7 top tips to eat healthy on a budget
Doing your grocery shopping at the local whole food supermarket might feel intimidating with minimally stocked shelves and witty brand names on bio degradable packages. In this setting, clean eating might also feel beyond your pay cheque but that's no reason to give up on your desire to eat healthy, nutritious food. So here we have 7 top tips to eat healthy on a budget. That's right you can eat healthy, clean food consistently, without breaking the bank.
It's safe to assume that the price of food can have in impact on the choices you make as you walk around the supermarket doing your groceries. And sadly it's not your imagination that healthier food is more expensive as a recent Cambridge University study found healthy foods to be three times as expensive per calorie as unhealthy foods. But that's no reason to run through the sweets and junk food isles filling your trolley to the brim, because it is probably easier than you think to eat clean on a small budget. You just have to get savvy, and here's how.
1. Eat according to the season.
During the harvest when there's plenty of a product, the price goes down. The best part of eating seasonally is that fruit and vegetables taste so much better and they are more nutritious because they have been grown and picked in their prime, with less need for any artificial assistance. Eating the same food week in, week out, also gets boring fast. This can sometimes be a factor as to why people's diet yo yo's from being healthy to unhealthy so eating seasonally will encourage you to be more creative and increase the diversity of your meals. If you're unsure what's in season, as we have become so used to being able to eat any food all year round, ask someone in the store.
2. Not everything has to be organic
That organic label obviously adds a little more to the price of each item and although it's for a good cause, it's not always necessary. There are a group of foods that are deemed the "dirty dozen" and another known as the "clean 15" the former are notorious for containing pesticides, and the latter are awesome foods that have thick skin so they manage to protect themselves from those pesky chemicals! Check out the list that will help you to decide when you can skip on the organic option.
3. Buy in bulk
This is possible with online shopping and in store. Expensive flour or oils are worth checking out online and can make a real difference, especially if it's a product you know that you will use often. In stores, some supermarkets have 'bulk bins'. These are kind of like the pic n mix sweets stands you find at the cinema, but with loose whole foods such as chickpeas, lentils, nuts and rice. By filling up a bag with exactly what you need it cuts out some of the packaging costs for the store and you get the benefit of the savings! Bonus!
4. Shop store brands
It's possible that store brands of products like tinned tomatoes or beans contain less sugar than other brands and the super value options are extremely cheap. It's also possible that they have an organic range that are cheaper than the better known brands but are just as sustainable. However this requires a little bit of time and consideration because you'll need to check the labels and compare ingredients. But once you know the products that don't sacrifice quality for the price then you can easily make these regulars on you shopping list.
5. Don't be afraid of freezer convenience.
The frozen food isle doesn't purely contain breaded finger food, desserts and pizza, you also find an abundance of veggies and fruit. Although fresh produce is great, generally the vegetables and fruit are harvested when it's in season and then frozen so you still get the benefit of tasty produce while being super convenient! If you find yourself throwing out fresh veggies because you didn't manage to use them up before they went bad, then this is also a good option for you and means you'll always have healthy things on hand to add to your meals to bulk them up.
6. Make your own snacks
Mid morning munchies get the better of everyone once in a while but fresh smoothies, snack packs of fruit and breakfast bars aren't the cheapest things to buy when you need something to fill you up on the go. Try baking your own snack and treats and you could save some money while making healthier alternatives with less of the artificial stuff. Even just having some cut up carrots and cucumber on hand will mean you have some healthy snacks you can grab quickly and be eaten anywhere.
7. Plan to have leftovers
Leftovers don't have to be the cast offs of a meal you didn't finish, actually planning to have food left over is a good idea. Make the most of the seasonal food produce by stocking up on it to cook a bulk batch of a recipe that you can store in the freezer for another meal next week. Making a large quantity to freeze for another time also helps to minimise your own food waste and gives you healthy back up options that you can defrost in the microwave.
Next time you are debating about whether or not eating healthy is worth the extra pennies, apply our 7 tips to help you minimise the costs. If you're still weighing it up then ask yourself if your well being is worth it? Unhealthier food might be cheaper but it will probably leave us feeling less satisfied or full despite the amount of calories consumed, so it sounds like a no-brainer to us. I love to make sure people know eating healthy is possible on any budget, so share your tips with all of us in the comments below!