How to be healthy on a budget

Staying healthy is hard enough, but how on earth do you do it on a budget? TV presenter Alice Beer gives her tips.
Staying healthy is hard enough, but how on earth do you do it on a budget? TV presenter Alice Beer gives her tips.


Some may think that healthy eating and saving money don’t go hand-in-hand, but while it may be trickier to watch your weight while also watching your purse strings, it’s not impossible.

And TV presenter Alice Beer, well-known for her role as consumer champion on BBC programmes including Watchdog is here to help!

Alice says: “Maintaining and improving your health really does not have to cost the earth. In fact there are plenty of ways to get your health back on track even with a limited budget.

Here are some of her tips…

1.  It’s all about breakfast!

“As a child I was sent off to school with a tummy full of porridge or sausages, or scrambled eggs (and on bad days kippers!)  the first meal of the day is so important to set up your system and energise you. Everyone has time for breakfast – even if it is the quickest egg on a bagel. Starting the day with a rush of sugary cereal is really unhealthy and the sugary cereals in the brightly coloured packets are often the most expensive. Try porridge sweetened with honey for a slow burning, really good value breakfast.”

2.   Healthy apps

“It is very easy to be in denial about how much you are really drinking or exercising. I have two free apps on my phone which are really good ways of being honest about your lifestyle. NHS drink tracker monitors how much alcohol you are consuming and helps you stay within healthy limits. I also use 5k runner which helps you get off the sofa and slowly build up your fitness from a breathy walk to a very respectable 5k jog within a reasonable time.”

3.  Don’t snack on the street

“It is often not the regular meals that make the dent on the family budget, but the snacks in between. A couple of pounds a day on junk food will end up costing a couple of hundred pounds a year. Challenge yourself to take something healthier from home.”

4.  DIY  

“Homemade meals contain so much less salt, sugar and preservatives than ready meals. It takes more time, discipline and of course you have to default to raiding the freezer when time is short. The satisfaction of serving your family a meal you have made from scratch is definitely worth it. Everyone can make healthy meatballs, fishcakes or chicken in breadcrumbs at half the cost and twice the flavour of the readymade version.”

5.  Switch to Herbal Tea

“Every day at five o’ clock I could bite someone’s hand off for a chunk of chocolate or a biscuit…. or shall I reach for the coffee pot?  The problem is that I cannot do chocolate or caffeine in small quantities and the resulting highs and lows are really destructive. I am now trying to discipline myself with some amazing flavoured herbal teas. My favourite is peppermint and liquorice. It is so comforting to sip and is such a wake up call for the taste buds that it really helps distract from the call of the caffeine.”

6. Don’t always buy expensive medicines

“Make sure you stock up on quality, good value medicine cabinet essentials. Everyday family ailments such as coughs and colds, grazed knees or headaches can strike at any time. If you keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet or first aid box to hand, these common health issues can easily be treated. Make sure you avoid big brand over-the-counter names which tend to be overpriced. When it comes to your family’s health, I know myself it’s easy to opt for well-known healthcare products and brands to help make your loved ones feel better. However, many of these products often contain exactly the same active ingredient as other more affordable brands like Care. Compared to big brands, Care’s range of health solutions are high quality, but good value to help keep the household budget down.”