Sometimes our best efforts to eat healthy are foiled by the high cost of fresh food. This doesn’t have to be the case, it can be easy to eat healthy on a tight budget you just need a few good tips and tricks up your sleeve.
One other thing to consider when choosing to buy and make healthier foods – healthy food becomes inexpensive health care! Not only that, sugar rich, processed, fast foods also take a toll on your waistline, suppress your immune system, cause havoc in our digestive system, and dull your mood. That’s why, more than ever, it’s important to reconnect with your kitchen, discover the bounty of benefits it offers, and learn just how inexpensive preparing your own healthy food can be.
Here are 7 easy ways that you can keep both your body and your bank account healthy:
- Eat in Season
Foods grown in season always cost less because they are easier for the stores to stock. Not only that they are a more nutrient dense than foods bought that are not in season. If you’re ever wondering what’s in season ask Dr Google, otherwise you ask the manager of your local produce store.
- Skip unnecessary treats
I’m all for balance and indulging in your favourite foods now and then, but when on a budget you might want to find some healthier and less expensive substitutes for your usual snacks. When we crave treat foods more often than none they are high in refined sugar, fat, or salt and come with lots of preservatives and packaging. Instead of buying these goodies, try learning to bake your own healthy versions using whole ingredients OR skip them together if you consume them on a daily basis. Treat foods are called treat foods for a reason, they are a ‘treat’, so limit yourself to them two or three times weekly.
- Cook at home
Yes, eating out is convenient, but when eating on a budget it can become problematic. When you take the time to cook your meals at home you can prepare meals in bulk, this can save time in the long run. You can also make healthier choices when cooking at home which don’t have to impact your waistline that are both tasty and healthy! It’s a good opportunity to learn about foods, spices and condiments to cook with.
- Shop at the farmers’ markets
If you have the option to buy your fruits and vegetables at a farmers’ market, do it! It’s the best way to ensure the foods you are eating are local, organic or spray free and seasonal (hopefully!). They don’t have to add transportation expenses so often are a lot cheaper than buying produce from the supermarket or produce store.
- Buy bulk whenever possible/Buy whole grains in bulk
Try buying foods such as whole grains, beans, seeds, nuts, flours in bulk. You may find these at your local farmers’ market, otherwise go to your local health food store or grocery store, they will often have a bulk section where you can scoop as much as you want and pay per grams/kilo. Shopping this way is cheaper because you skip the packaging.
- Go meat-free at least once or twice per week
Animal protein always costs the most, so even if you’re not vegetarian get creative in the kitchen, and try out one or two meat-free meal each week. You could make an omelette, frittata or a huge pot of soup, my favourite is curried pumpkin soup, made from pumpkin, chickpeas, coconut cream, onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder and turmeric.
- Do your planning
You know the saying: fail to plan, plan to fail. Whether your goal is to lose fat, increase your energy, improve your digestion or getting a healthy meal on the table for you or your family thinking ahead can save you time, money and effort. If you know you’ve got a busy week with late nights, prep dinner ingredients or meals in advance. This way you’ll also be far less tempted to spike your credit card bill ordering in or grabbing take-out.