Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Why it’s easier than ever to eat well on a tight budget

We are constantly inundated with warnings about the importance of eating healthily, and rightly so. As well as reducing our risk of chronic diseases and helping us control our weight, eating the right foods also improves our mental wellbeing.

Yet despite these facts, over three quarters of young people are put off by the perceived cost of eating healthily, according to a study by insurers Aviva. The common perception is that people who eat healthily (or follow plant-based diets) have an expensive lifestyle, which worryingly discourages many from adopting a healthy diet themselves. Despite the figures, this view is somewhat unfounded. It’s actually easier than ever to consume healthier food without breaking the bank. Here is why eating well on a budget keeps getting easier.

There are more budget healthy options than ever

The last decade has been characterised by the rise of budget supermarkets, and discount stores such as Aldi and Lidl now have a larger market share than Waitrose. It’s therefore easier than ever to buy reasonably-priced food. Those unwilling to do their food shopping at these stores have no excuse though, particularly if they are looking for healthy ingredients, as nearly every supermarket has own-brand budget products that are substantially cheaper than branded alternatives.

The food retail landscape has changed considerably in recent years, and it’s not just supermarkets that are offering real value on healthy food. A marked rise in the number of independent retailers across the country is giving consumers even more choice. The OFM Awards 2017 for Best Independent Retailer featured stores from all corners of the country, so there is almost definitely somewhere near most people, and many sell their produce online anyway. Look at the winner of the award for a shining example. Rafi’s Spicebox was launched in 1989 and specialises in selling Indian food boxes consumers can order to their front door. Substantially cheaper and healthier than most Indian takeaways, this type of retailer shows just how much choice consumers have.

The diversification of the food scene has led to some truly unique and innovative companies. Take the Aylesbury-based startup Huel, who sell nutritionally-complete powdered food. Making £14 million a year, the company have seen stunning success since their launch in 2014. Huel produce a product perfect for those who need a healthy meal on the go. All you need to do is add water to their powder. Those who eat Huel get the best of both worlds, with meals all-in-all working out at just £1.33 each.

There is more guidance than ever before

The internet is now flooded with publications outlining ways you can eat healthily and affordably. Thrifty Lesley, for example, specialises in £1 meals, like Beef Ragu, Green Tomato Curry and Salted Cashew Couscous. As well as providing recipes, the site gives great money-saving culinary advice. This includes what you can do with leftovers and 7-day meal plans. The site is frequently listed as one of the best budget eating blogs to follow and deservedly boasts a huge online following.

Frugal Feeding is another healthy eating blog that has gained mass support. Launched by Nick Livermore whilst he was at university, Frugal Feeding is “a food blog about eating good, well-sourced food as economically as possible.” The blog has outlined an array of healthy but low-cost recipes, such as One-Pot Mushroom Stew, Brown Butter Cod and Chickpea Fritters, and Garlic Prawns with Chilli. With recipes indexed into different categories, like World Cuisine, Broths, and Italian, the blog is easy to navigate, and it is no surprise the site is so popular.

Considering there are more healthy budget food options and greater help to eat healthily and cheaply, it is easier than ever to eat well on a shoestring. Nobody should be put off trying a healthy diet for financial reasons.  

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