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Where to find staple foods for less


 - Where to find staple foods for less
Buy your staples plain. Plain pasta, rice and potatoes are all healthier and cheaper than processed smash, packaged ravioli, microwaveable rice and so on. You'll save yourself heaps of added sugar, salt, preservatives and other additives to boot!

Buy what's in season. Forget cherries in December! Obviously fresh produce is going to be more expensive if it's travelled halfway across the world, so keep an eye on what's in. See www.eattheseasons.co.uk to find out what's in season, or get a list of seasonal fruit and veg from eatwell.gov.uk here.

Eat pulses: they're cheaper than chips and ten times healthier. Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, broad beans and the like are all packed with vitamins, fibre and essential nutrients.

Try the market. Show up at the end of trading, when the grocers are packing up to go home. They'll be trying to sell off their produce for less and you can even haggle, especially if you're buying in quantity. Take a friend, buy in bulk and split the goods between you.

Buy your staples loose. Many organic shops and grocers sell breakfast cereal, muesli, oats, rice, flour, couscous, quinoa and semolina by the kilo. You can end up with organic produce for much less because you save on packaging.

Take me to your dealer! Some farms sell their produce on site, so try cutting out the middle man and buying your eggs, cheese, fruit and veg for less there. It's better for the planet (less packaging and transport, more local and seasonal produce) and healthier (you get your food fresh and unprocessed).

Hit the high street. Your local grocer, butcher or fishmonger may not be as expensive as you think, so give them a go. You may be able to get fresher seasonal produce for less. Try buying different types of fish: there's more to a fish counter than salmon and cod in terms of price and nutritional value. Did you know that mackerel is one of the cheapest and most nutritional types of fish? Have a look at what's on offer and swap the pricey fish for something different.

Avoid overpriced reduced-fat, sugarfree and low-calorie products. Reduced-fat butter and cream, fat-free yoghurts, diet biscuits and the like all play on your healthy conscience to make you shell out more for them. Some aren't even any healthier. At the end of the day, ordinary natural yoghurt isn't exactly a fat-fest, so you're not saving that much. Instead of paying a premium for reduced-fat butter and cream, stick to the full-fat versions and use them more sparingly.

Shop online. You can avoid running the supermarket gauntlet of queues, gimmicks and temptation by buying what you need online and checking price comparison sites such as www.mysupermarket.co.uk, which compares everything from the price to the calorie content of the same product in different supermarkets.


Sarah Horrocks
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