Diabetes and Healthy Eating on a Budget

Healthy eating on a budget is possible
Healthy eating on a budget is possible

It's a sad fact that much of the cheapest food in supermarkets can often be the worst for our health. When it comes to food shopping, it's probably fair to say that as a general rule of thumb, you get what you pay for but we provide some hints to help buck this trend a little.

Avoid the very cheapest food

Whilst this may come across as very strange advice for a page of this name, a good start is to avoid some of the cheaper foods on offer such as white bread, ready meals, pizzas and cheap puddings. It's also worthwhile to note that Diabetes UK advise against Diabetic Food labelling.

Often, the cheaper these options, the least healthy they are. Cheap ready meals, pizzas, puddings and even bread are very often over processed and contain poor nutrition such as added sugars, added fats and added salt to make them palatable.

Don’t go shopping on a hungry stomach

When you’re hungry you’ll be more likely to shop impulsively which could add extra pounds to your shopping bill. It can also mean making less than healthy food choices.

Know what you need - don’t overspend on food you may not eat

One of the best ways to waste money is to waste food. If you find yourself having to throw away fresh fruit and vegetables at the end of the week, either consider buying less of it at your next shopping trip or, perhaps the better option, engineer some extra time to cook and make full use of these foods.

Multi-buys can sometimes be a good option but not always. Consider whether you will realistically be able to use enough of the food to justify it going into your basket or trolley.

Visit the greengrocer, butcher and market seller

A little research may be needed first but the greengrocer, butcher and market can be a great source of potential savings. What's more, the food is likelier to be fresher than at the supermarket.

Give it a try – note down how much half a set weight of food, such as 500g of beef mince or a medium sized cauliflower, is at your supermarket and compare with how much it costs at the market, greengrocer or butcher.

The price of vegetables tends to be higher compared with energy dense foods such as bread but don't let that put you off. By investing extra in fresh vegetables, you'll be investing in better health now and in the future.

Buy in bulk and store or freeze it as appropriate

If you spot an attractive saving, it can make sense to buy in bulk and freeze or store it for use later. Make sure you have enough storage space though in your freezer or larder to do this. Meat can be one of the most expensive items on your shopping list so if your freezer can cope, stock up if any multi-buy or special offer savings appear.

If you get through a lot of certain products, particularly if they're specialist products, such as almond flour or 85% cocoa chocolate, you may want to see if you can buy in bulk cheaper online. Just make sure you've factored in any delivery costs.

Consider buying own brand

Sometimes a little bit of in store research can help to keep costs down as well as providing healthier choices. Check the nutrition and ingredients to see which foods may be best for your diet and don’t let the maker’s name influence you too much.

Avoiding foods with added sugars and a high level of salt will help to rule out foods bad for your health. If the ingredients list reads more like something from a chemistry lesson, leave it on the shelf. In this regard, sometimes you may find that own brand products are just as nutritional, and sometimes more so, than branded products.

Look beyond eye level goods

If you owned a supermarket and wanted to maximise profit, it would make a lot of sense to place the most profitable items in the most noticeable and easy to reach places. It shouldn’t be a surprise then to learn that this is what supermarkets actually do. A check of the harder to reach and see shelves could mean savings you wouldn’t usually notice.

Check the bargain shelf

The bargain shelves can be a good way to knock a bit of money off your bill. However, there are a few things to bear in mind when going for this option.

If the food is close to its use by date, be sure you will eat or drink enough of the product to justify the saving. Beware also of being tempted into buying bad produce.

6 white rolls for 15p may sound like a great deal but refined carbohydrates are not a healthy choice for those of us with diabetes.

Cut down on alcohol

Thanks partly to the extra duty we all pay on alcohol, beer, wine and spirits can lead to the biggest holes in our wallet. Not only is cutting down a little on alcohol healthier for our liver, it’s a healthy choice for our outgoings.

Make use of your leftovers

They may not look so appetising after you’ve finished your meal but leftovers are attractive to your wallet. Unless we’re talking about leftover pizza, stick some cling film or baking paper over your leftovers and find a way to reuse them the following day.

Your Comments
 
I try to get sliced meat like pork and beef. For my meals and if I have a joint, I use an electric food slicer and get moor from my joint, I put it into bags and freeze it for my next meal, if veg is on offers I cut it up and freeze it for what ever I need it for - like casseroles and stews, I also have some friends who get me rabbits and the like, that is free of charge, and good to eat, and cook only what you will eat - no more, and save money :)
Posted by justdavid, England on Tuesday, September 06, 2011
We use leftovers, it is the way we were brought up. Waste was a swear to to my parents and it has stayed with me.
Posted by Ray Sherman, Cam, Gloucestershire on Tuesday, September 06, 2011
I agree entirely with Suzy58's comments about wasting left-over food. I do all that she does with left-overs and never, if I can help it, peel vegetables. It obviously makes everything go further as well! And the stalk of a cauliflower or brocolli is very tasteful if it is cubed or sliced especially as this is usually a very large part of what you are paying for. I always go to where the cheap items are for sale, although you do have to be careful not to pick up things that you wouldn't normally eat just because they ARE cheap! Another thing we do in the kitchen is only fill the kettle up with as much water as the amount of drinks you are making needs. Therefore saving a little (or a lot) on electricity bills.
Posted by lizzy65, somerset on Tuesday, September 06, 2011
I agree I do not understand people who throw food away. I make big lots of bolog sauce and freeze in portions (useful for making lasagne), curries, chinese meals. I buy chicken breasts (no waste) from Tesco, either 4 packs for £12 or sometimes they have £6 packs bogof then cook like crazy. I do the same with veg, blanche and freeze. It is the only way you can afford to eat these days, buy on offer and utilise
Posted by Shirley Jackson, Liverpool on Tuesday, September 06, 2011
We use leftovers all the time. Especially leftover vegs, meat and potatoes. At the end of the shopping week we always take all the veg that is left in the fridge and make up a big pot of soup with it. We always use the broccolli stalks that a lot of people throw away too. I never peel carrots unless they look tatty or the skin is not firm as you save all that waste because once it's cooked you cannot taste the fact the skin is still on. We do the same with potatoes unless we are going to mash them. If we have had a joint of meat and have some left over, when it's cold we slice it up and pack it into portion sizes and freeze it. Then when we want a midweek roast we just defrost and add to gravy and reheat. Or we chop it into chunks ready to use in curries, sweet and sours, casseroles etc. I cringe when I hear about people who have a joint of meat and only eat one meal out of it and then throw it away. Sacrilege. Save the leftovers and save the pennies.
Posted by Suzy58, UK on Tuesday, January 11, 2011
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