Families encouraged to eat healthily on the cheap

Vegetables Healthy eating can be done on a budget, the government says

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An effort to convince families in England that they can eat healthily on a budget is being launched.

Four million recipe leaflets will be mailed to families already signed up to the government's Change 4 Life public health campaign.

Three supermarket chains have also agreed to offer discounts on products such as fruit, vegetables and fish.

But Labour said ministers do not take public health seriously and the drive is an "advertisement for big business".

Meanwhile, celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott has helped devise a cookbook promoting healthy dishes, with recipes that can be created for under £5.

He has also been filmed performing cooking tutorials which will be posted on the Change 4 Life website.

Among the meals being promoted are vegetable soup, fish pie and sweet and sour chicken.

Many of the ingredients will be discounted at the three supermarket chains signed up to the campaign - Asda, Co-op and Aldi - although it is not being revealed how big the discounts will be.

Start Quote

They're calling this public health but it's just a glorified advertisement for big business.”

End Quote Diane Abbott Shadow public health minister

Public health minister Anne Milton said: "The new year is a good time to think about losing weight. The Supermeals campaign will give us all some great ideas for balanced meals on a budget."

Mr Harriott added: "Sometimes the thought of making meals from scratch can seem a bit daunting, but I have always tried to assure people that cooking at home can be really quick, easy and doesn't need to break the bank."

But Labour criticised the move.

Shadow public health minister Diane Abbott said: "They're calling this public health but it's just a glorified advertisement for big business. This is a government that doesn't take its responsibility around public health seriously.

"Some areas in inner cities are fresh food deserts so families fall into eating takeaway chicken and chips."

Health benefits

Dale Rees, a spokesman for the British Dietetic Association, said the initiative was a positive step because the recipes would help those who wanted to cook but did not know the ingredients involved, the steps needed to prepare them or how to cook adhering to a budget.

"Evidence shows that people who eat a diet low in fat, added sugars and salt are less likely to develop chronic diseases in later life. You can protect against heart disease, for example, plus you're less likely to be obese and have weight-related health problems," said the dietician.

Referring to the issues raised by Ms Abbott, he said some local shops often carried fresh fruit and vegetables but some groups - people without cars, elderly and disabled people - found it hard to access such produce in inner city "blackspots".

Such people, he said, could be eligible for deliveries of hot meals, adding: "We need to tackle those blackspots to make sure fresh food is made available for those people. But that shouldn't stop the promotion of eating healthy food on a budget."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 534.

    @504. Anne

    Here's a clue: that big building at the bottom of the royal mile in Edinburgh. It is responsible for health in Scotland. You're trying to use a site set up by England for England. Devolve off and get your own facilities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 533.

    3 Minutes ago
    523. Darren Shepperd a brawn recipe for you.

    I lived in Germany so know what brawn is also calves lung soup and ate a lot of it.

    It's clear where you stand on the Brawn vs Brains debate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 532.

    So you think bread is only made from flour? and that it only takes 10 mins to make so i guess either you have never made bread or ignored the 10 mins+ spent on the first kneeding and the second knocking back too. While we are at it i guess you think ovens are free to use
    you do know you can buy 3 loafs of crap bread for less than the price of the flour alone dont you

  • rate this

    Comment number 531.

    523. Darren Shepperd a brawn recipe for you.

    I lived in Germany so know what brawn is also calves lung soup and ate a lot of it.

    1 pig's head
    4 pig's trotters
    1 pig's tail
    1 bulbs Florence fennel, chopped
    3 carrots, finely sliced
    3 banana shallots, finely sliced
    1 sprigs sage, chopped
    1 sprigs lemon thyme
    celery salt, to taste
    1 lemon, juice only
    6 bay leaves, for garnishing

  • Comment number 530.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 529.

    27 Minutes ago

    My bread is not expensive - 1 1/2 kg bag wholemeal flour makes three loaves, plus dried yeast and a small pinch of salt. Filling stuff, too

    It has taste too, unlike the cotton wool alternative. Kneeding bread always worked better for me than using Swarfega too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 528.

