Health foods aren’t known for their low costs.
Organic fruits and vegetables, wild-caught seafood and vegan alternatives to meat can cost a lot of money, especially when purchased on a weekly basis.
But nourishing your body with the right vitamins and minerals doesn’t have to drive you into bankruptcy.
With a little planning and smart thinking, eating right on a budget isn’t as difficult as it first seems.
Freezing Seasonal Produce
Fresh fruit and vegetables are much less expensive when they’re bought in season.
Fresh produce purchased at the wrong time of year can drive the costs of your weekly shop up very quickly.
A great trick that’ll save you a lot of money is to buy fresh seasonal produce in bulk and then freeze it, ready to use as and when you need it.
Freezing seasonal produce will also allow you to store foods that aren’t available all-year-round, ensuring that you’re able to access tasty fruits and vegetables whatever the season.
Take Advantage of Expiry Date Sales
Organic meats and wild-caught fish, free from the toxins and hormones that their farmed counterparts contain, can cost a considerable amount of money when bought often.
Thankfully, supermarkets are known to sell such foods at discounted rates as they near their expiry dates.
I’ve picked up whole organic chickens for as little as a couple of pounds in the past simply because I went shopping at the right time of day.
Aiming to plan your weekly shop around these times can save you a lot of money.
And if there’s anything that you don’t intend to eat before it reaches its expiry date, just freeze it until you’re ready.
Bulk-Up With Whole Grains
Any grain-based food that is white, like bread, rice and pasta, is quickly metabolised by the body, causing blood sugar levels to spike and appetites to linger.
That’s because white grains are much more refined - they don’t contain as many nutrients as their whole-grain counterparts.
The brown husks found on the outsides of grains are packed full of goodness, giving grain-based foods their brown pigment.
Opting for whole grain foods will not only leave you fuller for longer, but it’ll also keep your blood sugars at a stable, healthy level.
Grains are also a great alternative to meat.
Excessive consumption of animal products can contribute to a whole range of nasty illnesses.
Whole grains are a cheaper, healthier and more ethical source of protein that bypass all of the health concerns that come with meat and dairy.
Eat What You’ve Got (Before Buying Anything New!)
How often do you find yourself throwing away out-of-date food?
There’s a simple solution to this problem. Eat the food you’re buying, before it passes its expiry date and starts turning blackened and furry.
It’s easy to assume that you haven’t enough ingredients to cook with as the end of the week nears, but getting creative with your meals by using the foods you do have can save you a lot of money.
If you’re repeatedly throwing away mouldy food, perhaps you need to broaden your culinary horizons a little and be adventurous with what remains of your weekly grocery shop.
Supercook makes cooking with little ingredients really easy.
All you have to do is type in the foods that you have and Supercook will show you which recipes you can use.
Simply eating what you have before buying anything new can save you a lot of time and money.
Planning your meals ahead, deciding what you’ll be having each night of the week, is a really easy way to make sure you’re eating right without spending too much on groceries.
Rather than piling different foods into your basket that may never be used, planning ahead will ensure that you only buy what you’ll need for that week.
Planning ahead also allows you to monitor your nutrient intake.
You’ll be able to ensure that you’re eating well, tweaking your eating habits to boost your health and your energy levels.
Make Your Own Condiments
Shop-bought sauces, salad dressings and and dips are jam-packed full of preservatives and hydrogenated fats that are catastrophic for your health.
Mayonnaise, for example, is often prepared with hydrogenated soybean oil, a harmful trans fat found in many processed foods.
As the World Health Organisation writes in their 2013 report, ‘Consumption of trans fats is associated with an increased risk of diseases, including heart disease, as well as stroke and diabetes.’
Making your own condiments can be a great way to save both your money and your health.
Mix extra virgin olive oil with avocado oil, balsamic vinegar, chives and raw garlic for a punchy, tasteful salad dressing at a fraction of the price that supermarkets charge (and without any of those nasty preservatives!)
Getting creative with your cooking is a fun and effective way to improve your health, save your money and take your culinary skills to a new level.
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