Budget food shopping

If you have less money to spend on food, it can seem harder to shop for a healthy and balanced diet.

Healthy start

If you’re pregnant or have children under the age of four, you may qualify for Healthy Start vouchers.

These can be spent on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables and infant formula.

You may be tempted to pick up everything that’s on special offer, but there are other ways to save money. Here are 10 ways to reduce your grocery bill and eat healthily.

1. Avoid buying on impulse

Plan your meals a few days ahead, make a list before you go shopping and stick to it. That way you don't buy too much.

2. Shop around

Look up and down the shelves to find cheaper products when you go to the supermarket. Shelves at eye level usually contain the more expensive items.

3. Go for value

Swap branded products for the supermarket’s own brand.

4. Buy in season

Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season. On the whole, fruit and vegetables that are grown in the UK are cheaper than imported produce.

5. Go for long-life options

Buy frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables as well. They cost less than the fresh. All types of fruit and vegetables, whether fresh, chilled, frozen, canned, bottled or dried, count towards the recommended five daily portions. Read more tips on getting your 5 A DAY on a budget

6. Check for durable bargains

Look out for two-for-one offers on foods that keep, such as pasta, rice, cereals (choose wholegrain options as they contain more fibre) and tins of pulses or tomatoes.

7. Check the shelf-life

Check sell by dates. Supermarkets reduce prices on products that are close to their sell by date. This can be a great way of picking up bargains, but before you fill your trolley, be sure that you’ll eat or cook everything you buy before it goes off. Find out more about sell by and use by dates.

8. Compare food prices online

If you shop online, use a supermarket comparison website to see which supermarkets offer the best prices for the products you want to buy.

9. Make your own meals

Cut down on ready meals, especially if you're feeding two or more people. Ready meals are often high in salt, sugar or fat. Making your own meals is not only healthier, but works out much cheaper. See our healthy recipes section for some ideas.

10. Change how you buy meat

Buy cheaper cuts of meat, such as shoulder of lamb instead of leg of lamb, or chicken thighs and drumsticks instead of breasts.

Eating well on a budget

In this video, dietitian Azmina Govindji gives advice on how to eat healthily on a budget.

Media last reviewed: 14/05/2013

Next review due: 14/05/2015

Page last reviewed: 23/05/2013

Next review due: 23/05/2015

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