It’s January! It’s dark, damp, Christmas is over, your body is a few pounds heavier and your wallet is a few pounds lighter.
Maybe, like many people you are using the new year as a way to address your eating habits and purge your system of all the crap you consumed in December, delicious as it was!
So you find some nutritious and clean recipes online that look amazing, and head off to Holland and Barrett for some coconut oil, nuts, sugar-free nut butter, ground linseed and protein powder, and then nearly have a heart attack when the cashier asks you to hand over £45 for a few wee store cupboard items that won’t feed your family for a day, let alone a week!
But fear not! You can eat well and clean, and not break the bank. “Healthy” food need not be expensive if you follow the golden rules of clean eating – whole foods, lots of fresh fruit and veg, and lean protein. In fact, since its January and we’re not socialising as much as we were in December – and by socialising I mean dinners out and bottles of prosecco – it should be easier than ever to save the pounds and the lbs!
Here are our top tips for eating well for less:
1. Be mindful of where you shop. I love grocery shopping. I love to wander round Waitrose and Whole Foods but I find myself coming away with £50 worth of very little. Aldi and Lidl are great for fresh food – cheap fruit and veg, cheap cereals, pulses and grains, and fresh Scottish meat. Even their organic meat is more affordable. Today I spent £30 on a week’s worth of shopping for two adults and a toddler who eats more than both of us combined.
2. Following on from that be mindful of HOW you shop – stick to the fresh foods round the outside of the supermarket first. Venture into the dried goods section or frozen section with a list so your not tempted by 2 for £5 ice cream tubs or such like! Frozen veg is just as nutritious as fresh and it’s so easy to use to bulk up a meal or lunch. And NEVER shop when you are hungry!
3. Buy in bulk – places like Costco have lovely health foods for much cheaper. Things like quinoa, flaxseed, and coconut oil are often cheaper than your high street stores and it will last you weeks!
4. Alcohol is expensive and full of empty calories. A couple of bottles of wine a week, for a month, could set you back £60 and 6500 calories (nearly 2lb of fat!). It all adds up the wrong way! For beer lovers you could go alcohol free. Becks Blue is surprisingly drinkable and, has only 50 calories in a bottle and is only £3.50 for 6!
5. Try not to be wasteful! Make your veggies into soup when they start getting to the end of their life; freeze chopped fruit including bananas and use them to make smoothies or healthy “nice” cream later on; make stock from your roast leftovers. It will save you money and keep your diet on track.
6. Try a food delivery service. I’m currently trialing Hello Fresh using their half price offer, which makes it about £2.50 per meal and you can select low calorie options each week. They deliver all the fresh food to your door each Monday, will leave in a safe place if you’re out and the portions are measured exactly so there’s little waste. We have some half price vouchers in the studio if you feel like giving it a shot. Alternatively you could try an organic, local fruit and veg box scheme. You often get a lot for your money and you know you don’t have to worry about getting your daily 5!
7. Cook enough for dinner so there are leftovers for lunch the following day. Saves you having to buy a crappy £4 sandwich from the cafe.
8. Get to know what’s in your cupboard & freezer. Utilise the ingredients that you already have instead of mindlessly buying the same cupboard staples on every shop – it will stop the tuna tin tower piling up too high & save you money!
Quick and easy lunch idea:
Low cal oil spray: 3p
4 large carrots: 30p
1l of stock: 10p or homemade
200g red lentils – 60p
1/4 teaspoon dried ginger: 1p
Chop the onion finely and fry in a couple of sprays of low calorie oil until soft.
Add the carrots, lentils, stock and ginger and simmer until soft, about 20 minutes.
Blend and serve.
Total calories per serving: 74 calories
Total cost: 19p per person.