If I counted the number of times people have said to me that they can’t afford to eat healthily because it’s too expensive, then I would have definitely lost count by now. A lot of people find the idea of eating healthily extremely daunting because not only do they have to give up their beloved junk food and sweets, they also think you have to spend a fortune!
Whilst I agree that healthy eating is more expensive than buying frozen chips/chicken nuggets, it also doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg – there are definitely tips and tricks you can use to enjoy eating well without having no money left for anything else. Eating healthily doesn’t mean you have to fill your trolley with tonnes of fancy super-foods whose names you can’t even pronounce (although some of them are great to have lurking in the cupboard for a bit of experimental cooking from time to time). Instead, it is better to go back to the basics and JERF: Just Eat Real Food (Ref: I Quit Sugar).
I am going to share with you a few of my favourite tips in order to get you started and help you along your healthy-eating journey:
This may sound obvious, but, in my opinion, meal-planning is one of the most important aspects of eating well and sticking to a budget. When you don’t plan your meals for the week, it is so easy to go off-track, especially when you get home after a long day at work and don’t know what to eat so you quickly order a takeaway… money = gone. Planning your meals allows you to reduce food waste and stay healthily even when temptation hits.
Buy/cook in bulk and freeze!
When I cook, I never just make one portion – instead, I make up to 4 portions of the meal and freeze the other 3 to use at a later date. Buying in bulk for certain foods really reduces the cost, especially for meat/fish… you simply just need to freeze the protein into portions and get them out of the freezer in the morning when you want to use them for dinner.
Eat foods in season
This is so important to reducing costs when eating healthily – fresh fruit and veggies that are in season are SO much cheaper than buying imported goods! You can also buy meat that is in season (especially lamb and turkey). Obviously some countries are better for buying in season foods than others, e.g. Australia grow a lot more of their own fruit than the UK. But then UK have a lot more root vegetables… so play around with what you’ve got! Not only will your food shopping be cheaper, but the food you’re eating will tend to be much better quality.
Reduce food-waste: use your leftovers
I find leftovers often turn into some of the most exciting and delicious meals. Never throw away the food on your plate if you are too full to finish – save it! SO many dishes can be made by using leftovers alongside your pantry staples… for example: omelettes, pancakes, soups, salads and lots more! Once you get comfortable with cooking, it’s easy to just throw lots of random ingredients into a pan and see what comes out on the other side. And before you get to that stage, there are tonnes of recipes online that teach you how to use your leftovers. One of my favourite childhood memories is when my dad used to make bubble and squeak on a Sunday morning with all the leftovers in the fridge… so don’t throw away those scraps of cabbage next time because they can turn into something scrummy!
I hope I have helped to shed some light on ways to eat healthily without breaking the budget – you don’t have to buy lots and lots of weird ingredients. Just EAT REAL (unprocessed) FOOD :)