One of the questions that is asked most frequently amongst budding dieters, is how can I eat healthily when I’m on a tight budget? A lot of people associate healthy eating with a larger cost, and the need to buy fresh luxury items every day or two in order to keep everything within date when actually, the need to spend a lot of money if you’re wanting to eat healthily is a common misconception. It’s easy enough to eat healthily for no more than the average food shop would cost, if you just do your research and shop cleverly.
Why is it Important to Eat Well?
When people say, “eat well”, it doesn’t necessarily mean living on a diet of smoothies and salads alone, it simply means giving our body exactly what it needs. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be restrictive, and it can actually open doors to feeling better, cooking more experimentally and losing a few pounds. The reason we aim to eat a balanced diet, is simply in order to give the body all of the nutrients it needs in order for it to work well. Eating healthily is also linked to healthier organs, better moods and more energy. It’s all about feeling and being healthy at the end of the day, and that isn’t a luxury for those who have excess cash.
Be Clever with Your Produce
Buying fresh produce, such as fruit and vegetables, can be a lot cheaper if you buy it when it’s in season. If you’re a massive fan of winter veg for example, why not stock up on it when it’s on offer, at the height of its season?
Well the reason why a lot of people don’t do this, is because as I’m sure you’re well aware, fruit and veg has a fairly short shelf life, and the use by dates come around all too quickly. What a lot of people don’t realise, is that it’s actually fine to freeze your fruit and veg, and either defrost it prior to cooking, or cook it from frozen. A lot of people with poor diets blame the selection of ready-made frozen foods that is on offer to them in the supermarket, but you can in fact, freeze fresh produce and consume it well after its use by date because of it. Sometimes, the more you know, the more you save!
Plan and Prep in Advance
You don’t have to be an avid gym-goer in order to master the art of the weekly meal prep. Planning your meals in advance is a great way to reduce your waste, eat healthier, and save money on the weekly shopping bill. If you were wondering what you need to do to sell your house fast on a budget, what would you do? You’d research the best ways to do it, and act accordingly. It sounds like a big jump, but the same principals apply when you’re wanting to eat and buy healthily, without spending a lot of cash.
Start by researching a variety of cheap meals you can make for breakfast, lunch and dinner with all healthy ingredients. Once you have a list, make a menu for the week, and plan your food shop solely around the said menu. It takes a little bit more time and effort than simply meandering around the shop, picking up the cheapest things and sticking them in the trolley, but it’s well worth it. Having a well planned and prepared meal schedule and list of ingredients for the said schedule will make the shop itself quicker and cheaper, and will ensure that you’re eating all of the right things.
Don’t Throw Away Leftovers
And no, I’m not talking about keeping the scraps on your plate. However, by being more conscious about how you can use your leftovers, not only can you make multiple meals and therefore save yourself money, but you’ll also massively reduce the amount of food waste that you personally produce.
For example, if you make a large portion of chilli, and it doesn’t get eaten all on the same day, don’t throw it away! Simple by packaging it up into Tupperware and putting it in the freezer, you have a ready-made meal ready to be defrosted and eaten the following week.
Likewise, if you make a chicken dinner and there’s chicken left over, why not make a meal of chicken and rice or a chicken soup out of it? Waste not, want not!