Hey dear! Wanna learn a trick? Keep reading!
How can you eat healthy on a budget? Let’s get savvy and pop some tags in the supermarket! Here’s my tips on how to shop smarter not harder, when it comes to healthy eating and shopping on a budget;
What to buy….
Hot Tip: Spend most of your shopping money on fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh meats, seafood and dairy, opt for whole grain bread and pasta, avoid processed and canned food in that order.
- Recommendation is to put fresh fruit and vegetables on top of your grocery list. Buy seasonal fresh produce, work with the ingredients that are on currently on sale in the supermarket and plan your meals accordingly around that.
- Proteins derived from meat like chicken or fish or plant based protein derived from things like kidney beans and dried lentils.
- Dairy; milk, cheese, greek yoghurt.
- Always opt for whole grains, whole grain bread and pasta- if you want to eat healthy and lose weight incorporate more whole grains into your diet.
- Avoid processed packaged or canned food with high fat and sodium content. Avoid the middle aisles like the plague people, including pre-packaged frozen food, frozen meals and junk food aisles. Check out the organic aisle as they offer more foods made with fewer preservatives and less sodium and you may just be pleasantly surprised at what healthy surprises you can find!
Create a meal plan around the seasonal produce or sale items
Preparation is key. Instead of shopping for groceries based on a weekly meal plan, consider planning your meals around what’s on sale that week or seasonal produce, whether it be fruit, veg and protein. Local produce that is season is generally cheaper and usually at it’s peak in both in vitamins, mineral and nutrient content. This will help you save money and inject some creativity on ways how to add fruits, vegetables and protein into your diet. Don’t forget you can also freeze it!
Go to the farmers markets at the end of the day
My partner and I often go to South Melbourne Markets on Sunday after 3pm, this is when all the vendors heavily reduce and discount their items and you can score some great deals with beautiful fresh produce for the week ahead. The vendors want to unload as much as possible before they close and commence trading later in the week. I would also recommend taking cash to the farmers markets, as the vendors are more likely to give you a better deal when you give them cash.
Create a meal plan for the week
Before you shop for healthy, budget conscious food items, create a meal plan. If you have a specific idea of what you plan to cook, then carry a shopping list at the grocery store. This will help you spend less money and stay on track with your healthy eating plan. In addition to creating a meal plan, keep a food journal. The journal helps you monitor your food intake, improve your diet, and stick with healthy foods long term.
Keep your fridge and pantry in check
Keep your fridge and pantry organised to help minimise food wastage, labelling is a perfect way to keep things in check or keep a list of current items in your fridge and work with that. Make sure you check what is in your freezer and pantry inventory weekly and make sure you eat what is in there to reduce waste.
Embrace whole grains
Beans and whole grains like quinoa and brown rice are an inexpensive way to bulk up meals. Try quinoa a super grain because of it’s high protein content.
Try less expensive cuts of meat
Look for meat on sale and freeze it. Opt for chicken thighs or tenderloins instead of chicken breasts if you are making a curry, stew or casserole.
Replace meat with other proteins
Eating less meat is good for your health and a good way to save money. Opt to have at least bare minimum 2 days a week where you eat other protein sources such as canned tuna, eggs and legumes. These are all cheap and nutritious sources of protein.
Allocate a day to prep a few meals
Preparing food in advance is a step in the right direction towards eating healthy, it’s also a good way to ensure you are eating what’s in the fridge and freezer to minimise food wastage. Sunday is the perfect opportunity to cook say two meals for the week and voila there is a few lunches or dinners for the week easy!
Choose whole foods always over processed foods
Always opt for whole grains, whole grain bread and pasta- if you want to eat healthy and lose weight incorporate more whole grains into your diet. Whole grains like oats are cheaper per serving size than most processed cereals.
Stop buying junk food
Cut junk from your diet! Junk food is packed with loads of unhealthy ingredients, sugar, sodium and preservatives and can also be expensive.
Cook at home
Cook at home, it’s much cheaper than eating out. Get in the habit to cook at home, rather than eating out last minute.
Buy your own lunch (B.Y.O lunch)
Eating out is expensive if done regularly. Opt to pack your own lunch, snacks, drinks and other meals.
Foods to buy;
- Buying seasonal produce for fruit and vegetables.
- Brown rice; side dishes, rice salads, casseroles, and stews.
- Multi-grain or wholemeal bread or multigrain pasta. Buying a multi-grain or wholemeal loaf allows you to make several lunches and toast for breakfast.
- Oats; cereal, creating your own granola, deserts and muffins. Oats are higher in fibre, low in fat and might lower cholesterol.
- Spinach leaves; add to salads, egg dishes, casseroles, soups, stews.
- Eggs; need of protein, scramble with veggies, make a crepe or frittata.
- Cans of tuna; perfect for sandwiches casseroles, bakes, salads and to have with crackers. Cans of tuna are cheap source of omega 3 which is crucial for brain health.
- Dried lentils; perfect for casseroles, salads, soups, stews. Lentils are a superfood when it comes to budgeting, they can be added to minced meat and made into patties and added in soups.
- Almonds: small handful for extra protein, almonds reduce the risk of diabetes and aid in weight loss.
- Chicken breasts: A small, fresh chicken breast is cheap and filled with health, lean protein.
- Chicken tenderloins: You can stir-fry chicken tenderloins can make at least 2 dinners with leftovers for the next day.
- Lean turkey, chicken or beef mince: 500g of mince makes 2 dinner meals with lunch leftovers, when you bulk up the mince with extra vegetable or legumes such as lentils or kidney beans.
- Canned tomatoes: stews and casseroles, look for cans with no added sodium or sugar content.
- Cheese: A block of cheese can be made into frittatas, patties, soups, enjoyed with fruit or as a snack.
As always I’d love to hear your comments or health related questions that you may have. Please, do check out my Instagram page for short posts @jadinehub
Article was first seen via Healthy Eating On A Budget by Author; Sarah Curtis