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Healthy eating health centre

Healthy eating on a budget

Save money, spend wisely and still eat healthily
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

When money's tight it's tempting to buy bargain ready-meals and high calorie tummy fillers but you can still eat healthily without busting your budget.

If you know what to choose and what to do with it, it's easy to stay healthy when times are tough.

"Eating healthily does not have to be expensive; cheap, nutritious food options can be found in supermarkets," says Angela Tella spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association.

"For instance, own-brand or value pasta and rice provide energy in the form of complex carbohydrates, while pulses like kidney beans and baked beans are excellent sources of protein and fibre, and are cheaper than meat."

She goes on to say: "Frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables are not only convenient; they are cheaper than fresh and also a good source of vitamins and minerals."

Prices may vary based on the store, location and time of year. We've used the best prices of own brand items in the main supermarkets. You can keep costs low by putting these items on your healthy foods shopping list:

1. Brown rice

Great for: Mixing with tuna and frozen sweet corn. Add onion, mushroom and curry spices for a biriyani style dish. Serve with stews and add cooked rice to ‘bulk out’ soups.

What's a serving? 50-100g

Price per serving: 1kg bag costs £1.75 so a 100g serving is 17.5 pence.

Nutrition info per serving: 116 calories for a 100g serving, 58 calories for a 50g serving.

2. Whole wheat or multigrain pasta

Great for: Serve hot with a meat or vegetable sauce – wholemeal spaghetti cooks almost as fast as white pasta and is a good source of fibre. Make a pasta salad with cooked pasta shells, with diced cucumber, tomato and cheese cubes. Add in broken spaghetti pieces to make a vegetable soup into more filling minestrone.

What's a serving? 50-100g

Price: 500g for 59p so 11.8p for a 100g serving.

Nutrition info per serving: 321 calories for a 100g serving, 161 calories for a 50g serving

3. Wholemeal bread

Great for: Hot and cold sandwiches, and makes tastier toast!

What's a serving? 2 slices. Labels usually list a serving as 1 slice of bread, but for our purposes, we'll use the amount you'd use to make a sandwich.

Price per serving: You can buy a budget 400g loaf for 60p so 2 slices work out at about 50g that's 7.5p.

Nutrition info per serving (2 slices): About 116 calories

4. Oats

Great for: Porridge, granola, crumble topping, healthy biscuits or muffins. Oat fibre helps to manage cholesterol levels and stabilise blood sugar levels

What's a serving? Approx 40g of dry oats.

Price per serving: A 1kg bag costs 75p so a serving of 40g costs just 3p.

Nutrition info per serving: 150 calories per serving

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