Information alert

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As our bills go up, buying healthy foods can feel more difficult. We know that eating well with diabetes is important so here are some tips to help with eating well for less.

Try to include a food from the four main food groups of the Eatwell Guide at most meals:

  • Potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, and other starchy carbohydrate.
  • Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat, and other protein foods.
  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Dairy and alternatives (milk, yoghurt, cheese).

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  • Choose the value brands of dried foods such as rice and pasta, they are just as nutritious.
  • Use supermarket own brand breakfast cereals.
  • Oats are cheaper than breakfast cereals and can be used for porridge or overnight oats.

  • Frozen fruits and vegetables are cheaper and avoid waste, you can just use what you need. They are often more nutritious than fresh vegetables. Add frozen vegetables to pasta bakes, curries, stews, or rice or serve as a side dish. Add frozen berries to yoghurt, porridge, or cereal.
  • Canned fruits are also often quicker and cheaper than fresh – choose fruits canned in fruit juice rather than syrup.
  • If you have time, you might find buying fruits and vegetables from a local market cheaper.

  • Meat and fish can often be the most expensive part of the meal - have some meat/fish free meals each week.
  • Canned fish is cheaper and just as nutritious, try canned tuna, sardines or mackerel on toast or in pasta.
  • Eggs are very versatile and can be used for lots of meals such as omelettes, frittata, scrambled egg on toast or egg fried rice.
  • Replace half of the meat in meals such as bolognaise, chilli, shepherds pie or cottage pie with a can of cooked lentils to make the meal go further.

  • Choose the value branded yoghurts rather than big brands – they are just as tasty and often contain less added sugars. Plain yoghurt is cheaper and can be a great dessert or snack or added to curries or sauces to make them creamier.
  • Buy strong cheese, you can achieve the same flavour but use less!
  • Use supermarket own brand soft cheese for a creamy pasta sauce.

Avoiding food waste

Use up any leftover vegetables in soups. Cook vegetables in stock, add any herbs or spices you like; a handful of dried lentils can also add protein. Blend or leave chunky.

If you have a freezer, store bread in the freezer and just take out what you need Plan meals and write a shopping list so you just buy what you need. This can often be easier when shopping online.

Check what you have at home and make sure you use up anything you have at home before you buy more. Make a fun game with the children to design a meal with what you have left!

Don’t be too tempted by special offers if you don’t need them, especially with foods that don't last long.

Look down at the supermarket – this is often where the cheaper, value brands are kept, as the expensive brands are kept at eye-level.

Understand food labels:

  • It is important to follow 'use-by' dates as these are about food safety - it is unsafe to eat a food past it's 'use-by' date.
  • 'Best before dates are just about food quality so foods past their best before date are often still safe to eat beyond this date.                                                                                                 ​​​​​

Screenshot 2024-04-03 at 11.39.27.png Saving energy while cooking

  • Batch cook and make enough for another day, or use leftovers for lunch - ensure to cool food thoroughly before putting in the fridge or freezer.
  • Cook once and make multiple meals, for example bolognaise sauce could be used for pasta bolognaise one day and cottage pie or chilli con carne the next, roast a tray of vegetables to be used in a pasta bake one day and pizzas or fajitas the next.
  • If you already have them, microwaves, slow cookers and air-fryers are more energy efficient than ovens.
  • Microwaves are great for porridge, steaming vegetables and pre-cooking jacket potatoes.
  • Slow cookers are great for batch cooking stews, curries and bolognaise or sauces.
  • Use up fruit that needs eating in smoothies or mash into porridge or yoghurt, or freeze for when you need it.

Screenshot 2024-04-03 at 11.41.48.png Gluten free diets

Meal ideas

  • Porridge (add fresh, canned, frozen, or dried fruit such as banana, frozen berries, tinned peaches, or raisins).
  • Overnight oats (add fresh, canned, frozen, or dried fruit such as banana, frozen berries, tinned peaches, or raisins).
  • Toast with peanut butter.
  • Own/value brand breakfast cereals with milk.
  • Plain yoghurt and banana or frozen berries.

  • Scrambled egg on toast (mix with a cube of frozen spinach).
  • Baked beans on toast.
  • Homemade vegetable and lentil soup with bread.
  • Canned sardines in tomato sauce on toast.
  • Cheese sandwich, with a side of tomato, cucumber, or pepper.

  • Jacket potato with baked beans, cheese or canned tuna.
  • Avoid expensive ready meals, jars and sauces and make your own.
  • Rice with a vegetable and bean or mince and bean chilli. Vegetables that work well are butternut squash, mushrooms, or aubergine, try canned red-kidney beans, chickpeas, or black-eyed beans. Turkey mince can be cheaper than beef. Make your own sauce with canned tomatoes and chilli powder.
  • Wholemeal pasta with frozen peas and canned tuna, stir in some soft cheese, dried herbs, garlic, and pepper for a creamy sauce.
  • Pasta-bakes with pasta, chopped tomatoes, herbs, a handful of frozen vegetables and can of beans, topped with some grated cheese.
  • Curries with vegetables and chickpeas. Use chopped tomatoes as a base and flavour with curry powders or other combinations of spices that you like. Add some plain natural yoghurt if you like your curries creamier. Try with canned chickpeas, frozen cauliflower, carrots, and onions. Other vegetables that work well are mushrooms, peppers, squash, courgette, frozen spinach, and okra.
  • Frittata or omelette; fry any vegetables you like, such as courgette, peppers, mushrooms, onions and peas and add some chopped boiled potatoes, add some whisked eggs and bake in the oven until cooked through. You can also add cheese and herbs for extra flavour.
  • Make homemade pizzas with a pitta bread, spread with tomato puree, and add any combination of chopped vegetables, fish, and meat you like, like ham and mushroom, ham and pineapple or tuna and sweetcorn. Sprinkle with some grated cheese and bake or grill until the cheese has melted.

  • Plain yogurt with frozen or canned fruit.
  • Slice of toast, crumpet, or scotch pancake.
  • Oatcakes or rice cakes with peanut butter or soft cheese.
  • Pop your own popcorn.

What to do if you’re still struggling?

If you’re still worried that your food will run out before you have money to buy more speak to a member of the team, there is more support available. We can arrange for this conversation to be private away from your child if you would prefer.

Useful resources, websites, and recipes

The British Dietetic Association’s Information Sheet:

BBC Budget family meal plan:

Jamie Oliver Budget Friendly Recipes:

Jack Monroe Cooking on a Bootstrap Recipes:

Coeliac UK:

BBC Energy Saving tips:                                  

Avoiding food waste:

Contact details

You can contact the Children's Diabetes Dietitians on

Expert advice and information about children and young people's type 1 diabetes can be found at: