Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
There’s a common misconception that to be healthy you need to spend an arm and a leg but with a little planning and by choosing what you buy carefully its easy to eat well without over spending.
I have learnt alot about living on a budget since moving from my parents into my own home and along the way have picked up a few tricks that make eating healthy easier and cheaper. Read on the find out my top tips..
Plan you meals
I used to love looking in cookbooks and buying the whole ingredient list without thinking about what I would use the rest of them for. This meant I had loads of expensive ingredients in my cupboards left over that I would never need again. What a waste of money! Now I have learnt to cook simple recipes that use similar ingredients or cupboard staples that will last a while.
I like to buy lentils, pasta or rice in bulk as these keep well in the cupboard and make a variety of lovely meals. Tinned items such as chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and beans are cheap, great value for money as they last and can be used of lots of recipes. Before I go shopping at the weekend I like to decide what to eat during the week and write a list based on that. This stops me being sidetracked into buying tasty looking things or going off recipe.
There’s nothing healthier or better than fresh veg and seeing as it’s so cheap who needs meat!? We hardly eat meat during the week now, just because it’s expensive and often goes off quickly.
Buying loose fruit and veg is usually cheaper and you can get just the right amount you need instead of being enticed into buying more in bulk just because its in a packet. Our store cupboard staples are sweet potatoes, red onions, broccoli, peppers, mushroom and courgette. These are generally in most of our meals or salads as they offer so much variety. Sometimes I buy avocado and spring onions as there are in a few recipes and lunch ideas I make.
Buy Seasonal Fruit
I find fruit goes off quickly so can sometimes be less economical for your money. I buy fruit that lasts longer and can be left to ripen such as apples, bananas and kiwis. Again I try to buy loose fruit to keep the cost down but usually things like apples or lemons are cheaper in a bag. I love berries but find they go off quickly so recently I have been investing in frozen berries as they last a while and can be used in smoothies and ice creams. Try to stick to what fruit is in season around the time, this will not only taste fresher but be cheaper too! Farmers markets or the local Saturday market can often be home to some bargain seasonal fruits.
Nut butters – Make your own
I love nut butters but they can be expensive especially as I go through a lot. To save money I make my own almond butter, at a fraction of the price of a jar. I buy a bag of almonds at just over £1 then roast them for 10 minutes before whizzing them into a smooth butter in the food processor. This keeps for around a week in the cupboard but I often use it all before the end of the week anyway.
Don’t be fooled by certain trends in eating, they are often expensive and might not fit in with your regular weekly meal plans.
Although some health foods aren’t good value for money, certain things I would rave about and would say are worth investing. I buy chia seeds in a large bag for around £4, this lasts months and I use them almost every day in my breakfasts, smoothies or energy snacks. It all depends on what you use and like, there is nothing wrong with investing in certain health foods if use them often. Quinoa is another I would say is worth the investment, a large packet keeps in the cupboard and can be used for lunches or dinners making it worth the money.
I try to make recipes that can be reused and reheated for lunches or another dinner to spread the cost. A good example of this is the broccoli fritters I make using the Hemsley & Hemsley recipe. I make a large batch of around 12 fritters and eat a couple there and then with sweet potato fries then freeze the rest ready for another meal or reheated with a salad at work. This way the cost per meal goes down and by using fresh ingredients its a healthy and nutritious meal.
Buy coconut oil on offer
I use coconut oil in almost every recipe, it has amazing health benefits and is so much healthier than other oils. A large jar lasts ages so is a great investment, I usually grab one whenever they are on offer, which is around £6.
So with a little forward planning and carefully choosing what you buy eating healthy on a budget becomes easy. I like to think of it as a habit rather than chore to eat well.
I hope this post has given you some ideas for how to eat well on a budget, I would love to hear your tips too, comment below or tweet me your top tips!