Believe It or Not… It’s Possible to Eat and Be Healthy on a Budget.

Every one know’s pretty pictures of food lures people in! But don’t worry – this isn’t a post involving me being preachy about healthy eating.

I was once watching a yoga video and when she told me to breathe like I had gills,  I switched her off and went back to vegging on the sofa watching amazingly rubbish TV. I don’t want you to delete me from your history and forget I ever existed because I went  too far.

I was a self confessed oven food junkie a few years ago –  frozen pizza, frozen chicken grills, frozen burgers, frozen chips, frozen parsnips. You know, that stuff. In addition to that I’d also eat Maltesers and salt and vinegar crisps and any biscuit that was available. Oh and Batternberg. Nom.

When I started shunning yeast, I ended up living off spinach, halloumi and balsamic vinegar and cereal. This went on for a while and needless to say I got fed up pretty quickly. But I didn’t know what else I could eat.

When I first started Slimming World, I trundled off to Sainsburys and was horrified that our weekly shop was pushing £90! Now if you’ve ever lived in Surrey on healthcare wages, you know it’s either food or a roof over your head but you can’t have both.

About 5 years ago I would only buy branded items. If it was own brand it wasn’t going to happen (in hindsight, I don’t know how I afforded it all). However, in our run up to our wedding, I decided we needed to get serious about saving. I sat Tim down and said ‘it’s time we started going to Aldi’. It was met with reluctance.

With that, our shopping went from nearly £90 in Sainsbury’s (for 2 people) to £60 and now I’ve got it down to a fine art coming in at around £55. BUT it does require being savvy and I’m going to share some savvy with you:

Healthy Savvy

Almond Milk – this is an item you want to shop around for. Aldi are typically one of the cheapest but some of the other supermarkets will slip in with a £1 deal.

Berries – they vary massively over the year and depending on where you buy them, could have a very short shelf life. I have since decided to buy only frozen berries. Yes, it’s not the same but its £1.99 and they could last you ages. Mix it with yoghurt and nom nom nom.

Kale – I can’t stand the stuff but our rabbits love it. Very reasonable at Aldi.

Veg – Aldi (for example) have had some CRAZY offers on their vegetables recently (carrots, parsnips etc) with it being reduced to half price. Stock up for your roast dinner or make soups galore and freeze the soup. If you know how to blanche vegetables, now’s also a good time to try (I won’t be advising on this – I tried once and failed).

Meat – now it depends on your morals with this one. I used to buy fresh free range chicken breasts but being on a tight budget meant I’ve had to head over to the dark side of frozen chicken breasts. Just over £3 for 1kg of chicken and some of those chickens were well endowed if you get what I’m saying. For steak and mince it’s probably worth shopping around for, but it can be affordable.

Bread – these budget supermarkets offer a huge range (including soda bread farls for us yeast free people). I’m not aware of a GF range…. let me know if you find one!

Not So Healthy Savvy

Crisps – I’ve heard mixed reviews on crisps. Some people love them, some people hate them, some people can’t eat them because they all contain yeast (me). However, there is always offers on crisps in other supermarkets, so again, just see how you go.

Biscuits – no excuse. The replicas taste the same.

Chocolate – mixed reviews. I’d suggest trying it and see. It won’t taste like Galaxy, Dairy Milk or Lindt but it could still be equally as tasty and a fraction of the cost.

Fizzy drinks – OK. Bear with me on this. I am not a cheap Coke person. But as you may be very aware, fizzy drinks are getting more and more expensive… to the point of me asking can I even justify drinking them anymore (much to the joy of my dentist I expect). HOWEVER, Aldi do a Pepsi Max own brand version, which tastes nothing like Pepsi Max but is very palatable. And it’s as cheap as anything. It’s either 42p or 49p compared to the minimum of £1.29 for Pepsi Max!

Non-Edible Savvy

Shampoo – Aussie is a leading brand in the shampoo an3d is one I have used for years until I decided to brave it with Aldi’s version (which is half the price). Now I’m not saying I’ve inspected my many split ends under a telescope or take the chemical/nutritional composition of a hair strand (just makes phrases up at this point), but it looks and feels the same to me!

Shaving Gel – for the ladies… buy the man’s sensitive skin edition and you’ll be just fine.

Razor Blades – currently trialling. I’ll update you but so far so good.

Ladies items – Tampons – no. Stick with the brands we know and love. Sanitary towels – still testing but at 55p a pack, I’m willing to try and commit.

Toilet Rolls – I was always an Andrex snob and thought £4.99 was perfectly reasonable until I tried the £2 own brand version and I haven’t looked back (no, it’s not grease proof paper – does that stuff even still exist *shudders*).

My advise would be try for one week only. Again, you have nothing to lose and you could save yourself an absolute fortune. Even if I had all the money in the world (donations welcome), I’m not sure I could go back.

 

 

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