NHS reveals 20 sure-fire ways to eat healthy – and save money

Losing weight is an absolute minefield – and a stressful one at that.

You’ve probably started 2018 wanting to lose a few pounds (everybody does, it seems) but, eight months in, you may not have the results you wanted.

Autumn is on the horizon, and with it comes hearty main courses, big breakfasts and cosy lunches.

Many of us, the Liverpool Echo reports, are worried about the cost of trying to change our diets, assuming that eating more healthily will mean forking out more cash.

According to the NHS, however, this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, as the NHS Choices website explains: “Can you eat healthily and save money? You bet your bottom dollar you can!”

It adds: “If cost is discouraging you from trying to make changes to you and your family’s diet then read on: healthy eating doesn’t have to cost more.”

The website also contains 20 tips on how you can eat well for less – we take a look at them below:

1) Write a shopping list


The NHS Choices website recommends drawing up a weekly meal plan using up ingredients you already have and make a shopping list of any missing items.

It says: “Try not to shop when hungry. People who shop when hungry are more likely to spend more, especially on less healthy foods, such as high-fat and sugary snacks.”

2) Waste nothing

According to NHS Choices, the average family with children throws away almost £60 of good food every month. It says: “Be strict about buying only what you’ll actually eat.

“Plan your meals so that all ingredients on your list get used. Freeze any unused food. Food storage bags and boxes will come in handy.

3) Eat leftovers for lunch

The website recommends cooking extra portions for your evening meal, so that you can have the leftovers for lunch the next day.

It says: “Any leftovers can be frozen for another day. Eventually, you’ll have a freezer full of homemade ready meals on tap.”

The site also has a page dedicated to how to use leftovers safely .

4) Buy frozen

The NHS Choices website says frozen fruit and vegetables are underrated. It says: “They come pre-chopped and ready to use, are just as good for you (try to avoid those with added salt, sugar or fat), and are often cheaper than fresh varieties.

“Frozen vegetables are picked at the peak of freshness and then frozen to seal in their nutrients.”

The site also has a page dedicated to tips on freezing and defrosting .

5) Try cheaper brands

You could save money by buying cheaper brands than you normally do, according to NHS Choices.

It says: “There’s not always much difference between value and premium ranges. Give it a go and let your taste buds be the judge, not the shiny label.”

The site also has a page dedicated to how food labels can help you make healthier choices .

6) Eat more veg


According to NHS Choices, meat and fish are typically the most expensive food ingredients on a shopping list.

It says: “How about adding vegetables to meat dishes such as casseroles to make your meals go further? Or try a few vegetarian meals during the week to keep costs down?

“Make it fun by joining the thousands of people who regularly take part in meat-free Monday.”

7) Cook with pulses

The NHS Choices website says: “Pulses, such as beans, lentils and peas, are some of the cheapest foods on the supermarket shelf. These pulses are low in calories and fat but packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals and also count towards your five-a-day.

“Use them in dishes to replace some of the chicken or meat, such as a chilli con carne with kidney beans or a chicken curry with chickpeas.”

8) Freeze leftover bread

It says bread is one of the most wasted household foods. The website states: “Reduce waste by freezing bread, preferably in portions (for convenience) and when it’s at its freshest (for taste).

“Store bread in an airtight container (such as a freezer bag) to avoid freezer burn.”

9) Know your kitchen

The NHS Choices website says: “Know what’s in your kitchen store cupboard, fridge and freezer. You may find you’ve got enough ingredients to make a meal.

“Plan your week’s meals to include ingredients you’ve already got in and avoid buying items you already have. Check use-by dates to make sure you use up ingredients before they go off.”

10) Buy cheaper cuts

If you’re prepared to take a little more time with your cooking, buying cheaper cuts of meat is a great way to save money, NHS Choices says. It explains: “Choosing a cheaper cut of meat, such as braising steak, shin or shoulder, doesn’t mean missing out on a tasty meal.

“Slow cooking gradually breaks down the fibres in cheaper cuts, giving great taste at a lower cost.”

11) Look up cheap recipes

According to NHS Choices, cheap doesn’t have to mean less tasty. There are plenty of websites offering recipes for cheap eats and leftover ingredients.

It says: “Check out Change4Life’s meal mixer and our healthy recipes section for some inspiration.”

12) Eat smaller portions

The website states: “Try eating smaller portions by saying no to a second helping or using smaller plates. You’ll have more left over for lunch the next day and your waistline may benefit, too!

“Try weighing or measuring out staples such as pasta and rice when cooking to stay in control of portion size and reduce waste.”

13) Cook from scratch


Save money by cutting back on takeaways, the website discusses. It says: “Preparing and cooking your own meals is generally cheaper than buying a takeaway or a ready meal and, because it’s easier to control what goes in to your dish, it can be healthier.”

14) Buy chicken whole

NHS Choices says the cheapest way to buy chicken is to buy a whole chicken. It states: “From a whole chicken, you’ll get two breasts, two thighs, drumsticks and wings, plus a carcass for making stock.

“Consider using the deli counter for cheese and cured meats. You can get exact amounts, which is cheaper and less wasteful.”

15) Compare pre-packed with loose

The website states: “Fruit and vegetables sometimes cost more pre-packed than loose.

“Check the price per weight (for example £/kg). Stores know that consumers want to buy in bulk, and so they mix it up: sometimes the packed produce is cheaper, sometimes it’s more expensive.

“Also, pre-packed isn’t always the freshest and you may end up with more than you need.”

16) Cut down on luxuries

According to NHS Choices: “If your regular shopping basket tends to include fizzy drinks, crisps, snack bars, biscuits and cakes, try trimming down on these non-essential items.

“Many of these are high in sugar and fat, so you’ll be doing your waistline as well as your bottom line a favour. They can also contain a lot of salt.

“Think about cheaper and healthier alternatives – such as sparkling water and fruit juice instead of cola, or fruit and plain yoghurt.”

17) Beware of BOGOF offers

It states: “Special discounts such as buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF) deals can offer good value, but be careful: only buy items you actually need and are likely to keep and use – tinned or frozen fruit and veg or rice and pasta are a good example.

“Markdowns on perishables at the end of the shopping day are another way to bag a saving – but make sure the item gets used before the use-by-date and doesn’t go off sooner than expected.”

18) Toddlers eat the same

Baby girl

NHS Choices explains: “If you’ve got a toddler in tow, get them used to eating the same meals as you instead of relying on costly pre-prepared toddler food.

“Simply blend or chop up their portion to suit their age and freeze extra child-sized portions for later. Make sure not to add any salt to their portions and be careful with spicy food.”

19) Shop online

According to the website, price comparison websites, such as mysupermarket.com , let you select a basket of products and then choose the cheapest supplier.

It says: “The price differences can be significant. Unlike going to the shops yourself, you’ll know how much you’ve spent before going to the till, which can make it easier to stay within budget.”

20) Shop during the ‘happy hour’

Most supermarkets discount fresh items towards the end of the day, NHS Choices explains. It states: “However, with longer opening hours, it’s a case of finding out just the right time to grab those bargains.

“If you time it right, the ‘reduced to clear shelves’ can save you big money. Always check use-by dates.”

For more information about health eating, plus health and well-being, visit the NHS Choices website.

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