnaise sandwich using leftover chicken
Use any leftover veg/potatoes and chicken, together with chicken stock and herbs, salt and pepper to season.
Fry the onions and garlic in a frying pan for 5 minutes and then add the mince beef. Cook for about 5 minutes until the mince is browned then add the tinned tomatoes and the tomato puree. Season well with salt and pepper and leave on a low heat. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain well and mix with the sauce.
Fry the onions and garlic in a frying pan for 5 minutes and then add the mince beef. Cook for about 5 minutes until the mince is browned then add the chilli powder, tomato puree and salt and pepper. Stir well and leave for 2-3 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, drained kidney beans and 300ml beef stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Serve with brown rice.
Fry the onions and garlic in a frying pan for 5 minutes and then add the chicken. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, then add 1 large dessert spoon of curry powder and 1 flat dessert spoon of ground ginger. Mix well and add 300ml chicken stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the tub of crème fraiche and mix well. Serve with brown rice.
Cook the chicken and serve with the potatoes and vegetables.
Meal planning on a budget can take a bit of getting used to and takes some organisation but the rewards are worth it and you will soon get used to what you need to buy so it will become easier the more that you do it. Just remember to be organised when buying and cooking so that food is not wasted. Only buy the food that you are going to eat or food that can be frozen for later.
Need more help? Send us a message about Joining W Fitness so we can guide you to eating healthier!