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Cost of Living Crisis: Maintaining a Balanced Diet

The cost of living crisis has led more families to rely on food banks. As Emma Revie, Chief Executive at the UK’s hunger and poverty charity, Trussell Trust, says: “An increasing number of children are growing up in families facing hunger, forced to turn to food banks to survive.” What’s more, according to the BBC […]
Cost of Living Crisis: Maintaining a Balanced Diet

Cost of Living Crisis: Maintaining a Balanced Diet

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The cost of living crisis has led more families to rely on food banks. As Emma Revie, Chief Executive at the UK’s hunger and poverty charity, Trussell Trust, says: “An increasing number of children are growing up in families facing hunger, forced to turn to food banks to survive.”

What’s more, according to the BBC Good Food Nation survey, more than two-thirds of people (69%) said they considered themselves to be healthy eaters but 28% said they were eating less nutritious food because it is too expensive.

If the cost of living crisis has impacted you or your family, here are some practical tips to support you in eating a balanced diet.

Getting the most out of food banks

While food banks provide essential help, the options can be limited. However, you can make nutritious meals from the basic ingredients provided:

  • Boost the nutritional value of your pasta, rice, or potatoes by adding canned fish, beans, or eggs.
  • Make vegetable bean dips that you can enjoy with carrot sticks or pita bread for a healthy snack.
  • Prepare oatmeal or rice pudding and add raisins or canned fruit for a sweet and nutritious dessert.
  • Use canned fish, vegetables and potatoes to create quick and easy fishcakes or fish pie.
  • Stir-fry rice with eggs, canned vegetables, and soy sauce for a delicious and filling meal.

Buying groceries on a budget

Here are some more top tips to help you save money on groceries and make nutritious eating more affordable:

Plan your meals for the week and make a grocery list. This will help you buy only what you need and avoid unnecessary purchases.

  • Repurpose leftovers into new meals to avoid food waste.
  • Look for discounted items approaching their sell-by date. This can be a great way to save money on fresh produce.
  • Check supermarkets at closing for discounted fresh produce.
  • Buy family-sized packages of chicken and mince to save money, then freeze portions to use later.
  • If you can, try growing inexpensive vegetables like carrots and potatoes at home.
  • Cook in batches – make double quantities of soups, stews, curries and bakes to reheat during the week.
  • Stay hydrated with water instead of buying sugary soft drinks.
  • Limit takeaways as an occasional treat to help decrease costs.
  • Use coupons and shop at cheaper supermarkets if possible.
  • Seek support from food banks, community fridges, and food waste apps if needed.

Remember to be kind to yourself during the cost of living crisis. As much as you can, try to eat when you’re hungry and focus on regular meals.

Further resources for families, and caregivers during the cost of living crisis

Eat Well, Spend Less – The Association of UK Dietitians

Find a food bank – Trussel Trust

FareShare resources list

Government free school meals

Magic Breakfast – provides healthy school breakfasts to children at risk of hunger in disadvantaged areas of the UK.

The Felix Project – a charitable organisation that saves surplus food from suppliers and redistributes it to charities.

Kids Eat Free List – restaurants that offer free kids meals with a paying adult. This includes places like Bella Italia, Café Rouge, Harvester etc.

Search for #kidseatfree on Instagram or X to find restaurants offering free meals for kids.

For more information on balanced eating, check out our module.

 

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