Healthy eating, healthy wallet

Make your meals do more with our tips for affordable eating

When you look up and down the supermarket aisles, it often seems to be the unhealthy options that are on special offer. However, cooking healthy food doesn't have to burn a hole in your pocket.

It pays to plan

A pad of paper and a pencil rest on a chopping board

Planning meals makes it easier to budget and think about how you're going to use leftovers. Why not get into a routine of planning a week of meals? You could try meat-free Mondays, chilli Tuesdays or fishy Fridays.


  • Make a shopping list and group it by meal – this will make you less likely to buy things you don't need
  • Measure out portions of rice, potatoes and pasta so you don't cook too much


Eating bigger portions can lead to weight gain. And being overweight or obese increases the risk of 12 cancers.

Get fridge and freezer savvy

Bags and boxes of food stored in a fridge

Chill out in the frozen food aisle of your local supermarket – frozen fruit and veg are often cheaper than fresh, are just as nutritious and still count towards your 5 A DAY.


  • Check the dates of perishables and put the oldest at the front of the fridge so you use them first
  • Buy one, get one free – and freeze the spare
  • Make batches of stew, soup and chilli, then freeze individual portions
  • Chop up fresh herbs and store them in a bag in the freezer for up to 12 months


Eating fruit and non-starchy vegetables can protect against cancers of the mouth, thorat and digestive tract.

Be canny about cans

Birdseye view of tins of tomatoes, beans, sweetcorn and carrots

Canned or tinned foods can be stored for a long time, and can often be bought in bulk. Don't limit yourself to tuna and baked beans: lots of fruit (prunes, peaches, pineapple), vegetables (sweetcorn, peas, asparagus), pulses (chickpeas, butter beans, kidney beans) and fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel) can be bought cheaply in tins.


  • Half the amount of mince in a dish and replace it with tinned pulses – an excellent low-fat alternative source of protein
  • Buy fish, beans and pulses in water rather than in oil or with added sugar and salt
  • Brighten up a fruit salad with exotic tinned fruit in juice – but watch out for fruit in syrup


Eating too much red meat (more than three portions or 350–500g cooked weight a week), such as beef, pork, lamb or goat, increases the risk of bowel cancer.

Be smart in the supermarket

A person leans on a full shopping trolley and checks a receipt

Special offers are only good value if you use what you’ve bought – make sure extras can be frozen or used up before they go off. And try to not shop when you're hungry!


  • Shop towards the end of the day when fresh produce is more likely to be discounted
  • Check dates when buying food – 'best before' is just a guide


Being active decreases the risk of colon, breast and womb cancers. Why not walk to the supermarket next time?

Love your leftovers

Leftover meals, like this lasagne, can be fantastic

Make food last longer by storing it correctly – for some food, the fridge may be too cold or damp. Reusing food in another dish can often save you time and money.


  • Make leftover roast soup after a family Sunday lunch
  • Make fruit or veg that's past its best into a juice, smoothie or soup
  • Bulk out leftover curry, bolognese or stew with beans or chickpeas


High-fibre foods can reduce the risk of bowel cancer and help you to maintain a healthy weight. Add fibre to your leftovers by adding veg or wholegrain pasta, rice or bread.