These are the Asda Just Essentials products you should consider if you are following Slimming World or eating healthily. So many low-cost foods are unhealthy – why are biscuits cheaper than apples? Here I share with you the best ones to buy!
Many of my readers are followers of the Slimming World diet or other weight loss plans. It is also a time at the moment when we are all watching our pennies.
Energy costs have increased dramatically and where it used to be very rare to have to choose between food and heating it is sadly becoming more and more common.
Making meals on a budget using the Asda Just Essentials range
If you avoid using too much meat in meals that will always lower the cost as to get low-fat meat, unfortunately, you usually pay higher prices. That said there are some great bargains in the Just Essentials range that should not be overlooked.
Using the ingredients I list below you can make a number of meals really cheaply and all are healthy ingredients. The prices I have listed are those today (8-9-22) so are of course subject to change.
Any recommendations I have to make them healthier will be added with each item and read on to the end where I share some of my favourite meals you can make on a budget with these essentials.
Asda Just Essentials Healthy buys
There may be items I have missed or that you do not agree with but I hope this list helps some of you out! The full Just Essentials range can be found on the Asda website.
Just Essentials Fruit and vegetables
On the whole fruit and vegetables are the same whether you pay for budget ones or not, they may be smaller or not as perfectly shaped but in my opinion that should never mean you spend more on them!
Mixed peppers 3 pack £1.20.
Cooking peppers 700g for £1.35 – My pack had 7 peppers in but it will vary depending on size, a great bargain though!
Apples 500g bag for 65p, Gala apples 6 pack for 90p.
White potatoes 2.5kg for 99p – Check the size before planning your meals as they may be better for boiled potatoes than jacket potatoes depending on the size.
Mushrooms 250g pack for 50p – watch for packs without too much stalk or soil to reduce waste.
Strawberries 227g for £1.25.
Pears 500g for 45p.
Salad tomatoes, 6 pack for 78p. Cherry tomatoes 250g pack for 50p.
Oranges, 5 pack for 60p. Easy peelers, 600g for 75p.
Raspberries £1.49 for 150g – we buy these and they are as good as the usual Asda raspberries!
Blueberries 125g for 89p – I buy these and they are great!
Round lettuce 50p.
Green beans 240g for 84p – not the cheapest vegetable but still a very good price.
Lemons 4 pack for 50p – great to add to the cheap lemonade if you want to liven it up a bit! Unless you are one of those odd people who eat lemons raw?
Avocados, 4 pack for £1.25 – this is one of those things some people say is healthy and others do not but if you consider them healthy this is a true bargain!
Cooked beetroot, 500g for 59p.
Kiwis, 6 pack for 88p.
Seedless grapes, 500g for £1.27 – grapes are grapes, why would you pay extra for the Asda own brand ones? That said they are currently on 2 for £2 so if you are buying more than one pack watch out for that!
Plums 400g (approx 6-8 plums) for 68p. Great in this salad.
Dairy and eggs
Grated cheddar 500g for £2.40 – I have started using this one instead of 50% less fat cheddar and just using less! It is lovely.
15 eggs for £1.35 – they are not free range or organic but they are cheap and can make a number of meals.
Mild or mature white cheddar £3.65 for 825g.
Red Leicester £3.75 for 825g – I have used this and it is an absolute bargain and just as nice as more expensive brands in my experience.
Low-fat yoghurt 500g for 45p – whilst it isn’t completely fat-free for this price it is a great choice.
Greek-style cheese (like Feta) 200g for 70p – perfect for a salad.
Hard cheese (like parmesan) 170g for £1.60.
Cottage cheese, 300g for 70p – I love cottage cheese and this is low in fat too!
Meat and fish
Smoked or Unsmoked back bacon 300g pack £1.25 – buy one with as least fat as possible and remove any excess with scissors.
Cooking bacon, 500g for 75p – this is great value if you can find a pack that does not have too much fat in it.
Cooked ham slices are 64p for a 125g pack and £1.69 for a 400g pack – consider how much you actually need to reduce buying too much and wasting food and money.
Sausages, pack of 20 for £1.21 – whilst these are not low-fat sausages they are 194kcal for 2 sausages so if you are on a budget you can build these into calorie counting reasonably.
Pork chops 760g for £2.68 – choose one with as little fat as possible and remove the fat before cooking for the ultimate pork steak when healthy eating.
Unsmoked Gammon Joint for £3.50 – not the cheapest but for a special meal it is a good price for gammon.
Beef steak 170g £2 – whilst there are cheaper meats to enjoy this is a great price for steak and when I served it to Stu and Ben neither mentioned the quality so it must have been as good as the usual one I buy.
Beef braising steak 400g for £3.50 – perfect for slow cooking.
Beef mince 500g for £1.79 – whilst this is a 20% fat mince so it isn’t the leanest it is cheap and you can reduce calories a little by draining fat off whilst cooking.
Lean pork mince 500g for £2.35 – do you need to have beef mince? Why not try pork mince for a change?
