I know cooking “healthy” can be expensive. Many of my recipes (and others from “Healthy” Cook Books) contain ingredients such as nuts, dates and nut butters which are expensive in many places. So here I have listed the places that I have found sell these items the cheapest (and sometimes they are actually the nicest).
I have also included tips on how to buy healthy foods for meal preps. By buying and cooking your own food you will actually save so much money in the long run (think about how much money you spend on breakfasts/lunches/dinners/snacks from the shops!) . It may seem difficult at the start to meal prep but once you get the hang of it it is actually relatively easy (and satisfying!).
Let me know if you find any better deals or have any of your own tips!
70% Dark Chocolate
I get my dark chocolate in lidl. There are many different types and some are quite cheap. My favourite is the one pictured below and costs €1.79. There are cheaper options if you want! Some of the others I find taste quite sugary however I really like this one!
Medjool dates are delicious however they are very expensive. If I want to eat dates on their own sometimes I will treat myself to those juicy, caramel like dates. However, for cooking with I always used dried dates that I get in Dealz. These cost €1.49 for 425g!
I have bought dried dates in the health food stores and to be honest I thought they didn’t taste nice at all. However I love the dates from dealz even just for eating and they work great in baking. Usually I just soak the amount I need in some boiling water for a few minutes before using to soften.
Nuts are certainly an expensive ingredient to use. Whenever I’m baking I almost always get my nuts from lidl. I buy the unsalted cashews (€2.99 for 200g), whole almonds (€2.15 for 200g) , mixed nuts (€2.99 for 200g). I also get my pumpkin and sunflower seeds there too!
Lately I have been on an absolute nut butter craze! I eat a ridiculous amount of nut butter and I use it in almost all of my baking. However nut butters, particularly almond butter (which I use a lot of) are so expensive. Recently I have been making my own nut butters and I actually find I like them far more than the store bought ones! I also use the nuts from lidl (shown above) for making my nut butters. I have found I can make a kg tub of almond butter for around €11 euro!
If I’m buying nut butters (particularly almond butter) I have found that at the moment the cheapest I have found is the MyProtein one. Its the cheapest overall in cost but they often have deals aswell which makes it even cheaper than buying in the store.
(Here is the link to Almond butter on the MyProtein website: http://www.myprotein.ie/sports-nutrition/almond-butter/10575082.html )
Beware when buying store bought nut butters to check the list of ingredients. Many contain sugar and palm oil (which is what you want to avoid!). Look for nut butters that only contain pure nuts (eg meridian nut butters, MyProtein nut butters)
Chicken and Meats
I cook a lot of chicken and I always cook it in bulk for meal prep. Recently I have actually been going to a butcher to get my chicken as its great value. I usually get 10 chicken breasts for €11 (and you can ask them to cut it into small chunks if you want which saves you the torture of doing it yourself!).
Have a look at your local butchers. You will probably find they do deals on meats or a protein pack containing different meats and eggs! You can buy your meats in bulk and freeze them until required which is also handy!
Many shops such as Supervalue, Lidl and Aldi do vegetables of the week which are relatively good value. If you want to save money (and can also allow you to try new recipes or new veg that you normally wouldn’t) try buying the veg on offer for the week. You can steam the veg, stir fry or roast and add some spices/soy sauce/ nut butters/ lemon etc to flavour. Beware of some store bought sauces which are high in sugar – just have a look at the label and try pick the best choice.
Pop them into a container and they are ready for the week ahead!
Hope these little tips help!