When you first start out with healthy eating, it can be quite daunting. It is also one of the most difficult things to start and commit to because it is a complete lifecycle change.

Before I start, one thing to note is that without committing to a healthy diet, you are unlikely to feel the full benefits of the physical activity you are doing.

However, getting started with eating healthy is much easier than you think and you can even do it on a budget! I often hear people say to me that they find it hard to eat healthy because it’s too expensive, but by following these tips you’ll find it a breeze.

Plan your meals

This is the fundamental basis of eating healthy and I can’t stress how important it is. Without planning out your meals to start with you won’t know what you need to get, how much you need to get and whether or not it’s even good for you.

You don’t have to go down into the details when you plan out your meals, just a general list of things you are going to eat that week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just ensure that they are generally healthy recipes. I follow this most weeks:

Breakfast – Porridge every day, poached egg & bacon muffin on a Sunday.
Lunch – Healthy dinner from the night before.
Dinner – I will alternate between 7 different meals.
Snacks – Alternate between rice crackers, bagels, boiled eggs and carrot sticks.

Cook at home

It is surprisingly easy to cook at home every day. Before the start of the year, I would eat out most lunchtimes and often for dinner. This would be expensive and very unhealthy. Setting aside an hour each evening to cook food has made life a lot easier. If I don’t have the time in the evening then I’ll get up an hour early to cook or do a couple of days in a row.

Leftovers

As I mentioned in the meal planning section, I cook for the evening and then I’ll take the same thing into work for lunch the next day. This has made life incredibly easy and it just means I cook double the amount for dinner and put it in a tupperware in the fridge overnight. If you like having a fresh lunch, leftovers are also great for combining into another meal or making a stirfry or even a roasted bubble and squeak. Don’t ever throw food away, it’s not good for the environment – get a dog if you find you do this often…

Make a list, follow it

Have you ever been wandering around the supermarket and picked up loads of unhealthy things because you ‘fancy it’ or because it’s on offer? Yup, me too. Every time I went to the supermarket before I had my meal plan, I’d buy all sorts of stuff that I’d never use and was also really unhealthy.

When you are writing out the meals you want to eat throughout the week, make a list of ingredients you need for each. You’ll then have a full shopping list which you can stick to and only get what you need. Be liberal with quantities.

Another alternative I’ve found is ordering your food online. Whether it’s your supermarket, Ocado or Amazon Prime Now you’ll find you only buy what you need when you do an online order from your list.

Don’t shop while hungry

Going to the supermarket when you’re hungry is a disaster waiting to happen and can often mean you go way over budget. I think we’ve all done this and ended up buying a plethora of food that we don’t really need. This will help when you have your list of items, but definitely make sure you’ve had something to eat before you head out.

Don’t buy junk food

One of the biggest money wasters is junk food. Although whole foods seem more expensive on face value, you can do a lot more with them so they end up being cheaper. When you’re getting food, make sure you don’t pick up that pack of sausage rolls, pepperamis or sweets. Not only are they extremely unhealthy and will often undo all of your good work in the gym, but they’ll also end up costing you more in the long term as they won’t satisfy your hunger as much as a good meal.

Eat whole foods

Closely related to my previous point about junk food, make sure you’re buying mainly whole foods. I am referring to loads of veggies, potatoes and unprocessed meat. They are easier to cook and have far more nutritional value. When you’re planning out your meals, make sure you’re only including whole foods. You will also find this is much, much cheaper over time.

Eggs

I love eggs. There is so much you can do with them; scrambled, poached, fried (bad), omelettes, boiled – the possibilities are endless. They are also cheap, which is why I recommend them. Eggs make up a good part of my diet because they are so versatile, they are whole foods and they are good for you.

Buy in bulk

Getting my food in bulk has been a game changer for me, even if it is just from the supermarket. Getting larger quantities of items such as pasta, rice & canned goods from Amazon Pantry or Costco can end up saving you a lot of money. You can get 1-2kg bags of rice from Tesco as well, if you don’t fancy going to a wholesaler.

I’d also recommend using something like MuscleFood to get your meat every few weeks. I’ve used them regularly to get great value hampers of meat, which I then freeze up and cook when needed.

So there it is, a few easy ways you can eat healthily on a budget. If you have any questions or any tips and tricks that have helped you, please let us know.

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