Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. With a few simple tweaks to what you buy and how you prep for the week, you could be saving hundreds of dollars every year. What many of us don’t realise is that by eating healthier, it will actually save you money. You’ll feel better, sleep better and end up spending less time with your doctor and spend more time on living a healthy life.
Here are my top 6 tips on eating healthy on a budget:
1. Adopt a “less is more” approach
When I cook or eat, I keep it simple and adopt the “less is more” principle. My main meals focus around plant-based ingredients that I can use throughout the week in different dishes. For example, roasted pumpkin can be used in a delicious salad for lunch, a nourishing soup for dinner and then put into a wellness bowl the next day. Find vegetables you love and repurpose them. Focus only on a few key vegetables each week – it will reduce the stress of figuring out what to make every time and you’ll also be getting lots of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre your body needs for optimum health and wellbeing.
2. Buy seasonal
Buy seasonal, locally grown fruit and vegetables, as they are nutritionally better for your health and also less expensive. Shop at farmers markets or join a fresh food co-op. When in supermarkets, shop around the outside perimeter for the fresh produce. Also, when shopping in the middle aisles, remember to look both high and low: this is where you’ll normally find the quality and less expensive products. Most of the foods in the middle aisles are more expensive as food manufacturers have paid big bucks for premium space.
3. Avoid fad foods
Eating healthily whilst maintaining a budget isn’t about consuming the latest superfoods such as acai, coconut oil or goji berries that can be expensive. Keep your ingredients simple and adopt a back to basics approach by eating real, seasonal food and keeping it simple.
4. Do your own cooking
Healthy eating on a budget starts in the kitchen. It’s the most powerful weapon in the fight against food waste and improving your health. If you cook your meals from scratch rather than purchase meals from restaurants or cafes, you’ll not only save money, you’ll make improvements to your health and wellbeing that last a lifetime.
When shopping, buy quality. You get what you pay for, no matter what you’re buying and a little of the good stuff can go a long way if you know the tricks to making it stretch further. I make my protein sources such as lean, grass-fed beef go further by combining them with foods like beans and plenty of vegetables.
5. Embrace a plant based Mediterranean diet
Vegetables, leafy greens, free range eggs, beans and whole grains, such as quinoa and brown rice, are an inexpensive way to create meals that taste delicious and are good for your health. I love cooking quinoa and mixing through a few ingredients such as roasted eggplant and pumpkin. To serve, I simply fold through a mineral-rich pesto which is purely delicious.
6. Minimise food wastage
Firstly, I make a plan for my meals for the week and write a shopping list. This way I can stick to a few key ingredients and I’m less likely to over shop and waste ingredients. Any vegetable scraps can go directly into making a soup or stock that you can easily freeze. I also love to batch cook my meals so I make enough to last a few days or portion out into storage containers for the freezer so that they are fresh and ready for the following week.