Starting Out On Your Own


Need To Buy Quick, Cheap, Healthy and Easy Food?

Moving into your own place leaves you with lots of things to think about and little money to play around with. Healthy eating needn’t cost loads. 

Things to consider to make your money go further:

  • Try planning ahead – think about what you might eat during the week.
  • How much you are going to spend on food – include eating out, take-aways, sandwiches.
  • What equipment do you have?  Micro-wave, freezer or basic equipment like knives or pans?
  • Your skills – what can you cook?
  • If you haven’t done much cooking before ask your friends or family for some easy recipes or check out the ones on this site
  • Make a shopping list – you’ll be less likely to buy foods that you don’t need.
  • Double up – buy or cook with friends.  It means you can take advantage of offers like buy one get one free.
  • How much space do you have to store food?  Can you make room to store value packs?

While shopping make the most of the following:

  • Supermarket own-label economy brands.
  • Special offers.
  • Spread the cost of buying everyday foods - tea, coffee, pasta, rice, etc over different weeks. Share bigger packs with flatmates.
  • Get a supermarket loyalty card and get money back on your shopping.
  • Buy fresh food as you need it - extra will only be wasted.  Remember canned and frozen fruit and veg count towards your 5 a day!
  • Food markets or fruit and veg stalls are often cheaper.
  • Got a freezer?  Freeze food on special offer or extra portions of home-cooked meals like Bolognese, stews or chilli.
  • Sometimes you can pick up bargains towards closing time in supermarkets.

How To Make Your Meals Healthy On A Budget

Base your meals on pasta, rice, potatoes, chapatti, bread, noodles etc.  These provide energy and are cheap, filling options.

Add one or two vegetables, salad items or fruits (fresh, canned, frozen, dried and juices all count).  Include a small portion (75- 120g) of meat, fish, eggs, chicken, turkey, lentils or beans. 

Why not try:

  • Replacing ½ the meat/mince in stews, chilli, Bolognese, casseroles with beans, peas, pulses (e.g. lentils, canned kidney beans and chickpeas).
  • Canned fish - it makes great fillings for baked potatoes or pasta dishes or use in a fish pie or salad.
  • Eggs – scrambled, boiled or made into an omelette.
  • Using meat, chicken, fish on special offer.

Include 2-3 portions of dairy products each day (e.g. a glass of low-fat milk, low-fat yoghurt or a matchbox sized piece of cheese). 

Quick and Easy Meals

Want something you can have in a hurry? Why not try:

  • Jacket potato or toast with cheese, tuna, salmon or beans.
  • Breakfast cereal with milk and a glass of fruit juice – it's a good choice anytime.  Try adding dried fruit or chopped banana.  Why not try making a filling bowl of porridge?
  • Omelette or scrambled eggs with toast.  Add mushrooms or tomato.
  • Boiled pasta with added vegetables (e.g. frozen peas, sweetcorn), canned tuna and a small jar of a tomato-based pasta sauce or a spoon of pesto.
  • Grilled fish fingers, boiled potatoes and canned sweetcorn.

Can’t Cook Or Won’t Cook?

Need help to improve your practical food skills? Check out local cooking courses at nearby colleges, schools and community centres.

Want To Find Out More?

You can read 'Hassle Free Foods: A guide to cheap, quick, healthy eating' produced by NHS Health Scotland, or visit one of the following websites:

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