If your cupboard is loaded with crisps, biscuits and processed foods you’re likely to give in to temptation. So, stock up on healthier foods for your blood pressure instead. Preparing your grocery list in advance is a good idea and helps to prevent impulse buying.
- When you shop, make sure your basket or trolley mainly contains fresh foods.
- The healthiest fruits and vegetables are usually the deepest in colour. Choose spinach, for example, instead of iceberg lettuce, and sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.
- Buy chicken and turkey instead of processed deli meat. Try turkey mince instead of fatty minced meat.
- Look for fresh fish (without breaded or battered coatings) or canned fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, or tuna.
- Look for lower-fat versions of milk and cheese. Choose natural or Greek yogurt instead of sugary ones.
- Choose healthier carbohydrates by reading the fibre content on labels. The higher, the better.
- Many supermarkets provide fresh prepped ingredients you can put together for an easy-to-cook meal as well as individual items like salads and cooked chicken. These are usually better choices than frozen dishes high in calories and/or salt (frozen chips, frozen onion rings, frozen pizza and ready meals)
- Buy a black pepper grinder or chilli grinder for the table. Keep the salt out of sight.
- Avoid popping highly salty foods such as crisps, popcorn, salted nuts, anchovies, smoked fish, bacon/other processed meats and ready meals into the shopping basket.
- Look for lower-salt versions of stock cubes and seasonings like soya and Worcester sauce.
- Choose no-added salt or lower-salt versions of tinned foods such as sweetcorn and baked beans. Buy tuna or salmon canned in olive oil or spring water rather than brine.
- As you read food labels, you may be surprised that many foods contain sodium, including baking soda, soya sauce, monosodium glutamate (MSG) etc . Check out the Secret Salt Finder to see alternative names for sodium or salt on labels.
Eating well on a budget
- Plan your meals for the week, and make out a shopping list based on the food you will need. This way, you will be less likely to buy unhealthy foods that aren’t in your weekly plan.
- Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season as they will be cheaper than those that aren’t in season.
- Keep an eye out for special offers. Most major supermarkets advertise their weekly special offers.
- Buy non-perishable items like brown rice, pasta and porridge oats in bulk – larger packs work out cheaper than smaller ones. Frozen fruit & veg are just as nutritious as the fresh variety. Frozen fish is another healthy staple.
- Instead of buying tinned peas and beans, buy dried lentils, chickpeas and kidney beans. Soak them overnight, follow the cooking directions on the packet, and add to soups and casseroles.
- Convenience items like pre-cut vegetables, pre-cooked chicken, bags of grated cheese, pre-prepared salads and ready meals are more expensive because you’re paying for the labour involved in making them easier to use. Preparing your own food saves money.