How to Eat Well on a Budget

By Sarah Noone Coronavirus News   |   3rd Apr 2020

Our expert dietitian Sarah Noone on how to make the most of your food budget.

Due to the impact of the coronavirus, a lot of people are facing financial difficulties. Here are my top tips to making your money stretch that little bit further when doing the weekly food shop.

Plan a weekly menu and write a shopping list.

Sticking to a list ensures that you have everything you need and helps you to avoid temptation and waste money on things you don’t need.

Waste nothing

Eat leftovers for lunch or freeze straight away. You can keep leftovers in the fridge for up to three days (reheat thoroughly before eating). Additionally, you can avoid food wastage by reorganising your fridge/cupboards and placing the items that need to be used first at the front.

Top Tip: Make soups, curries, casseroles, chilli or stewed fruit to use up aging fruit and vegetables

Batch cook. This will not only save time but also avoid spending money on takeaways and ready meals on those days where you can’t face the kitchen.

Shop the seasons 

Look out for seasonal fruit and vegetables. Seasonal produce tends to be widely available and cost less. They taste better too.

Top Tip: Check out stopfoodwaste.ie for their seasonal calendar to see what’s in season each month.

Buy frozen fruit and veg.

These are just as healthy as fresh fruit and veg and avoid waste.

Top Tip : If opting for tins choose fruit in its own juice not syrup and vegetables with no added salt.

Buy supermarket own brands

There are many own brand products that are just as good in terms of both taste and nutritional value when compared to more expensive branded options. When comparing products, I always go straight to the ingredients list, as this tells you exactly what you are eating.

Top Tip: Remember items like fresh/ frozen fruit and veg, pasta, rice, oats will always be the same whether you go for the luxury or basic brand.

Be supermarket savy

Don’t go shopping when hungry and beware of multi-buys. While it may be tempting to snap up a bargain by opting for multi-buys or buy one get one free offers they are only a good deal if you are actually going to use the food before it goes off.

Top tip: Being aware of product placement strategies can save you money e.g. less expensive items tend to be on higher or lower shelves, while luxury brands are placed at eye level.

Cook with pulses

Meat is one of the most expensive food items in your shopping basket. Adding or swapping meat for pulses (beans, lentils and peas) as your protein source along with vegetables, not only provides you with lots of fibre, vitamins, minerals and protein, but it will also make your food go further and save you money.

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budget coronavirus Covid-19 dietitian healthy eating nutrition

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