How to eat healthily on a budget

How to eat healthily on a budget

I know that one of the reasons that some people are hesitant to get started with healthier eating habits is that they think it may be either difficult or expensive, especially in this time of inflation where we are seeing prices increase for almost everything.

Hidden cost of processed foods

When getting your groceries, the processed packaged foods seem to be cheaper. However, do you know that these foods are actually more expensive as affect your health in the long term. This is because they tend to be higher in sugar, fat and salt and lower in fibre, vitamins and minerals. So, when you eat large quantities of these convenience foods, there is a hidden cost; ranging from weight gain, affecting your health markers for heart disease and diabetes, tooth decay, lower energy, etc.

How To Save Money When Eating Healthily

Below I share with you my simple tips on how you CAN eat healthily on a budget.

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Buy in bulk

Buying in bulk is one of the simplest ways to save money, since you pay less per unit of that food. It’s important to choose the items you buy in bulk carefully, making sure to choose items that you are sure you will actually use, so nothing is wasted. For instance, getting a big bag of rice or flour as those will be used.

You can also choose to buy foods that have a longer shelf life in bulk as you can store them away for when you’ll need them without having to worry about it expiring. For instance, getting baked beans, canned salmon or lentils in bulk.

And buy in bulk the foods you eat regularly to save both money and time, so you won't have to constantly make trips to the supermarket. For example, get larger bags of fresh produce like peppers, carrots, pears, apples, oranges, etc.

Prepare your own meals

By preparing most of your own meals, you’ll find that you save a lot of money and are also able to eat healthier as know what ingredients have been used.

The cost of your meals eaten out adds up over time. Instead of buying breakfast, lunch or snacks daily, you can make some of these and take with you to work. When buying food on the go, our options are often limited when it comes to finding wholesome satisfying nutritious meals. So, it is a much better idea to take a packed lunch with you to work, that is delicious and healthy, costing a fraction of how much it would have cost you to eat out. Easy ideas for packed lunches are salads, wraps or soups.

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Make your own smoothies

These are many smoothies being sold in the supermarket, some contain as much sugar as a dessert. These are also more expensive. So, you can actually save money by making your smoothies at home and enjoy the refreshing drink.

Eat seasonally

Eating seasonally is a great way to save money as certain foods become cheaper in seasons when they are grown, as are available in abundance. When fruits and vegetables are out of season, they are either grown in managed conditions or transported from faraway countries, which results in us paying more for this produce. Enjoy seasonal foods like berries in the summer time, adding them to breakfast meals like porridge or overnight oats or making desserts like ice-cream or eat as a snack.

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Buy frozen produce

Often we buy foods and may not use them before the "use by date", which means we are wasting food. Some foods, which are also not seasonal foods, can be bought frozen as this gives it a longer "use by date", therefore reducing wastage and saves money. You can get a variety of fruits and vegetables frozen, e.g. peas, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, mango, pineapple, berries, etc.

Get supermarket brands

Branded foods are usually more expensive than the supermarket’s own brand of the same food. And often the taste is not that different either! When buying breakfast foods like oats or corn flakes or grains like rice, flour or pasta, try the supermarket brands to save money. Be sure to check the nutritional information on the packaging to ensure the options that you are choosing are healthy and don’t contain more sugar, salt or fat.

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Shop around

Nowadays most of the major supermarkets sell online, so you can save time and money, by checking the prices online to compare. By doing some quick research, you know what is being sold where and at what price. And with the supermarket loyalty cards or coupons you may also get extra discounts, so do look at what is being offered. If necessary, you can go to more than one supermarket to do your shopping.

Do use these simple tips when doing your grocery shopping to save money and time and make better choices for a healthier lifestyle.

Sujata Din is a Certified Health Coach and Certified Professional Cancer Coach. In this regular column for iGlobal, she offers some special insights, from useful wellness tips to recipes for creations that are not only delicious but also healthy.

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