Chicken breast fillet portions 620g for £3.38 – These will not always be perfectly breast shaped but are great value and easily used in meals requiring pieces. Even if you don’t need this much chicken simply freeze the excess.
Whole chicken for £3.10 – think how many meals you could make with that especially if you also make your own stock!
Backbone-in chicken thigh portions, 1.1kg for £1.94. An absolute bargain! Chicken breasts can be substituted in most meals for chicken thighs with just a small change to the flavour. chicken thighs are used in this Spanish chicken recipe.
Chunky chicken breast – cooked, This is £180 for a 240g pack, not as cheap as cooking and slicing your own but still not a bad price as far as cooked chicken goes.
Boneless salmon portions 400g for £4.20 – perfect if you do not mind if it is not a fillet shape or size! Perfect in this recipe.
Mixed vegetables, 1kg bag for 72p – these are great for bulking up any meal on a budget and keeping it healthy.
10 Breaded cod fishcakes for £1.10 – whilst these are not free on any diet plan as far as I am aware, at 172kcal for 2 fishcakes they are a cheap low-calorie fish addition to a meal.
10 Fish fingers for 69p – again not the healthiest but with 3 fish fingers at 150 kcal it could be a great addition without being too unhealthy.
Chicken breast fillets 1kg for £3.79 – cheaper than fresh chicken and just as healthy! Defrosting chicken tips.
White fish fillets, 520g for £2.50
Grains, Carbohydrates etc
Pasta shapes eg penne pasta 500g 35p. Spaghetti 500g for 23p.
White bread 800g loaf for 39p – whilst white bread is not as good for you as wholemeal and can not be counted as a “healthy extra b” on Slimming World it can work on many diets and with calorie counting and is a great cheap way to make a meal.
Wholemeal bread 800g loaf for 39p – better than white if you can get the family all on board! Always try to avoid waste and turn any that you will not use into breadcrumbs or freeze it for another day.
6 white rolls for 49p or 6 wholemeal rolls for 52p – are perfect for making a budget lunch and they can be counted in a calorie-counting diet easily.
Long grain rice 1kg for 48p – So many meals can be made with this – check out my meals with rice roundup.
Lasagne sheets 375g for 75p.
Noodles 250g for 75p.
Tins, Jars and Cartons
Baked beans 25p a can
Spaghetti loops 16p a can
Chopped Tomatoes 32p a can, all chopped tomatoes taste similar in recipes in my opinion!
Mild curry sauce 28p for a 440g jar – if you use this to serve 4 it is just 68kcal each and a cheap way of making a tasty curry.
New potatoes 550g can for 36p – perfect if you like these or need a cheap addition to a meal to bulk it out.
Sweet and sour cooking sauce 440g jar for 42p – a quarter of a jar is 57kcal so this can definitely be integrated into a healthy diet.
Chickpeas 400g can for 37p.
Pickled onions 440g jar for 40p – great as a healthy snack, on a salad or when making this tomato soup.
Sliced mushrooms 285g can for 50p – not as good as fresh in my opinion but good to have in for easy addition to a meal.
Red Kidney Beans, 400g can for 33p – perfect for chilli.
24 Wheat bisks for 77p – Basically an almost identical version of Weetabix for a fraction of the price!
Porridge oats 1kg for 70p – there are so many healthy breakfasts you can make with 1kg of oats and not just porridge!
6 Pack assorted maize snacks. Each of these mini bags is less than 100kcal and you can buy this pack of 6 for 62p.
6 Chocolate mousses for 72p – at 80kcal each they are a good lowish calorie chocolatey snack on a budget!
Double concentrated Orange or Apple and blackcurrant squash (no added sugar) 750ml for 41p
Diet lemonade 2-litre bottle for 26p – not as cheap to drink as squash but still a bargain!
Diet cola, 2-litre bottle for 20p – I have not tried this but for 20p I certainly will be!
40 Teabags 31p – I don’t drink tea but for this price surely they are worth trying?
Medium roast instant coffee, 100g for 83p – I am definitely going to try this Asda Just Essentials coffee, what a bargain!
Healthy recipes using Asda Just Essentials range
There are so many recipes you can adapt slightly or make entirely within the Asda Just Essentials range and most of the recipes on this site can be made on a budget like this so do remember to keep popping back. These are my favourites:
Fruit and yoghurt
Check my other healthy breakfast ideas for more inspiration.
Cheap pasta recipes
Turkey chilli pasta
Check out my other pasta recipes for more ideas.
Cheap potato recipes
Cheesy leek and potato pie
Also, check my potato tips and recipes for more ideas and how to freeze potatoes.
Cheap curry recipes
Instant pot curry or pressure cooker curry
Chickpea curry – swap vegetables for the cheapest you enjoy.
Check my other curry recipes for more ideas using the Asda Just Essentials range as a base.
Cheap recipes with rice
Asparagus pilau rice – use a different vegetable to save more money.
Check my rice recipes from around the world for more healthy and low-cost rice meals
Other cheap recipes
Sheet pan fajitas – have with rice instead of tortilla wraps, fajita mix can also be cooked on the hob or air fryer.