How many times have we been told that eating healthy is expensive, especially when we are bombarded with the news, magazines or social media telling us about a new superfood that will magically cure diseases or help you lose weight? Sure, some foods have been shown to have a correlation with positive disease improvement outcomes (we all know how good omega 3’s are), but having the word “super” in front of them, is just a marketing gimmick for you to pay an arm and a leg.
I know we all go to the shops sometimes for one or two things, but end up with a basket of items (it’s chocolate for me). But don’t fear, try some of these tips that aim to help you maintain a healthy budget, while also having a healthy diet.
P.S. Healthy eating doesn’t mean you can’t have some of your favourite goodies here and there and it can also still mean you will be able to save some money on the side as well!
Let’s get into some tips:
1. Plan your meals:
At the beginning of each week, try to plan your meals on what you/the family feel like cooking and eating for the week. If this is too much to start off with, aim to plan one meal, such as your dinners and if you have any leftovers, save them for lunch.
2. Make a grocery list and stick with it or do online Click and Collect. This helps to avoid buying things you think you’ll eat and just end up throwing them out a few months later.
3. If you’re not in lockdown/don’t want to go visit a supermarket, use Click and Collect – it’s a great way to avoid certain items. Otherwise, try to stay on the outside of the aisles. The middle aisles tend to have the packaged and more processed foods, while the outside aisles tend to have more fresh produce like fruit, vegetables and meats.
4. Try to spend most of the budget on the five food groups. In simple terms, try and buy fruit, vegetables, dairy, grains and meats (lean)/fish/eggs first and then look at those extra foods, like chocolate, lollies and chips.
5. One of the older tricks in the book is, of course, to try and avoid going shopping when you’re hungry.
6. Bit of inside advice – try and buy the store brand of items. Most items are pretty much the same (obviously some do have variations – I’m looking at you peanut butter), but for less money.
7. When things are on sale that you use often, stock up! Even if it’s meats like mince, you can freeze it for a later date for a meal.
8. Frozen vegetables can be as good as fresh, are cheaper and will keep longer. So, having a bag of frozen cauliflower/broccoli on hand will help when you have to chuck out the fresh ones you’ve kept way too long. Let’s not talk about the crisper in my fridge, I am way too guilty of this.
9. Just as your fruits can go off, try freezing them and using them at a later date. So, when the bananas are going bad, freeze them and they can be used for a banana smoothie or even banana bread at a later time.
10. Buy seasonal – berries are best in the warmer months and stone fruits are tasty options over the Summer months!
11. Aim for a meat-free meal at least once during the week. This can mean swapping red meat for legumes which will help lower your costs. They are also great to add to soups or stews for when you cook in bulk!
12. Bulking cooking can save you money! Buy when things are on sale, cook them up and then freeze them. Not to mention, it will also save you time!
13. Try and stick to the plan! Remember even 50%, is still 50% better than nothing!
I hope these tips assist with helping you budget your food while making healthier choices. Remember, you can still have some extra treat foods here and there. As you can see, there are many ways to try and eat healthier, it’s now just about putting it into motion.