There’s no denying that our food bills are becoming increasingly expensive. While this can make eating healthy more challenging, you don’t have to compromise on nutrition when eating on a budget. In this month’s blog our resident nutritionist Nicky shares her top tips for eating healthy on a budget.
- Plan your meals ahead: This will prevent any last minute rushed purchases or frequent takeaway meals which easily add up. On a saturday or sunday plan your meals for the week based on what’s seasonal and reasonably priced. If you can, cook once and eat twice. Double up your portions so you are only cooking every second day. Try using recipes with common ingredients such as the same protein (e.g. chicken, meat, fish, tofu), tinned tomatoes, frozen or fresh vegetables, rice, fresh or dried herbs and spices. You can also freeze leftovers to help reduce food waste.
- Use a shopping list:Once you have planned your meals and snacks for the week, create a shopping list with what you need and stick to it. This will reduce the likelihood of any impulse shopping and make sure you are only buying what you need. Choosing home brands can also reduce your food bill by 20-30%.
- Shop seasonally: Fruit and vegetable prices can go up and down depending on supply and demand so shop for fruit and vegetables that are in season as they will be significantly cheaper. Then base your recipes and meals off what’s available. Check out this fruit and veggie seasonality chart [https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/qldhealth-obesity-assets-2wsxr6466zvps5ujg73n-s3/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/QH_O41832_T_Seasonal_Calendar_A4_2PP_23092015.pdf]
- Use frozen fruit and vegetables: Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh. They also cost less and last longer and it also means you can enjoy your favourite fruits and vegetable even when they aren’t in season. If you are purchasing canned fruit opt for fruit in natural juice not syrup and read the labels for any added salt.
- Substitute meat for a plant protein a few times a week: Per 100g tofu and dried and tinned legumes such as chickpeas, lentils and beans are cheaper compared to meat, chicken and fish. You can either substitute meat for one of these vegetable proteins or bulk out meals by adding legumes and extra vegetables. For example adding one or two tins of lentils to a bolognese mince will make it more nutritious and extend the number of meals you can get. Easy and budget friendly plant-based meals would be things like lentil bolognese, chickpea curry and tofu stir-fry.
- Swap takeaway meals for Activate Foods meals: Most Activate Foods meals are around $10-$14 per serve and are nutritious, chef-prepared, delicious and leave you feeling satisfied. Most takeaway meals including a McDonalds burger cost more than this and easily add up. If you know you are going to be time poor or have a particularly busy week order some Activate Foods meals.
For professional advice on how to eat healthy on a budget, book in a consult with the team at Eatsense.