Women

How To Get Your Five-A-Day On A Budget

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It’s no secret the cost of food is on the rise, and has been for some time. Since 2007, UK households have been cutting back on bread, meat, fish and alcohol as well as fruit and vegetables, according to the Government’s annual Family Food Survey. Apparently we’ve saved 6.8 per cent on our shopping bills by buying cheaper, and in many cases, less healthy foods. Across all households, regardless of wealth, we’ve bought 10 per cent less fruit and veg since 2007.

The financial crisis is causing what experts call the ‘nutritional recession’. And these survey findings confirm this. One in six people say rising food prices make it difficult for them to eat healthily. So what can you do to still get your 5-a-day but stay within your budget? A lot actually.

The financial crisis is causing what experts call the ‘nutritional recession’.

The financial crisis is causing what experts call the ‘nutritional recession’.

Make simple swaps

Snack on fruit and vegetables to reach your 5-a-day and save money. An apple from a market stall costs on average 25 pence, compared to a chocolate bar at 60 pence or a packet of crisps at 50 pence. Keep fruit and vegetables to hand, so you don’t buy unhealthy snacks.

Seek out bargains

A recent survey conducted by a Channel 4 Dispatches program found ‘express’ or ‘local’ Tesco and Sainsbury’s stores charged almost a third more for veg such as broccoli, compared to their superstores. Plus, buying fruit and vegetables loose rather than pre-packed is usually cheaper - sometimes half the price. Browsing the reduced aisle for goods past their ‘best before’ date is another clever trick. These aisles are piled high on a Monday morning or a Friday evening when the shelves are rotated. Use this cheap produce to make soup, ratatouille, and stews or fruit compôtes, which can be frozen. ‘Best before’ foods are still edible, but foods past their ‘use by’ date should be pinned.

Plus, buying fruit and vegetables loose rather than pre-packed is usually cheaper - sometimes half the price.

Plus, buying fruit and vegetables loose rather than pre-packed is usually cheaper - sometimes half the price.

Try tinned

Did you know canned or frozen fruit and veg are nutritionally similar to fresh produce? In some cases they can be even healthier! For example, canned tomatoes and tomato soup are the best sources of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to a reduced incidence of some types of cancer. Canned foods have a long shelf life because the food is cooked in the can, locking all the nutrition inside without the need for preservatives. It’s a myth that canned foods are all high in salt, fat or sugar. Many foods are now preserved in water rather than brine or fruit juice instead of syrup. If in doubt, rinse them with water before you use them.

Did you know canned or frozen fruit and veg are nutritionally similar to fresh produce?

Did you know canned or frozen fruit and veg are nutritionally similar to fresh produce?

Be box clever

Register for a veg box scheme with your local farmer to eat seasonal produce at a fraction of the cost of the supermarket. For example, Riverford Organic (riverford.co.uk) supplies organic fruit, veg and meat boxes across the UK. Their Seasons Vegbox costs $20 and contains eight to 10 varieties of fruit and veg, which caters for three adults for a week.

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