When money is tight and you have hungry mouths to feed, buying healthy food can seem just too expensive.

That’s one of those ‘received wisdom's’ that you believe, without ever actually testing the facts.

But in this blog, we’ll look at swaps you can make in your family’s eating habits that will save you money. And give them the nutrients they need.

Here are 9 healthy foods that are cheaper than the alternative:

1. Wonky Fruit & Veg boxes

A few years ago, the EU had a rule that said all fruit and veg had to be a certain shape and size. But that rule is no more. Companies such as Asda have started bucking the trend by selling boxes of wonky fruit and veg at much lower prices. In fact, Asda’s wonky fruit and veg boxes sell at around 30% off the RRP prices for the selected lines.

And it all tastes the same. So as long as you don’t mind eating a straight banana, a square apple or an hour glass pear, this could be a great way of saving money.

2. Go Vegetarian

Now, we know this may not be a popular one as a lot of people love their meat. But hear us out because this could be one of the biggest money savers. When we say ‘Go Vegetarian’, we’re not talking about direct meat replacements like Quorn. Despite what Mo Farrah says, the nutritional value and cost of Quorn isn't all that dissimilar to the meat original. No, for this point, we’re talking about swapping meat for legumes. Legumes, for those that don’t know, are small (and usually sticky) seeds, plants or beans. Examples of legumes include kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils. They’re a great source of protein and have a similar calorie count to meat. They're also packed full of important vitamins and minerals.

But the price difference is the biggest thing here. As of today (14/06/17), Tesco are selling a 450G packet of diced chicken breast for £3.50 and a 400G packet of diced beef for £3.50. Now compare that to a 400G tin of Black Eyed Beans for 50p or a 400G tin of Chick peas for 39p.

3. Try Cracker Bread

Not a direct replacement for a loaf of bread, because cracker bread would be rubbish at forming a sandwich. But if you’re fond of something cold (like Philadelphia or tomatoes) on toast, cracker bread could be for you. Before we get into the numbers, we’ve got a slight confession to make: per size and weight, bread is cheaper than cracker bread. So we’re sorry if that was misleading. But, in our defence, cracker bread is cheaper per slice. So three slices of Philadelphia on cracker bread would be a lot cheaper than three slices of Philadelphia on toast. But actually, even if cost was the same, the nutritional difference between the two is staggering. A single slice of Warburton’s white bread (medium) is around 95 calories. A slice of cracker bread is 19 calories.

4. Chop your own potatoes into chips

For this one, we going to discount the cost of the seasoning you’d use to flavour the chips. That's because they are ‘once in a while’ purchases where the cost is minuscule if spread over the products lifetime.

A 2.5kg bag of Morrison’s own white potatoes costs £1.42. Whereas two 1.2kg bags of Morrison’s straight cut chips would set you back £2.40. So a lot more expensive. The health benefits come in the fact you have complete control over how you prepare and cook them.

5. Don’t believe the bad press about frozen veg

Another received wisdom is that frozen veg is not as good for you as fresh.

It is.

In fact, if the veg is frozen at the point of harvest, then it is most likely better for you than fresh veg. The freezing process helps to seal in all the nutrients.

From a cost point of view, there isn’t too much between buying fresh and buying frozen. But, if you added the cost of all the veg that gets wasted because it hasn’t been eaten on time, the difference really starts to show.

6. Go big on watermelon

This is especially good advice over the hot summer months.

When you walk through the streets of a hot foreign city, you will most likely see portable catering vans selling watermelon. That's because not only does watermelon have great nutritional value as a fruit but it's also one of the most effective thirst quenchers you can buy. Asda sells Watermelons for £3

7. Fish for Sardines, instead.

Most food experts will tell you to eat a lot of fish to benefit from the oils and omega 3 that they possess. The problem is, fish as a rule is expensive. That’s especially true if you’re a fan of less common fish, or ones that come from less sustainable sources. The answer for you may just be the common Sardine. Available at a fraction of the price of Cod, Haddock and Salmon, Sardines are a great source of vitamins, minerals and protein. In fact, the Metro reports that Sardines have similar amounts of Omega 3 to Salmon, but three times as much Vitamin B12.

8. Try chickpeas for energy

For a long time, ‘carb-loading’ has been the popular way to build energy ahead of a big day. This usually involves bulk eating calorie high foods such as bread, potatoes or pasta. A can of chick peas can cost as little as 39p and give your kids the energy boost they need for a busy day at school or playing sport. The best part? 120 grams of chickpeas only contains around 150 calories.

10. Cut the fizzy drinks

Our last alternative is an obvious one, but we wanted to show you the maths behind the swap.

Cut the fizzy drinks and drink water instead. Experts think you should drink about 8 pints of water per day. From a savings point of view, water from the tap (according to Yorkshire Water) costs about £1.29 per cubic metre. Or to put that in to context, £1.29 (which is about the amount you’d pay for a medium bottle of brand name fizzy drink) will buy you around 1759 pints of water.

Those are just 9 of our suggestions, but we’d love to hear your best money-saving healthy options. Comment below or let us know via our Facebook or Twitter page.


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