Researchers have found that switching to a healthy diet can actually save you money. As someone who cooks from scratch, I have to agree, but will it encourage people to ditch the ready meals?
Do you think it costs more to eat healthily?
Many people do. When we asked members of the public last year how their shopping habits had changed due to the economic climate, many told us that they were finding it hard to eat healthily and that they were buying less fresh fruit and veg.
But last week a study led by researchers at the University of Bristol showed that actually you could save up to £6.58 a week by changing your shopping habits, swapping supermarkets and opting for healthier options.
The team analysed food diaries of obese children and measured the costs of substituting healthy food options for unhealthy ones.
Savings depend on your starting point
This doesn’t hugely surprise me when I think of how much some ‘junk food’ such as take-aways and ready meals can cost, especially if you’re feeding a family on them.
But these findings looked at diaries of obese children who were eating unhealthy foods, so I’m not sure if this can be extrapolated to the rest of the population. Surely, the amount you can save depends on your starting point?
Of course, swapping shopping in Waitrose for Aldi or Lidl is bound to offer savings. But small changes and swaps can also help. Swapping fresh veg for frozen can offer substantial savings and you don’t have to worry about waste. Often frozen veg can be more nutritious as it’s frozen shortly after picking and so retains more vitamins.
And lots of celebrity chefs have been extolling the virtues of cheaper cuts of meat.
Eating well on a budget
To me it makes sense that cooking food from scratch will end up costing less – with prepared food you’re paying extra for someone to do the work for you. But for people who aren’t used to cooking, it can be a daunting process and it can seem like you’re spending a lot more money on all the different ingredients.
In the past year to try and save some money I’ve changed my supermarket and try to cook food in larger batches and freeze it so that I’m not tempted to order a take-away on the days I’m too lazy to cook. What tips do you have to eat healthily on a budget?