Eating well without breaking the bank

Spending wisely is easier said than done. How can you have a low-cost, balanced diet? Which foods should be permanent fixtures in the cupboard so that you don’t end up rushing to the supermarket at the last minute? Here are a few tips to help you get organised.

How to spend wisely

Make a shopping list before you go out, thinking about what you’re going to cook for the next 2-3 days – or even the whole week, if you’re ahead of the game! Try to stick to it – that way you’ll cut down on impulse buying.

Be wary of special offers and other large quantities – they’re not always better value for money and you end up buying more, and therefore spending more.

Always check the price per kilo, so that you are able to compare prices better.

Don’t do your shopping on an empty stomach, and leave the kids at home if you can – they’ll pester you to buy things they’ve “seen on telly”, which are often more expensive.

Go to the market around 1 pm – that’s when prices are slashed.

Shop at discount supermarkets – you may not have such a wide range to choose from, but the prices are much cheaper.

Must-haves for the cupboard

  • Wholegrain rice, semi-wholegrain pasta, semolina, wholemeal flour, oat flakes
  • Pulses (lentils, split peas, dried beans, etc.)
  • Potatoes, carrots, onions, shallots, garlic
  • Tinned soup, tomato sauce, peeled tomatoes, tinned vegetables (ratatouille, mushrooms, green beans, etc.)
  • Cartons of milk
  • Caster sugar, sugar cubes, honey
  • Dried fruit and oleaginous fruits and seeds
  • Bar of dark chocolate
  • Olive oil and rapeseed oil
  • Vinegar, salt, pepper, spices, aromatic herbs
  • Tinned fish (sardines, mackerel, tuna, etc.)
  • Lemons

Must-haves for the fridge

  • Eggs
  • Butter and low-fat butter with omega 3
  • Low-fat thick cream
  • Fromage blanc, yoghurt
  • Ham or turkey ham
  • Cheese and grated cheese
  • Fruit purée with no added sugar
  • 100% pure fruit juice

Seasonal produce
…and don’t forget seasonal fruit and vegetables! The cheapest option is to go to a market, but you can also find low-cost fruit and veg in the produce section of your local supermarket. They can also be found in the frozen section. Frozen fruit and vegetables are preserved immediately after harvesting, so as to retain all their nutritional value. Go for the basic, non-precooked versions, as the cooked ones often have a high fat and salt content.

Mix up your meals and let your imagination run wild!

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