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No Need To Tighten Your Belt: Healthy Eating On A Budget

Posted Feb 26 2012 4:50pm

Healthy Eating On A Budget

When it comes to healthy eating, resistance often strikes in the form of “it’s too expensive, I can’t afford it…”.  I hear it all the time from clients and friends. Rest assured, there is a solution, but it does not come in the form of a pre-packaged brightly coloured box.

“So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health” – A.J.Reb Materi

Like everything, healthy eating is a matter of choice. We get results where we focus our attention. If we neglect our health now we will most certainly pay for it later. Spend your pennies and your time wisely – your health and your wallet will thank you for it.

 

Top 10 tips to help you eat healthy food on a budget:

  • write a shopping list and keep to it. Here ‘s my comprehensive list to keeping your (vegetarian) kitchen stocked
  • buy dry goods such as grains and beans in bulkbuy local food
  • buy seasonal and local. Rather than paying for your apples’ air-fare from some exotic land, buy locally grown produce and you’ll save not only on cost but also on quality. The less distance your food travels, the more nutrients it conserves. Support your local farmers. Their produce is cheaper and more nutritious.
  • shop on the outside rim of the supermarket – keep away from the pre-packaged goods in the middle isles. You’ll see that by spending less on pretty packaging you have a lot more to spend on fresh, whole food
  • make your own food. I know, this is a very daunting one. Start slowly. Bulk buy oats and other grains and make your own muesli . Make your own soup with chopped veggies and a few herbs. Simple is good
  • do 1 big weekly shop so you know you have enough to last you through the week. Top up with an extra veggie purchase on the way home if you need to towards the end of the week
  • eat at home. Be honest with yourself: we all know restaurants and take-aways may be nice, but if that’s where all your pennies are going, you can’t complain that healthy food is too expensive. All in moderation
  • plan your meals to save time and money. Planning ahead means less waste and, believe it or not, spending 10 -20 minutes a week planning ahead will save you oodles of time trying to decide what to cook. Here’ s a post I wrote on the art of menu planning
  • cook once, eat twice, or thrice. Cook an extra load of grains, vegetables, beans etc and combine them with different herbs, spices, sauces, chopped raw veggies the next day and even the day after. For example, you could cook quinoa porridge for breakfast and have some again the following evening with stir-fried vegetables. How about freezing some soup to have on hand instead of calling for take-away on the nights when you’re pressed for time or just can’t be bothered?
  • buy organic. I know – the price tag. However, when you eat food that is full of nutrients your body will receive  what it needs and you will actually feel full sooner. When eating refined, processed foods you eat until you are physically full as your brain does not receive the ‘full’ signal. You are then hungry again soon after as your body has still not received what it needs (you can test this by seeing how you feel after eating an organic apple and a commercially grown apple, or even baguette versus sprouted whole grain bread). You do not have to buy 100% organic overnight, have a look at EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list to see which fruit and vegetables are most important to buy organic

For further reading about this check out my series where I disclosed our weekly shopping expenses over a few months eating 100% organic.

What foods does your family buy organic, or not? How do you feel about the ‘price of healthy eating’ – is it something that prevents you from buying healthy food or have you adapted your shopping and meal preparation habits to fit it in?

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