The Diet Therapist
for trying to be healthy on a budget
Ways to make Healthy-Eating kinder to your wallet
Posted by The Diet Therapist, 27th February 2017
Healthy Eating on a Budget…
We all know that buying healthy food can be expensive – prohibitively so if you rely on buying healthy snacks, green juice and vegetables in Wholefoods! However, you don’t have to buy bags of organic almonds, cashew milk and expensive snack bars to be “healthy.” Making small swaps and integrating wholegrains, fatty fish and more fruit and vegetables can make a huge impact to how you look and feel. And small steps can be made more affordable.
Here are my top tips for eating healthily on a tight budget:
Plan Meals & Stick to your Shopping List: As silly as it sounds – it’s very easy to walk into a supermarket and get side-tracked by the huge variety of produce, leading to purchasing either expensive things you don’t actually need. Stick to what you actually plan to use for that week.
Consider Buying Online: as you can actually monitor the sub-total and see all available offers for what you want. This is great for finding the special offers on fruit and veg, and sites bring up all available items and you can order by cost. This is also a great way to get things like wholegrain flours at a cheaper price than you’ll find at high street retailers if you’re a fan of baking or want to make your own bread.
Shop at local Markets & consider Box Schemes: If you can get to a local market you’ll often find much cheaper fruit and vegetables available than in the big supermarkets – and save on “food miles.” There are so many weekly fruit and vegetable delivery box schemes around now and they can be competitively priced if you shop around (depending on how many you are cooking for and whether you want organic!)
Eat Seasonally: Eating what’s in season can be better for your wallet as well as your health. Things that have been produced more locally often don’t have the added costs of food miles and transportation, and tend to taste better too! Buying foods that are in season tends to mean that you are purchasing when supply peaks, and costs less to farmers or distributors to get to the market or supermarket.
Don’t be afraid of Frozen & Canned: Fresh is great, but tinned and frozen foods still count towards your 5-a-day. I nearly always buy berries frozen as you get so much more for your money and can also use these in smoothies and baking. Tinned salmon is still packed with omega-3 and is a great deal cheaper than buying it fresh if you are trying to watch the pennies. You can use this in pasta dishes, sandwiches and salads for a cheaper fatty-acid boost.
Pack Your Lunch at Home: It’s time-consuming and you may have to get up 15 minutes earlier(!) but this can save you money and help you make your lunches more nutritious. If you aim to get in at least 2 portions of vegetables, this will also make 5-a-day seem a lot more achievable. One way to make this easier is to cook a little extra at dinner that night before so that you can take leftovers into the office. Otherwise wholegrain wraps, vegetable or lentil-based soups with wholegrain crackers, or salads with a source of protein can be healthy options that don’t take too much time.
Replace some Meat with Plant Proteins: You don’t have to give up meat completely, but swapping some meat-based meals for plant-based options can save money, as well as adding in additional nutrients to your diet. Beans, lentils and chick peas tend to be much cheaper than meat, are cheap and are a great way to get additional fibre into your diet.