Smart Shopping: Eat healthily without spending more…

Healthy eating inevitably costs more money – FALSE!!

When doing your weekly shop it is all too easy to pack your trolley to the brim and end up with an enormous bill (with tons more products than you actually had on your original shopping list!) Of course the supermarkets’ main aim is to make as much money as possible and that means encouraging you to spend, so it is important to try and become a bit more ‘savvy’ when it comes to doing your weekly food shop.

SR Nutrition’s Smart Shopping Tips:

1.) Plan your trip

Write a list- it may seem a boring task but have a go at planning your meals in advance. Have a good think about the foods you will need for the following week, make a list and, most importantly, stick to it!

Shop around- is it all too easy to go to the local supermarket where you know they just have EVERYTHING, but often local markets and smaller shops can have some great bargains and cheaper prices for everyday produce.

Shop later- if you are visiting the supermarkets, try and shop at the end of the day when often many products are reduced, ready to be thrown out if not sold!

Most importantly- NEVER shop when hungry.  When we are hungry we often impulse buy and end up with foods we wouldn’t normally have bought, as well as many more high fat, high sugar junk foods – which will really increase your food bill!


2.) Be aware when buying

Look up and down- strange but true, the premium products are often found in the middle shelf at eye level to encourage us to buy the foods that make shops and supermarkets their money. Spend a bit of time looking around as well as comparing products and prices on similar items.

Buy in bulk- if products such as pasta, rice and couscous are on offer try and buy them in bulk, as you know they will last a long time and you will be saving those pennies in the long run.

Buy tinned, frozen and dried- people are often wary of purchasing these foods, but tinned fruit and vegetables (in water or natural juice) still count towards our 5 a day and can be a much cheaper option. Beans, lentils and pulses are also great to buy tinned (in water) and can be added to plenty of different meals to bulk them out and add iron and fibre; they also count towards your fruit and vegetable intake. Frozen fruits and vegetables are also great and can be used really easily in dinners, soups and puddings. These are often cheaper than fresh fruit and vegetables, yet still contain a lot of beneficial nutrients.

Avoid pre-prepared foods- these often cost a lot more than just buying the ingredients and making them yourself; they often contain less beneficial nutrients and more fat, sugar and salt than if you were to make them yourself.

Use your label reading card- checking the labels can help you to go for foods which are low in fat, sugar and salt and higher in the beneficial nutrients we need, can help to avoid you filling up on “empty calories”. Always carry your SR Nutrition label reading card in your wallet (contact us here to order one)

Decide if ‘BOGOF’ offers are needed?- ‘buy one get one free’ offers can be oh so tempting,  but can often lead to you spending additional cash on products you wouldn’t usually buy or don’t need.

Smart snacking- buying junk food for the kids may seem like a necessary option, but it would save you money and be much more beneficial for their health if you kept the junk foods to a minimum.


3.) Efficient Food Preparation

Cook in bulk- when making meals think about making more than is needed and freezing things like sauces, lasagnes and soups and eating at a later date. This can save time on cooking, as well as helping you to use up foods before they go off.

Freeze your foods- often many foods which we will not use immediately can be frozen, which saves waste. Freeze breads, milk, meat and fish and use them at a later date instead of letting them go rancid in the fridge. Freezing will help to save us from having to buy more. Remember to freeze food as close to the day of purchase as possible, thaw thoroughly and if it needs to be cooked, make sure it is piping hot all the way through.

Use up leftovers- In the UK we waste around 8.3 million tonnes of food every year (Defra, 2010) and this can be significantly reduced by turning fruit into pies, cakes and smoothies or vegetables into soups and pasta sauces. You could also try having left over meals for lunch the next day which saves on the price of another meal and helps to do your bit to avoid food waste!

Bulk out dishes- fill meat dishes with more nutritious beans, lentils, pulses or any leftover vegetables; these will help to fill you up for longer, whilst adding a lot of beneficial nutrients to your meals.


4.) Takeaways and Packed Lunches

Although buying food is considered to be easier  than making your own, it can often end up costing you more than you think. Have a go at adding up what you have spent over the week on your lunches at your canteen or local shop and think about how much money you could save using our tips:

Use leftovers from the night before- taking foods from the night before can help to stop waste and also be an easy way to prepare a nice healthy lunch during work.

Make foods in bulk- making lunch food in bulk such as healthy, homemade pizzas, pasta sauces, fruit salads or soups can be a great way to make sure you are getting a cheap and healthy lunch everyday.

Have a variety- make sure you are not having the same types of meals every day for lunch, so you do not get bored and this will ensure you have variety in your diet. See our blog post on Healthy Lunches for ideas.

Check the labels- make sure you use SR Nutrition’s label reading card to help you choose the healthier options. It is important to make sure you are getting more beneficial nutrients for your money and resisting those “empty calories”. Contact us here to order one.

Choose fruit and veg- if you are eating out, choose more fruit and vegetable based meals and foods which will help fill you up. This will ensure you have fewer calories but – with lots of beneficial nutrients!

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