    461.Green Future ''Chavs will always prefer a big mac + large fries.''

    LARGE FRIES??? Only to be got in a chippy ... surely. A misnomer for the spindley threads of calorie peddled at MDonalds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 527.

    15 Minutes ago
    Nothing to do with profit is it? Why do supermarkets promote the less healthy options and not the lower fat/ sugar options?

    Question to dairy section manager.."Why has sunflower margarine gone up by 40% this year?" "Dairy prices have gone up!".

    I'd rather have honest butter than hydrodgenated vegetable oil made to simulate animal fat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 526.

    perhaps MP's who obviously spend considerably more than £5 filling themselves up would be better to stay quiet...

  • rate this

    Comment number 525.

    513. Darren Shepperd

    2.5 Kg sirloin roasting joint just under £12, cut into 4 = £3 per individual joint, 3 of them in freezer and 4oz of meat is adequate, or are you saying that people must buy 2Lb of mince for 4 in a spag bol? that leaves £3 for veg, very easily below that, which pays for the cooking. But then again some of us are smart and I don't need to be a tory for that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 524.


    I used to visit the local Leisure Centre before it was "outsourced" - prices hiked service standards lowered - their fave trick is to cordon off 3/4 of the pool and still charge full price....

  • rate this

    Comment number 523.

    as for your claim about brawn firstly it does not traditionally contain the brains of a pig/sheep/cow (most commonly a pigs head was used with brains, eyes and sometimes ears removed) secondly it certainly wont now as brains and spinal cord are both banned from the human food chain.
    But if you ever made it you would know about such basic things

  • rate this

    Comment number 522.

    512 fox-uk

    Your supportive comment is appreciated. I don't know why people attack strangers on these forums. But not attacking back is the moral high ground!

    Thank you.

    493 Just wanted to add I don't have TV, which helps with affording internet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 521.

    461.Green Future
    1 Hour ago
    Chavs will always prefer a big mac + large fries.

    But neutralised by an extra large DIET cola.

  • rate this

    Comment number 520.

    @499 'most people don't have the means to make homemade bread', if you have a mixing bowl, a baking tray, running water and a pair of hands you can make bread. It takes about 10 minutes to make the dough the only time consuming bit is waiting for it to rise which can be done whilst you do other things. Flour is cheap at 60p for white or £1.10 for wholemeal and each 1.5kg bag will make 3 loaves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 519.

    it's nothing to do with cooking on the cheap. it's really to do with being able to cook.it's the best thing you can do for your family to be able to cook.man or woman the basic is how to give your family the best which will give them a great start to the day,a really good lunchtime meal and then a truly yummy evening meal.
    it was domestic science when i was at school and it worked.

  • rate this

    Comment number 518.

    The £5.00 healthy meal is for a family of 4, £1.25 each. you cant get a bag of chips at our chippie for that. The contributor who does spag bol for £4.00 could do twice the quantity for the same money if the shopping was done at a budget supermarket eg didli etc. my student son home cooks everything and lives healthily on a budget of £10 per week!!! It can be done.

  • rate this

    Comment number 517.

    499 Richard
    "Iceland sells packs of 40 sausages for £2 and 20 burgers for £1"

    Richard, you know when the butcher has cut away all the meat and used the offal and bones for animal feed. Well he is left with the ends, the rear end and lips to be polite. That's what these sausages and burgers are made from.

  • rate this

    Comment number 516.

    Nothing to do with profit is it? Why do supermarkets promote the less healthy options and not the lower fat/ sugar options?

    Question to dairy section manager.."Why has sunflower margarine gone up by 40% this year?" "Dairy prices have gone up!".

    Why does 500ml bottle of cleaner cost £2.00 per litre, 750ml "value" bottle cost £2.66 per litre (same ingredients).

    Profit, Screwem and Scoff-It.

  • rate this

    Comment number 515.


    If you were veggie you'd probably know the Linda McCartney sausages offer runs frequently, across most supermarkets. I've got them, in date and fine, at this price from both Morrisons and Tesco online - where you don't get out of date offers.

    The joke about LM is an old one and too obvious!


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