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Affordable eating

It can be hard to eat well on a budget, and there is always the temptation to buy cheaper but less healthy food when trying to make ends meet.

Here are some useful tips to make eating a healthy balanced diet more affordable:

  • Make a list and stick to it
    Plan your meals for the week in advance and make a list of the food you'll need to make it. Try not to be tempted by the tasty treats that might be on offer and stick to the list you've written. If you don't need it, don't buy it!
  • Put healthy foods in your basket / trolley first 
    Whether you buy online or in a shop, collect all of the healthy items first and make sure you review what's in your basket regularly. This will mean that when you get to the unhealthy foods, your basket will already be full and you'll be less likely to buy junk food you don't need, saving you money.
  • Don't shop on an empty stomach
    You're much more likely to buy things you don't need if you feel hungry. Try to plan your shopping trips once you have eaten.
  • Cook large portions and eat them again another day 
    Try to make big dishes like curries, casseroles or soups and put them in the fridge or freezer to eat again later in the week. If you do this you save money by buying ingredients in bulk and you reduce the amount of leftovers. It also saves you from having to prepare another meal!
  • Shop wisely 
    Look around for special offers in shops or online, but only buy things you need. Don't be tempted to buy things you're not likely to eat, just because it's a good deal. Compare the price per unit of items rather than the total price of the item. For example, when buying packaged vegetables you should compare the cost 'loose' per kg or lb, as opposed to the price per packet. If you can, you should also try going to markets to buy foods.
  • Try meat-free proteins 
    Canned beans and lentils are a good and cheap source of protein. Try going meat-free for one or two days a week and replace your meat with beans, lentils, nuts, seeds or eggs.
  • Shop in-season 
    Try to buy foods, like fruits and vegetables, that are currently in season. Not only will they taste their best, but they will be cheaper. It's also better for the environment!
  • Buy in bulk 
    If there's something you tend to eat a lot of, try buying enough to last you for a long time. Foods that have long shelf-lives are great for buying in bulk! Just make sure you check your cupboards regularly so things don't get forgotten about or wasted.
  • Use your leftovers 
    If you find you're making too much food and have a lot of leftovers, try using them to make a new dish. You can combine different foods into stews, stir-fries and casseroles.

 There are a range of tv series, books and websites dedicated to eating on a budget.  

Community Pantries are schemes where, for a small weekly subscription, members can access food, including fresh fruit and vegetables and store cupboard favourites that will often value £15-20 or more.

Membership is open to the local community but may need registration.

Support for all

Food poverty, social isolation and unemployment are sadly affecting a lot of people across the UK at the moment. Some people end up being unable to afford to buy food for themselves and their loved ones. There are some organisations out there who can help if you find yourself in this situation.

The Trussell Trust  foodbanks provide a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in the UK. In some areas they will only provide food following a referral from a health or social care professional - check your local food bank for details. 
Foodbanks in the local area include:

Dads House operates a food bank near West Brompton for dads and anyone else who needs a helping hand in Kensington and Chelsea. 

FoodCycle is a UK charity that combines volunteers, surplus food and spare kitchen spaces to create tasty, nutritious meals for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation.

The Food Chain exists to ensure people living with HIV in London can access the nutrition they need to get well, stay well and lead healthy, independent lives.
They deliver meals and groceries, offer cookery and nutrition classes and communal eating opportunities to people living with HIV in London and their dependents.

Olio is one of a new range of smartphone apps which connects local shops (big or small) and neighbours to smartphone users who distribute unsold food at the end of the day to reduce food wastage.  Download on your smartphone and see what is available for you to pick up today. No referral required

Support in Westminster

The North Paddington Foodbank uses cash and food donations from businesses and ordinary people to provide a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in North Paddington.

Support in Kensington and Chelsea

The following venues may be able to offer emergency meals:-

The West London People's Kitchen at the Goldfinger Factory regularly collect surplus produce from local greengrocers and use it to cook up a delicious community feast on the third Sunday of every month. You can lend a hand in the kitchen from 3pm, or come and enjoy a tasty pay-what-you-want meal from 6:30pm. 

The Dalgarno Trust run their Foodbank every Thursday.  People can register and collect tickets from 10am and then the food is distributed between 3pm and 6.30pm. For more information, call on 0208 969 6300 or email

Last updated: 25/08/2022