How to Eat Clean When Your Purse is Lean

09/11/2015 10:52 GMT | Updated 06/11/2016 10:12 GMT

When you are on a budget, it's easy to feel deprived. Clean eating might be a real challenge, but it is important to know that you can eat healthily and clean, even if your budget is very small. You should go for smart solutions which will allow you to enjoy nutritious clean foods every day.

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Photo credit Hedi Hearts

Without further ado, here are some tips and tricks to save money when trying to eat clean:

Buy in bulk.

Don't pay for the packaging. Bulk buying food can save lots of money. This way you can get food with high nutritional value and a long shelf life like beans, rice, whole grains, nuts, legumes, seeds and even quinoa for good prices. During the winter, buy frozen vegetables in bulk too. They are versatile, easy to cook and healthy. Costco is great for bulk shopping.

Get familiar with the shops around you.

There are different prices for food in stores like Lidl, Aldi, Tesco, Sainsburys or Asda. Discover the differences when it comes to the shops nearby and know exactly where to buy certain foods to get the best value. Sign up to their newsletter and get notified about their weekly deals and special offers. Asian and African shops are the best places to buy spices and seasonings. Meet your local butchers, they might have better deals than any other big supermarket, plus you are supporting local business.

Cook at home and plan your meals.

Eating out, going to the drive-thru or ordering food will drain your budget. So make sure you always know what you will eat next to avoid distractions. An empty stomach always makes wrong decisions.

You can cook several meals on a Sunday for instance and freeze them. Then you can eat cooked food throughout the week and skip those pre-packaged meals.

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Photo credit Hedi Hearts

Get a whole chicken.

It might seem a bit expensive at first, but you can save a lot in the long run and eat many delicious meals. You can roast it, then with the leftovers you can prepare a curry, eat it with wholemeal pasta or brown rice (remember about bulk buying) or stir fry them. Also, you can grill the breast or legs for dinner or make sandwiches with homemade bread from it and freeze the rest. With the remaining chicken you can make a broth. In Lidl and Aldi you can find a whole chicken for around £4-£4.50.

Don't buy sauces or dressings.

You can easily make them at home with simple ingredients like olive oil, apple cider vinegar, tomato sauce and spices, or white yoghurt.

Get creative with leftovers.

There are lots of recipes that help you create new meals out of leftovers, such as my Mexican Spicy Rice which you can have for dinner and the leftovers take to work and wrap it up in a Tortilla for lunch. Or you can simply refrigerate and eat them later in the day. Also, you can take the leftover vegetables in the fridge, stir fry them and prepare a dinner (instead of throwing them away).

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Photo credit Hedi Hearts

Always look for in-season produce.

Tinned stuff is great, but mostly in the cold seasons. Apart from that, eat in-season vegetables and fruits. They are healthier and tastier.

Get a slow cooker

It might be bigger investment to start with, but in the long run slow cooker is a brilliant time saver and foods cooked this way have more flavour because of the longer cooking time.

Don't stress that much over the organic label.

Perhaps you can't grow your own food and you don't have any farmer's market nearby either. If your budget is anything than generous, just stick to eating clean and it will do the trick. Even if you eat regular foods, it will still be so much better than overly processed junk ones with no nutritional value.

Go for store brands.

Don't be impressed by fancy advertisements. You won't compromise on quality at all if you don't go for the famous brands and choose store brands instead. For example, Lidl has many options to pick from and come with a significantly reduced price than products advertised on TV. Example: Tesco's oats, passata, tinned tomatoes, chick peas are all 50 pence or less.

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Photo credit Hedi Hearts

The freezer is your best friend.

Freeze all leftovers, excess foods and in-season produce to avoid food and money waste.

Cut the drinks.

Simplify things and save money by sticking to water or tea. Buy herbal teas in bulk or lemons to prepare lemonade. Forget about famous soft drinks and start making homemade juices.

Don't pay attention to your sweet tooth.

If you really want something nice and sweet, rather than spending money, bake something or prepare a tasty fresh treat using fruits, nuts, oats and seeds.

Do you have any tips on how to eat healthy on a tight budget? I'd love to hear from you.