I thought it was time to revive my Healthy on a Budget series again, but rather than just share a recipe, I thought that I would give you a snapshot into what I eat each week. By the time I have included a couple of extra runs to the supermarket to the weekly shop itself, I find that I spend up to £25 per week. This is a little more than some students, but less than the average, estimated at around £60 for two people. To make things easy for myself, I have a standby shopping list of all the fresh food and cupboard staples that I like to use, and each time a shop I have a look at the list to see what I fancy or what I’m short of. It makes things really easy and reduces the amount of times I need to pick up things that I have forgotten, so removing temptation to buy more stuff! I very rarely have dinners out or buy takeaways when I am at uni, so this is my only big cost each week.
I do most of my shopping at the supermarket. Morrisons is the closest and as I have to walk back with my bags, that’s where I go! When I have time, I like to shop the weekly veg market to support the local sellers, as we don’t have a traditional greengrocers. I go to my local health food shop for wholefood cupboard essentials and supplements, organic, local eggs and organic fruit and veg. They always have a box full of beautifully ripe fair-trade bananas, which is so useful!
I like to focus my shop on the fruit and veg section, with a big list of veggies that I rely upon each week to keep me going. Carrots and courgettes in particular are useful as both can be easily grated into most dishes to bulk them out and to add extra nutrients. I am trying to eat more raw foods, but I really do find cooked meals much more comforting, and often cheaper. Having a few salad staples to add as side dishes, or for juices and smoothies helps with this, fortunately. Next up are handy cupboard ingredients such as tinned tomatoes, pulses and wholegrain carbohydrates. Whilst I am eating as plant-based as possible, particularly in regard to beef and milk-based products, I do buy eggs and cottage cheese to help support my protein intake.
Although I have a fairly long list there, quite a few items last me more than the week or I don’t buy every time so in reality, I’m only buying a half or so of the items on the list, plus a few different extras for each week.
So what do I like to make with all these? Some of my favourite main meals include pasta in a butternut squash sauce that tastes like macaroni cheese; stir fry with tahini sauce; Moroccan-spiced tagines; sweet potato chips, hummus and salad; hearty stews, lentil bolognese, vegetable and bean chilli…. Lunch is usually leftovers, soup or something-on-toast. This still leaves me with plenty of ingredients for making loaded porridges, smoothies and juices.
Let me know if you’d like to see more recipes, cupboard staples or food on a budget!