The average weekly food shop for a family of 4 in the UK is just over £100, but almost all of us are guilty of spending more than we should at times!
Although it may seem like a daunting task, eating well for less is much easier than you might think.
We’ve put together a few of our top tips and tricks to help you eat well for less and save money on your food shopping.
Forget the brands
There are huge savings to be made on your favourite branded products, as going for a brand name adds unnecessary pounds onto your weekly bill.
All of the major supermarkets have their own ranges of products and there’s actually very little difference between these and the branded versions – apart from the price, of course!
If swapping away from branded items feels like a massive task, then start by picking a couple of different products to substitute for non-branded versions each week.
Not a fan of the first option you try? Don’t give up, as your perfect, non-branded alternative is out there – we promise!
Make the most of your freezer
Reducing your food waste is an essential part of saving money on your food shopping and the freezer is your friend in more ways than one.
We’ve got a whole article dedicated to helping you reduce your food waste here, but a tip we particularly love is that if your recipe made more than you bargained for, just portion out the leftovers and pop them in the freezer.
You can then defrost them at a later date for a super quick dinner or an easy lunch.
Loads of our recipes are perfect for freezing, including our Bacon, Onion and Potato Bake!
If you’re a fish fan, then consider buying frozen fish instead of fresh.
As it’s frozen as soon as possible after it has been caught, frozen fish is a fantastic way to save money without having to compromise on flavour or quality.
The same is true for frozen fruit and veg, as it’s often cheaper than fresh, and retains all of the nutrients that were present when it was picked – it’s also really convenient to have on hand in the freezer for bulking out your favourite meals!
Pay attention to the unit price
Supermarkets are full of attractive special offers that seem like a fantastic way to eat well for less, but beware!
A lot of these offers are on branded products and, although they may look like a great deal, the reality is often very different.
To make sure that you really are getting the most out of your money, look a little closer at the price labels on the shelves.
These labels don’t just indicate the item price, there’s also another number on there called the unit price.
This breaks down the item price into the cost per unit which makes it much easier to see if you’re actually getting a good deal or not.
Take a block of cheese for example.
A supermarket’s own brand cheese sells for £2, but a branded version is on offer for £2.50, which sounds like an amazing deal – just 50p extra for a cheese that looks really posh!
The reality is very different though, as the supermarket cheese has a unit price of £5 per kg, while the branded cheese is a massive £7.14 per kg; therefore the non-branded product is much cheaper and better value.
It is worth noting that this unit pricing can sometimes work the other way as well!
Sometimes a great deal really is a great deal and the branded products can work out cheaper than non-branded ones – the unit pricing holds all the info you need!
Buy in bulk
On that note, you can sometimes find products that are cheaper if they’re bought in bulk.
Now, unless you’re able to properly store and freeze everything before it’s use by date, this obviously doesn’t apply to perishable food, but it’s a fantastic way to keep on top of your cupboard staples.
A cupboard that’s fully stocked with canned essentials means that it’s really easy to throw together a quick and tasty meal that doesn’t cost the earth.
Chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, beans, fish… There’s almost no limit to the amount of food that’s available in cans and, because they have long shelf lives, you can save money on your food shopping without worrying about anything going out of date.
One recipe that we love to use our canned staples for is this Corned Beef Hash.
It takes only 4 ingredients to make and is one of the cheapest recipes we’ve ever created – so far, anyway! Not only is it a really filling dinner, it’s also delicious when reheated for lunch the next day.
Meal prepping is key to eating well for less.
There’s nothing worse for your wallet than wandering around the supermarket, unsure what you fancy for dinner and picking up anything that catches your eye.
Take a couple of hours each weekend to sit down and plan out your meals for the coming week, and then go through your fridge, freezer and cupboards to work out exactly which ingredients you need to buy and what you already have.
This is also a great way to keep track of any food that’s approaching its use by date so that you can be sure that you’re working it into your weekly meals and not throwing your money away!
(Psst! We’ve got a great new planner coming out soon that can help you to get started with meal prepping! You can pre-order it now and it will also feature some exclusive recipes that you can’t find anywhere else!)
Use cheaper cuts or try veggie
Certain cuts of meat are more expensive than others, so instead of going for chicken breast, why not give chicken thighs a go?
Not only are thighs cheaper than breast, but they’re packed full of flavour as well!
Chuck or round beef (also sold as stewing beef) are also good examples of cheap cuts that taste amazing.
These are tough cuts that are perfect for slow cooking in stews as this allows them to become really tender and full of flavour.
Our Beef Ragu Fettuccine uses beef in this way and it’s absolutely delish!
To make your meat go further, you can also bulk your meal out with cheaper proteins like lentils or chickpeas.
This will help to make your recipe more filling while saving you money on your food shopping in terms of the amount of meat you’re having to purchase.
If you can, then consider dedicating a couple of meals a week to vegetarian dishes.
We’ve also got the delicious, savoury Sneaky Mac ‘n’ Cheese, bulked out with veggies!
For support and motivation to help you eat well for less, our Facebook Group is the place to be!
Our group members are a fantastic community and they’re full of great advice to help you stay on track with your slimming journey – and save money while you’re at it!