Cooking on a budget

Healthy Start

If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four, the Healthy Start scheme can help you:

  • buy healthy foods like milk or fruit
  • get free vitamins

You need to be claiming certain benefits to qualify. If you’re pregnant and under 18 you can claim even if you do not receive any benefits. Find out more on Healthy Start on GOV.UK website

Cooking on a budget

If your family is facing rising food bills, here are some top tips and advice on how to manage mealtimes on a budget.

There are many ways to eat healthier and save money. The NHS have produced 20 tips to eat well for less, with useful guidance on how to eat well and spend less.

Ilford Community Grocery

The Ilford Community Grocery was set up to bring affordable groceries to people in Redbridge. you can join this grocery for £5 a year and you can buy 12 items for just £5 supporting your food budget enormously. Pay them a visit and see if it is for you. The Community Grocery is located at 25-29 Clements Rd, Ilford. More details: 

Recipes and videos

There are many recipes and videos online which show you how to make a variety of low-cost tasty meals.

BBC: Cooking on a Budget

This has a collection of recipes with step-by-step videos for those cooking on a tight budget. Just use the search bar at the top of the page to find recipes and videos for making nutritious low-cost meals.

Change4Life Recipes

This website and free app has lots of recipes, which are grouped into meals during the day such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, puddings and snacks. Instructions are given on how to make each recipe, how long it will take and how difficult each is.

Other Tips

  • Write a shopping list before you shop and don’t be tempted to buy foods you do not really need
  • Plan your meals for the week ahead so that your family get a good variety of foods
  • Many foods will stay fresh for longer if stored correctly. Tinned and packet foods should have a ’best before’ date stamped on them. Some fresh fruit and vegetables such as potatoes need to be stored in a cool dark place, whilst others like tomatoes and lettuce should be kept in the bottom of the fridge
  • Don’t waste anything. ‘Use by’ dates are the date by which foods should be eaten, but ‘best before’ dates are the date when foods are at their best. This does not mean they cannot be eaten after that date, just that they may not be as tasty
  • Use any leftover meals the next day, making sure you store them in a fridge overnight
  • If reheating foods, make sure they are piping hot before serving. Do not reheat cooked food more than once
  • Try to freeze leftovers to use at another time if you have a freezer. Make sure you label and date the food being frozen, so you know what it is and how long it has been in the freezer
  • Buy cheaper supermarket own label brands – the food often tastes the same as the more expensive brands 
  • Try to limit the number of take away meals you have. They are often expensive, less nutritious and served in very big portion
  • Try and involve your children in cooking. They are more likely to try something new if they helped to make it