You can eat healthy, unprocessed foods even if you are on a budget, by buying simple, wholesome ingredients, readily available in all UK supermarkets.
Often a big criticism of eating healthily and eating real and wholefoods is that it’s “too expensive”. So we wanted to see if you can feed a family of 4 for a week, buying unprocessed foods from the UK supermarkets, for £50 or less.
We visited Sainsbury’s and LIDL, and bought similar items from both. We bought meat and fish, full-fat dairy, eggs, oats and rice and 20 different types of fruit and vegetables (ASDA also sell a wonky veg box for £3.50 in some of their stores which is another way to get cheap fruit and veg as the vegetables are just the ones that aren’t perfectly shaped etc.)
So – Can You Feed a Family of 4 on Natural Unprocessed Foods for £50 or Less?
Yes (just about)! Our shop from Sainsbury’s came in at £50.07 and our shop from LIDL came in at £36.01.
Here are my 5 top tips for eating Healthy on a Budget
- Buy seasonal fruit and vegetables. In season, vegetables and fruit are always cheaper. Insert image of seasonal fruit and veg made in canva. Apples and bananas are always cheap and readily available so these are good options for your weekly shop.
- Buy frozen berries and other frozen veg. Frozen berries are a lot cheaper than fresh berries and are great for smoothies. You can get big bags of frozen broccoli and cauliflower that will do several meals and are cheaper than fresh. The vegetables are frozen when in season and soon after being picked so retain good amounts of nutrients.
- Buy frozen or tinned fish instead of fresh.
- Buy organ meats. Organ meats are highly nutritious yet very cheap. We would always recommend buying organic and free-range organ meat.
- Buy cheaper cuts of meat, they tend to be more nutritious and if you cook them slowly will make delicious stews. Buying cheaper cuts of meat means you may also be able to afford grass-fed/free-range or organic meat. See below for the cheapest cuts of meat for cheap meals.
A Note on Buying Organic Produce and Grass-Fed Meat
For the shops we did in Lidl and Sainsbury’s we didn’t buy organic produce, as we wanted to try and stick to a low budget and show that it is possible to eat unprocessed whole foods even if you don’t have a huge food budget. The average weekly spend on food in the UK is £83.60 and we managed to shop in Sainsbury’s for £50.07 and LIDL for £36.02.
If you can afford it, we would always recommend buying organic produce. If you can’t justify the extra cost you should make sure you thoroughly wash and dry all your fruit and veg when you get it home from the shops to remove as much pesticide residue as possible, and peel all veg such as potatoes and carrots.
You may find that buying an organic veg box from somewhere like Abel and Cole is cheaper than buying organic from the supermarket.
We also recommend that you buy grass-fed meat if you can afford it. Go for cheaper cuts (see below). You don’t need to eat a lot of meat to get the nutritional & health benefits, and you should aim to fill at least half (but ideally three quarters) of your plates at mealtimes with vegetables.
The Cheapest Cuts of Meat to Eat Healthy on a Budget
All prices as of 20/04/16 from www.ocado.com
Waitrose/Ocado sell organic chicken livers for £6.73 per kg. Organ meats such as liver are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, and are reasonably priced too.
Pork belly is one of the cheapest cuts of pork and is really delicious. Try to buy organic or at least free-range pork – Waitrose/Ocado sell free-range pork belly joints for £7.99 per kg. Pork tenderloin is also reasonably priced.
Beef for Stews and Casseroles
Shin of beef is a cheap and tasty cut for making beef stews and casseroles. Eversfield organic & grass-fed (Pasture for Life certified) shin of beef is currently £11.95 per kg whereas beef marked more generally as ‘stewing beef’ or ‘braising beef’ is more expensive at £13.60 per kg. Beef cheeks and oxtail are also cheap cuts that work well with long, slow cooking.
One of the cheapest cuts of steak is flank steak. It can be tough if you overcook it, but serve it rare and it’s delicious and flavourful.
