Food & nutrition

9 money-saving secrets for your food shop

Watching the pennies when you’re eating healthily is easier than you might think. Keep to your financial AND SmartPoints Budget with these simple tips.

From social distancing to wearing masks when we're out and about, the wide-ranging effects of COVID-19 have impacted us all. And with millions of Brits currently furloughed or out of work, the crisis has affected some of us more than others.

To stay on budget (financially and in terms of SmartPoints®) it's more important than ever to plan ahead when it comes to mealtimes.

Your regular trip to the supermarket is also a good place to start. Here’s how to enjoy a healthy lifestyle without going over-budget:

1. Don't always choose fresh

Frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables are nutritious, cheaper, and last longer than fresh. We'd recommend shopping wisely, though: avoid fruit in syrup, and choose vegetables which are cooked in fresh springwater. Similarly, tuna in brine is fine, but it's even better in water. 

2. Know your meat

You don't have to buy expensive cuts of meat, especially if you've got the slow cooker out for winter. Slow cooking means you can use cheaper cuts of meat, which adds up to big savings over time! For example, you can make a casserole with braising steak (cutting the fat off before cooking) – it tastes just as delicious as pricier cuts. If you're not sure, ask the supermarket butcher for advice.

3. Try to avoid convenience buys

Those nicely packaged pieces of chicken might be easier (and less messy) to cook, but you can buy a whole chicken, cook it and cut the meat off the bone, then make a broth with the carcass – and it will go much further than a packet of chicken breasts. 

4. Take another look at value brands

You can make good savings by choosing less expensive brands. The key, however, is to always read the label. Cheaper brands sometimes have higher quantities of salt (but not always). 

5. Look past perfection

Consider misshapen fruit and veg – okay, they might not look as pretty, but they will taste identical and might be cheaper, too. 

6. Make your own snacks

Shop-bought snacks are expensive, especially if everyone in the family is having one or two a day. Limit how many you buy, and make your own instead. Try these 12 healthy snacks if you're working from home.

7. Bake your own treats

It's so easy to make your own healthier bakes at home instead of buying them at the supermarket. Use the WW app for inspiration, get the kids involved and start experimenting! You could kick off with these fantastically fruity bakes, for instance.

8. Do a little maths

Supermarkets display the unit price alongside the product price. Compare these on similar goods, as often what seems cheaper isn't actually. 

9. Eat together

Preparing separate meals for different people in your household can be more costly, and it may not help your kids develop good eating habits, either. Research shows that children mimic their parents, especially at mealtimes, so you're setting them a great example by preparing a healthy meal to share such as a veggie-packed pasta bake. If you eat as a family, you can also batch cook your meals, which will help keep costs down.