Ever find yourself in the middle of Tesco, empty basket in hand and aimlessly meandering through the aisles in search of a healthy haul that’ll see you through the next seven days?
Same. So, we decided to do something about it. How? WH sent resident registered nutritionist Jenna Hope (@jennahopefood) on a mission to the shop—with a pretty specific budget.
Challenge: do a weekly food shop at the supermarket for no more than £30 – with as many health-boosting (and delicious) eats as possible.
Findings: 36 health foods that don’t cost the earth. And, if Tesco isn’t your jam, no sweat. Because Hope has already worked her magic on the inexpensive but healthy eats available at Asda and Sainsbury’s, so head over to her previous hauls, if so.
Sound good? We thought so, too. Scroll down to read Hope’s findings – plus, why she made each choice in detail.
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11 types of fresh vegetables
Fill your Tesco basket with fresh veg and not only will you get more food for less money, you’ll also spend the week fuelling your body with vital micronutrients.
I chose mushrooms as they’re one of the few dietary sources of vitamin D, onions for their gut-friendly prebiotics and broccoli and green beans for vitamin K, essential for preventing blood clotting.
Top tip: leave your mushrooms out on the window sill (stalks facing up) will stimulate extra vitamin D production in the mushrooms.
– 1kg carrots
– 3 onions
– 1 sweet potato
– Green beans
– Mixed salad
– 2x corn on the cob pack
All veg together = £7.91
2 types of fresh fruit
Next up: fresh fruit, important for getting your weekly micronutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Buying whole coconuts is great value for money, as you can drink the water, perfect for rehydrating post workout, and snack on the ‘meat’.
Buying fruit to ripen at home is another trick to help make healthy eating less expensive. Plums are rich in Vitamin C which is essential to support a healthy immune function.
– Ripen at home plums
All fresh fruit together = £ 1.48
5 types of tinned veg
You may not automatically think of tinned veg when you think of what it means to eat healthily, but they’re pre-prepared, cheap and perfect for making dishes like soup – simply add them to a pot with sautéed onions, spices or herbs and stock, and leave to simmer.
The beans are nutrition powerhouses as they’re sources of so many nutrients including plant-based protein, iron, magnesium and zinc. Talk about healthy Tesco foods.
– Mixed veg
– Canned peas
– Tomato puree
– Black beans
– Butter beans
All tinned veg together = £2.05
2 types of tinned fruit
Can you tell I’m a fan of canned foods?
Here’s why: not only is it cheaper to buy fruit in tins, it also helps to reduce plastic waste.
It also helps you to mix up the types of fruits you’re consuming to ensure you’re getting a range of micronutrients and in turn promoting a diverse gut microbiota. But be mindful that fruit in juice, is far lower in sugar than tinned fruit in syrup.
– Mandarin segments
– Canned apricots in juice
All tinned fruit together = £1.23
3 dry store cupboard essentials
Stocking your store cupboard full of healthy seeds, legumes and grains makes whipping up healthy dinners in time to catch the next Game of Thrones episode feel like a breeze.
Ryvita crackers are a great source of iron, zinc and magnesium, essential in immune function, cell function and muscle and nerve conduction.
Mixing up your grains is important for diversifying your gut microbiome, hence the bulgar wheat, a source of manganese, important for turning food into energy.
Plus, eggs are a cupboard must-have for easy protein. Plus, the yolks are great for for the nutrient choline, which is vital for helping your brain to send messages around the body, as well as to dose you up on healthy fats.
– Ryvita Protein Chia Seed and Buckwheat Crackers
– Bulgar Wheat
All dry stores together = £3.59
3 types of nuts
Nuts are rich in protein, magnesium and healthy fats. These snack packs are perfect for on the go – and they’re three for the price of two. All round win.
– Cashew nuts
– Brazil nuts
– Salt and pepper nuts
All nuts together = £2.00
2 types of snacks
Next up: snacks. It’s important to factor these in for throughout the week, to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
I’d opt for Tesco’s cocoa and orange bites—a perfect sweet pick me up made from a base of dates, which makes them a source of fibre and good for your gut microbiome.
Plus, I buy hummus every week—I’m such a fan as it’s a really well balanced food.
It contains a combination of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and fibre. Chickpeas are a source of prebiotic, the type of fibre which feed the good bacteria in the gut. It’s also a really rich source of plant-based iron due to the tahini. Enjoy.
– Tesco Coco Bites
– Red pepper and chilli hummus
All snacks together = £2.70
4 types of breakfast items
Getting a balance of protein, healthy fats and carbs at breakfast is vital for setting you up for the day ahead.
Opt for this protein fromage frais (low in sugar and high in protein), oats (simple, rich in beta-glucans which reduce cholesterol and a great source of slow release carbs) and Tesco’s own brand peanut butter (100% nuts, AKA healthy fats and B-vitamins with no extra additives) and you’ve got the perfect breakfast.
Tip: If you’re consuming plant-based milk over dairy milk, ensure that your choice is fortified with Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and calcium, as these are high risk nutrients when you’re not consuming the cow’s stuff.
Why do they matter so much? Well, Vitamin D and calcium are essential for bone health. Calcium cannot be absorbed without the presence of Vitamin D, and so it’s essential that the two can work together.
– Protein fromage frais
– Almond Breeze almond milk
– Peanut butter
All breakfast items together = £4.25
3 types of meat and fish
Meat and fish really doesn’t have to be expensive. Take these canned sardines—a cheap way of ensuring you’re consuming enough omega-3, vital for brain function, hormone production and joint support.
(FYI the NHS advises that you consume two portions of oily fish per week.)
Prawns are a source of lean protein and Vitamin E, making them a great skin food, and eating chicken will help to ensure that you’re getting your B12 fix. B12 helps to support iron utilisation in the body alongside maintaining energy.
– 2 x canned sardines
– Chicken thighs
All meat and fish items together = £4.59
The full bill came to a super affordable £29.80.
No doubt, if you thought healthy eating meant fancy chia seeds and spirulina powder shakes, think again.
This mix of veg, fruit, grains, fats and proteins is everything you need to eat healthily for a week – whilst still being able to afford rent.
Mission accomplished—head to the Tesco website to *add to basket*.
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