Yes, I’m definitely talking about your food! I often get asked how to eat healthy on a budget. Everyone always comments that healthy foods are expensive. The image above gives some incredible tips on how to start eating healthy on a budget, and i’m going to add to it and give you 5 MORE TIPS!
So here;s my 10 tips for eating healthy on a budget:
1. Meal plan and prep
You have probably noticed that I talk a lot about meal prepping and planning, and honestly it saved me so much time and money when I started doing it, and now I have healthy, nutritious, simple meals every night of the week. For example last week I made a huge batch of lentil curry, and I got two main meals out of it. The whole pot only cost me less than $10. I also waste much less food now, because I only buy what I need for that week.
2. Vegetarian food
I have been more or less vegetarian for the past month, and I have absolutely loved it (post on that another time). What I have noticed is that my food bill has decreased by about $30-$50. I still have eggs, fish and legumes, but meat is expensive, and as long as we are getting other forms of protein, then there really is no need to eat so much meat! My suggestion is to start slow with decreasing meat consumption, try doing meat-free-Mondays.
3. Buy in season
This one is a little obvious, but fruit and vegetables that are not in season will be more expensive. So I eat foods that are only in season locally. This was, not only you are saving money, but you are saving the earth! Food that isn’t in season has had to travel from a distant land, and has been stored and possibly preserved to keep it fresh. More travel=more expensive.
4. Buy in bulk
Generally food is cheaper per weight if you buy in bulk. Things that keep like rice, lentils, flours, canned goods, and nuts are good thing to buy in bulk. Of course, you need to ensure they are still in sealed containers, I know of some people that keep everything they buy in bulk in the freezer. If you have a big enough freezer you can even buy fruit and veg when its n season in bulk, then freeze it!
5. Stay away from packaged products
Packaged products (even the ones from the health food stores) have less nutrients than their fresh counterparts. Processed food has lost much of its nutritional value, so to get the most ‘bang for your buck’ nutritionally, buy fresh whole foods and prepare them yourself. Food companies will often use clever marketing ploys, fancy packaging and false claims to get you to think their product is healthy, and by doing so they hike up the prices and charge more.
6. Eat more fibre
Fibre is the stuff that keeps us regular, it bulks up our stools and helps it to pass through easily. It isn’t digested, which means its a healthy ‘filler’ for your diet. Fibre can be found in fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and whole grains. More fibre means we keep fuller, which means we spend less on food!
7. Eat before you go shopping
NEVER EVER go grocery shopping while hungry. Your good intentions will be overrun by your bodies hunger mechanisms and you will end up purchasing energy dense and nutrient poor food, which tend to be more expensive. It also means you may spend more on food in general ‘oh, I will just buy this chocolate bar to eat on the way home’, or ‘this will make great lunch’.
8. Pack your lunch
I always try to take my own lunch, it usually consists of brown rice bites, veggie lasagna, salad, wraps, sushi or leftovers. And I also take a piece of fruit, maybe some raw crackers with some homemade dip, cucumbers, carrots or nuts. I also pack my partners lunch for him. We calculated that both our lunches cost less than $5 each, and we always get more money’s worth when we bring out own.
9. Visit your local farmers market
Farmers markets generally have lower prices on fresh produce, they also often sell organic fruit and veg, which is generally cheaper than its supermarket organic counterpart. I love finding good prices on fruit and veg, then buying it in bulk and freezing it or dehydrating it.
10. Water bottle
Carry one EVERYWHERE with you. It will save you money on buying drinks while out, and means you can find somewhere to refill it for free.