The higher the fat percentage in the meat the cheaper it is. Eversfield Organic sell pork, beef and lamb mince. Pork is the cheapest at £12.10 per kg. Their grass-fed beef mince is £13.73 per kg and their grass-fed lamb mince is £14.23 per kg.
Bone marrow is extremely nutrient dense and Waitrose/Ocado sell 170g for 99p. Add to stews to make them richer or add to burgers for a delicious extra meaty flavour.
Chicken Wings are one of the cheapest ways you can buy chicken – for example Eversfield Organic Chicken Wings are currently £4.97 per kg whereas their organic chicken legs are £8.77 per kg and breasts are £20.78 per kg.
Lamb does tend to be one of the more expensive meats, but shoulder, breast and chump are the cheaper cuts to go for.
A whole turkey is expensive (especially at Christmas) but during the rest of the year you can pick up turkey mince and escalopes relatively cheaply. Turkey mince is great for meatballs & burgers.
Meat in order from cheapest to most expensive
Under £5 per kg
Chicken Livers £2.50 per kg (not recommended, we recommend only organic/free-range livers)
Chicken Wings £2.95 per kg
Chicken Legs £3.00 per kg
Chicken Drumsticks & Thighs £3.00 per kg
20% fat Beef Mince £4.00 per kg
Organic Chicken Wings £4.97 per kg
Under £10 per kg
Pork Tenderloin Fillet £5.62 per kg
Pork Belly Joint £5.99 per kg
Pork Loin Steaks £6.67 per kg
Organic Chicken Livers £6.73 per kg
Organic Chicken Drumsticks & Thighs £8.35 per kg
Organic Chicken Legs £8.77 per kg
Under £20 per kg
Organic Beef Mince £10.99 per kg
British Leg of Lamb £11.00 per kg
Organic & Grass Fed Shin of Beef (stewing beef) £11.95 per kg
Free-Range Pork Tenderloin Fillet £12.99 per kg
Organic & Grass Fed Beef Mince £13.73 per kg
Organic Pork Tenderloin Fillet £14.99 per kg
More than £20 per kg
Organic Chicken Breasts £20.78 per kg
Here are some quick, easy, healthy and cheap meal ideas which are family friendly
- Porridge made with water or oat milk (dairy-free) or whole milk
- Overnight oats
- Fried potatoes with eggs – fried, poached, scrambled or boiled
- Banana pancakes with extra fruit
- Full-fat yogurt with fruit (bananas, apples and pears are usually cheapest.)
- Carrot sticks with snack pots of hummus, chopped up cubes of cheddar cheese, a piece of fruit (bananas, apples and pears are usually cheapest), raisins, nuts, coconut flakes, oatcakes
- Homemade soup with homemade sourdough bread. You can pick wild greens for free (nettles, dandelion etc) and make a nutritous wild green soup very easily.
- Frittata / Spanish omelette made with eggs, potatoes and onions. If you want to add highly nutritious greens for free go out and pick some stinging nettles (wear rubber gloves!) or dandelion leaves and add these to your frittata.
- Bolognese served with cabbage
- Shepherd’s pie with peas
- Sausage and mash or one-pan sausages and peppers
- Vegetable chilli or vegetable curry with rice
- Fishcakes with broccoli and peas
- Roast chicken & then turn the leftovers into a nutritious chicken soup or chicken pie
- Tuna salad made with tinned tuna and served with homegrown pea shoots, cress, cucumber, grated carrot, tomatoes, tinned sweetcorn
Hello, I’m Chloe. I’m a nutrition and health coach and I’m on a mission to inspire & support women so they can go from feeling fatigued to feeling fabulous!
I help women who are FED up of being overweight, addicted to sugar and feeling tired ALL THE TIME to lose weight and optimise their health by fixing hormonal, digestive, autoimmune and energy issues.
My step-by-step programme, Revitalise, will help you lose weight, get back your energy, restore vitality and create lifelong health using the power of beautiful & delicious REAL FOOD.
I’m here to make it easy for you to eat healthy, delicious food without counting calories or feeling deprived. You’ll reset your relationship with food, shift your mindset and build new habits for a complete health transformation!
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