5 Tips for Ethical Eating on a Budget

Ethical food market

Readers, family and friends often tell me that they would like to eat more ethically and but that it’s just too expensive to eat any differently. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Looking for the free range or organic badge in the supermarket, scoping out the veggie options on the restaurant menu, and getting excited about eating a really good quality piece of meat just once or twice a week are all quirks that have become part of how I eat these days.

If you’re trying to switch to a more ethical and sustainable way of eating, here are some of the little things that I have learned along the way:

1 – Get creative with beans and legumes:

One of the easiest ways to eat more ethically is to cut right down on meat – the added bonus being that it will probably make your wallet a little bit fatter, too. Beans, lentils and other legumes can help to fill the gap. A vegetable chilli can easily be bulked up with lentils which mimic the texture of mince, whilst beans are great for beefing up soups an stews.

2 – Opt for less popular cuts of meat:

If you give up on the most popular cuts and opt for organic thighs and drumsticks instead of breasts, you can still eat high welfare chicken reasonably cheaply. You can shred the cooked meat into a curry or whatnot, although I really love roasting chicken legs in soy sauce, honey, chilli and garlic for finger-lickin’ yumminess. For pork and beef, go for brisket, neck and shoulder cuts.

3 – Learn to love your slow cooker:

I love my slow cooker – it makes even the toughest brisket taste absolutely incredible after a day of cooking on a medium heat covered in half a bottle of wine! It’s also great for slow cooking vegetable stews, curries and soups to give them a real depth of flavour. You can pick up a cheap and effective slow cooker for about £20 – £30. Check out BBC Good Food for some more creative recipe ideas!

4 – Go veggie when eating out:

Sadly lots of high street restaurants don’t source their meat and dairy very ethically, going for the cheapest option available in order to increase profit margins. This means that I tend to go for the veggie option in most restaurants, but the great news is that  eating out as a veggie is much cheaper. Veggie options have also improved so much in the last few years – check out these 10 veggie dishes that would convert any meat lover for inspiration.

5 – Buy British:

Anything produced on our little island is going to have created a much smaller carbon footprint before it gets to our plates (yay). In addition, when it comes to meat, UK welfare standards are often much higher than those in other countries – and buying locally also means supporting British business and the UK economy. You can read more on the benefits of buying British here.


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  1. June 29, 2014 / 7:15 pm

    I hardly shop at supermarkets anymore and get most of my food from RCMA markets. I definitely spend less on much better quality, ethical food and it’s shame people don’t realise how easy it can be!

    • June 29, 2014 / 7:20 pm

      I totally agree Jaye 🙂 Unfortunately I still find myself looking for a supermarket quick fix relatively often because I sometimes end up working long hours and having nothing waiting in the house means I crave convenience – but even in that case it’s still possible to eat ethically, and I hope to prove it! Thanks for commenting 🙂 x

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