With the recent rise in the cost of living here in the UK, inflation has hit a 30-year high.1https://www.trusselltrust.org/emergency/ If you’re wondering how to save pennies on your food shop without compromising your health, you’re not alone! Research shows that 93% of adults struggling with increased cost-of-living blamed higher food prices for the rise. 2https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-9428/CBP-9428.pdf
Healthy eating has a bad reputation for being expensive – but boosting your gut-brain health doesn’t need to break the bank.
The good news is that there are plenty of nutritious, affordable foods – and recipes – out there to support a healthy gut microbiome. Here are seven ways to eat healthy on a budget:
1. Buy fresh, frozen AND tinned fruits & vegetables
Fresh, tinned, frozen – they all count towards your 5 (ahem, here at CG we’d like to see you eating 10!) a day. You can reduce waste by buying frozen and tinned produce. Did you know that frozen fruit and vegetables are actually more nutritious for you than fresh? Read more here: MYTH BUSTING: Fresh or Frozen?
2. Add more grains to your diet
Remember, not all carbs are created equal. We’re not talking heavily processed carbohydrates here; we mean low-GI grains like oats, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, amaranth, barley and rye. Grains are rich in fibre (and you already know your gut bugs LOVE fibre!) and can be affordable additions to your meals. Grains on their own can be quite bland, just like rice or pasta. Think in terms of using grains as a nutritious base, and then adding sauce or toppings to boost flavour.
3. Buy in bulk
If you’re feeling frugal, you may be tempted to buy only for your immediate needs. But bulk-buying tends to work out cheaper and saves you money in the long run. Check prices on bulk buys and calculate the price per serving.
4. Opt for home brands
Don’t be drawn in by the pretty packaging – opt for home brands/unbranded tinned products.
5. Meat-free Mondays
Why not swap out your meat one day per week for a gut-nourishing plant-based, protein-rich alternative: beans, pulses, nuts, seeds or eggs. Try making vegetarian chilli, bean-burgers or veggie-packed frittata.
6. Plan your meals (and don’t shop hungry!)
Meal-planning is crucial when it comes to saving money on your food shop and reducing food waste later in the week. Before you shop, map out a meal plan for the week and create your shopping list. Plan your food shop tactically to hit the reduced-section at the right time of day and save yourself even more pennies!
7. Batch-cook and freeze
Grains, legumes and hidden veg are an easy, affordable way to bulk up your meals and add more fibre into your diet. Next time you make a bolognese sauce, add an extra tin of beans or a few grated carrots. (See our blog post How to sneak healthy foods into your family’s diet.) Make double – or triple portions and freeze them for easy, go-to weeknight meals. Not only will your meals go further, you’re packing them full of those MACs (Microbiota-Accessible-Carbohydrates) that your gut bugs adore.
Do you have any other money-saving tactics? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you 🙂