FINDING food that is both healthy and affordable might seem impossible.

But – according to a nutritionist – there’s no need to get overwhelmed with the task of getting a cheap, nutritious meal on the table.

Opting for frozen or tinned versions of foods can be just as nutritious - and save you money

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Opting for frozen or tinned versions of foods can be just as nutritious – and save you money
Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert shared which six foods you don't need to buy fresh - and more tips on how to eat well on a budget

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Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert shared which six foods you don’t need to buy fresh – and more tips on how to eat well on a budgetCredit: Supplied

Registered nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert said this is a conversation she has had with many of her clients at the Rhythm clinic.

“Something that is on everyone’s minds at the moment is the cost of living crisis, and many families across the country are trying to find quick, easy ways to still eat a healthy and balanced diet, without breaking the bank,” the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Science of Nutrition told The Sun.

“But it’s important to remember that eating well on a budget doesn’t have to be complicated,” she stressed.

Rhiannon suggested a few foods you can buy frozen or tinned instead of fresh:

  1. legumes and pulses
  2. fruit
  3. vegetables
  4. fish
  5. meat
  6. bread

Beans, peas and lentils are just some examples of pulses and legumes.

According to Rhiannon, tinned versions of these “are probably one of the most affordable – and nutritious – foods you can buy”.

“They make meals taste good and increase the fiber and plant-based protein content of many delicious dishes. They are also higher in essential vitamins and minerals which are needed to ensure our bodies are functioning properly,” the nutritionist said.

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She continued: “Frozen foods such as fruits and vegetables, fish, and meats and even breads that are fortified with vitamins and minerals, are just as nutritious as fresh.”

Aside from being rich in the nutrients your body needs, opting for frozen produce is a great way to help reduce food waste, Rhiannon said, as things can be frozen and then eaten at a later date.

Less food waste will also mean you’re not wasting money on meals.

“Frozen items tend to be cheaper than most fresh produce too, so these are a great option if you’re looking to save some money,” added Rhiannon.

But she warned that you should be mindful of some frozen items.

Ultra-processed foods tend to be high in saturated fats, and too much of these kinds of foods can have a negative impact on your health, he said.

It comes as health experts warn eating these foods could bump your cancer risk.

Eating healthy while cutting costs

Rhiannon also has a few further tips for eating well on a budget.

Her first piece of advice was to try to make a meal plan for the week ahead and check what you already have in the cupboards before doing your food shop.

“Not only will this be kinder to your purse, it will save you time in the shops and in the kitchen too,” she said.

You also don’t have to spend a pretty penny if you want to add meat to your meals.

“Opt for cheaper and leaner cuts, such as beef mince, chicken thighs, and pork belly over items such as breast meat,” Rhiannon suggested.

She also advised you visit or speak to your local butcher to find out what are the best cuts and which are the best value for money.

The nutritionist’s third hack was to switch go for frozen fish, fruit and veg instead of fresh.

She said: “These have just as many if not more nutrients than fresh items and can be much cheaper.”

When you’re in the supermarket, try digging through the reduced buys section, or look for ‘wonky’ variations of fruits and veg, Rhiannon continued.

“This will help keep costs down but still give the same great taste and nutrition,” she said.

It might also give you the opportunity to try new ingredients if they are cheaper than what you’d usually go for – this will help to increase your diet diversity too, she adds.

The nutritionist’s fourth tip involves sopping seasonally or locally where you can.

“Eating seasonally can be a great way to help lower costs, as produce is often much cheaper when in season compared to when not,” she explained.

An added bonus is that fruit and veg that are harvested and sold while they are in season will taste miles better – and they’ll also be at their optimal nutrient value.

Even though you might not know it, the UK has a glut of delicious and nutritious ingredients that can be grown in British soil – you might even want to have a go at growing your own, Rhiannon said.

According to the British Dietetics Association suggest, fruits and vegetables in season right now include:

  • rhubarb
  • strawberries
  • black currants
  • raspberries
  • cherries.
  • asparagus
  • aubergines
  • beetroot
  • lettuce
  • rockets
  • summer squash
  • pepper
  • new potatoes.

Seasonal eating is also better and more sustainable for the environment – it means we rely less on imports of exotic ingredients which need to be transported from abroad.

Rhiannon’s fifth budget boosting hack was to “take advantage of your freezer”.

She advised separating large packs of meat, fish, bread, fruit and veg into portions and storing anything that you won’t eat by their use by date in the freezer.

“You could also use the freezer to keep leftovers when you bulk cook to avoid waste and to save time when you need a quick, nutritious meal,” she added.

To make your meals go a little further, bulk them out with tinned plant-based foods like chickpeas and beans, suggested Rhiannon.

These items are often cheaper than products like meat or fish, she explained, and they’ll add to your daily fiber and protein intakes.

Finally, the nutritionist suggested you make your own snacks instead of buying them.

You can make your own trail mixes with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits at home – these are a brilliant option for an affordable and nutrient dense snack, he said.

Rhiannon further discussed healthy eating hacks in episodes of her Food For Thought podcast, including ones on how to Eat Well On A Budget and Supermarkets’ Dirty Tricks.

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Rhiannon recently shared three harmful ‘dieting hacks’ that are likely to backfire.

She also named three foods to cut out in order to avoid bloating and cancer.