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Planning healthy meals on a budget

Planning healthy meals on a budget

With the cost of food, and meat in particular, on the rise, there’s never been a better time to start looking at ways to streamline your grocery costs. By following these tried and tested tips, you’ll find it easier than ever to plan healthy meals – and save money.

1.     Create a weekly meal plan

Eating well begins with planning well, and putting together a weekly meal plan is the best way to make sure you’re getting nutritious meals on the table instead of takeaways on the way home. And with a plan in place, you also know exactly for what to budget.

2.     Make a shopping list – and stick to it

The quickest way to defeat your budget is to hit the supermarket aisles without a shopping list. Why? Because before you know it, your trolley will be groaning under the weight of all those goodies you want, but don’t necessarily need. Armed with a comprehensive list of ingredients (courtesy of your meal plan) however, you can stay focused and spend less as a result. An added bonus of a focused approach to shopping is that you won’t end up with fresh produce that spoils because you didn’t use it in time.

3.     Buy in bulk

While you’ll need to buy fresh fruit and vegetables every few days, store cupboard ingredients can easily be bought in bulk and are usually a bit cheaper if purchased that way. That said, don’t go overboard and buy 10 jars of peanut butter (unless you’re a big family) or 20 tubes of toothpaste. You may end up saving over the long term, but you’ll also spend way more than you need to in the short term – and be left eating your bulk buy for months (or even years) to come.

4.     Shop at your local market

Farmers’ markets are popping up everywhere these days and they are a fantastic place to buy fresh produce – everything from fruit and vegetables to eggs and meat – that is mostly organic and free range and doesn’t come in costly packaging. What’s more, the produce you’ll be buying is always in season, which means it’s usually cheaper.

5.     Make enough to freeze

Next time you whip up a bolognaise sauce or chicken casserole, make enough for two meals instead of one. Not only will you save yourself time and electricity, you’ll also ensure that there’s always a healthy convenience meal in the freezer next time you’re short on time.