Eating healthy on a budget

Eating healthy on a budget

Mar 15, 2013

Eating on a budget usually leads people to eating unhealthy and unappetizing meals. However, there are many ways to save money without having to sacrifice health or flavor. I believe that every morsel we put in our mouths should be savored and enjoyed. It should also provide nourishment and an adequate amount of energy. Having been a university student living on a budget I have figured out some creative ways to cook and eat that is kind to the taste buds, waistline and ones bank account.

 

First, jazzing up any meal is easy with dried herbs and spices.

  • Fresh herbs are pricy and will usually end up going bad before you can use it all. This is because for most recipes you only need a tablespoon or two of the herbs and the supermarket sells them as a large bunch.
  • If you do buy fresh herbs roll them up in a paper towel and put in a ziplock bag, they’ll keep longer
  • You can also freeze herbs. Once thawed you can use them as you would fresh herbs. To freeze: pick off leaves and place flat in a zip lock freezer bag and lay flat in freezer. Or, pick off the leaves, place them in ice cube trays and cover with olive oil, then freeze.
  • Jarred garlic is also cheap, goes a long way. It also makes life easier in the kitchen.

Second, frozen fruits and veggies hold heaps of nutrition and dietary fiber and are cheaper than buying an abundance of fresh items each week.

  • Buy frozen fruit (berries and bananas) and add them to a smoothie.
  • For the smoothie use natural, unsweetened yogurt. This will give it a thick and creamy consistency. Add a bit of honey for sweetness.
  • You can also add natural peanut butter for some protein. It will also make the smoothie more filling.
  • Defrost frozen veggies and add to a stir-fry with meat.

Third, incorporate brown rice into your diet.

  • Brown rice is extremely healthy, inexpensive and a little goes a long way (you can use white rice however it has less fiber and less nutrients)
  • Rice is also very versatile
  • Fried rice (add meat or veggies)
  • Rice and beans (drizzle garlic infused or your herb infused olive oil and add chic peas and diced feta)
  • Simply add as a side to bulk up any meal

Fourth, incorporate eggs into your diet.

  • Eggs are both cheap and versatile. You can do quiche, omelets, curried eggs, poached eggs, hard boiled eggs, put on crackers, toast or use to beef up a salad.
  • They are also a great source of protein and healthy fat

Fifth, buy store brands

  • Often big brands will make store brands for the supermarket. With certain items it doesn’t really make a difference (coconut milk or cottage cheese)

Sixth, buy in bulk

  • If buying in bulk for just you is too much split certain items with friends.
  • Find a whole seller (Costco or BJ’s) near you for expensive items like meats and dairy products

Seventh, go to the supermarket in the evening

  • Things are more likely to be on sale, however remember there will be fewer options too.
  • In this case buy less during each shop and go to the supermarket more frequently. Usually if you are buying a product on sale or special you should eat it the next day or so, especially meats. This will also help you from over buying.

Eight go to the supermarket full!

  • You are much more likely to buy junk food and spend more money if you are shopping on an empty stomach.

Nine, in meals with meat, half the amount of meat and add more veggies

  • This will lighten up the meal calorie wise and add fiber making the meal more filling and making the expensive meat go further.

Ten, eat foods that pack a lot of calories into a small amount

  • This will keep you full off less food.
  • Try natural peanut butter or any other type of natural nut butter
  • Great just on a spoon (in my family this is called a peanut butter lolly pop)
  • Yummy on toast or with an apple, banana or even celery.

Eleven, Eat more oats

  • Its cheap and a good source of fiber and nutrients like zinc, selenium and magnesium
  • Make a sweet porridge with honey, cinnamon and grated apple
  • Or make a savory bowl of hot oats with smoked bacon and cheddar cheese (cook bacon first separately then add)

 

I realize I have not mentioned bread or pasta on this list. This is because even though it is cheap there is almost zero nutritional value from white bread and pasta. If you do buy bread or pasta try to make it whole grain.

For more about tips on jazzing up healthy food check out my article Foodies Unite. Also, check out my healthy recipes for healthy versions of your favorite dishes!

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