I often hear people say that it is hard to eat healthily on a budget and that fruit and vegetables are so expensive. They are partly right if you shop in the wrong places and are not savvy about what to buy, how you use your ingredients and if you let things go to waste and end up throwing them out! In this blog, I share my top 10 ways for eating healthy on a budget.
10 Ways to Eating Healthy On A Budget
1: Grow Your Own
There is something unbelievably satisfying about creating a meal from the produce you have grown yourself, it just seems to taste better for some reason. Not only is it satisfying, but it can save you heaps on your grocery bill. Keen gardeners will be able to produce impressive crops, but even if you don’t have particularly green fingers, there are plenty of plants that need minimal tending like lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and herbs which can all be grown in a pot even if you don’t have space for a garden. (Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash)
2: Shop Local
Support your local fruit and vegetable store for fresher produce and cheaper prices than the supermarket. You can even take it one step fresher and shop at your local fruit and vegetable market (if you have one nearby) – not only is it great to support your local vendors selling their fresh produce, but you’re going to have more money in your pocket to spend on other things.
3: Eat Seasonally
You will notice that the price of certain fruit and veg fluctuates greatly throughout the year. These will be seasonal items that are harder to grow at certain times of the year. Sometimes they will have to be imported during off season, affecting their price and quality. So shop the items that are in season for freshness and the best savings. (Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash).
4: Make From Scratch
When buying a number of ready-made sauces and recipes mixes a week, the cost can quickly add up. Instead, invest in some pantry staples like seasonings, herbs and spices, soy sauce, honey, ginger and garlic, then make your own sauces and meals from scratch. Once you get the hang of it, they will definitely taste better than the stuff from the packet or jar anyway, AND you know exactly what ingredients have gone into it.
5: Make In Bulk
Combine the power of locally bought seasonal produce, with making your own concoctions from scratch and you will be set all year round. Buy those seasonal vegetables in bulk, then create your own recipe bases that you can freeze for later in the year. Think passata, bolognese or pizza sauce, barbecue sauce, curry pastes, relishes and basics that you can build more complex flavours from – a great tip is to freeze them in silicon muffin trays (or lined muffin trays) rather than ice cube trays as they offer a bigger size which are more convenient to use down the track. These ideas will definitely help you with eating healthy on a budget.
6: Freeze Seasonal Produce
If you don’t have time to make the recipe bases while the produce is in season, then simply buy it when fresh and freeze it. Then you can enjoy your favourite fruit and veg all year round – think beans, peas, corn, lemon and lime juice and rind.
7: Bulk It Out
Lentils and legumes are a great way to make a meal go further for a small amount of money. The great news is that not only do they also taste great by adding a variation to your standard meals, and are also super good for you. Try using dried lentils and legumes and soaking them before cooking to reduce the sodium content from a can. Otherwise, if using canned, ensure you rinse them really well which will remove about 60% of the sodium content.
8: Go Vegetarian
Try to ditch the meat 3 times a week and choose vegetarian options instead. Meat can be expensive, so instantly reduce your grocery bill by buying less of it. There are so many amazing vegetarian recipes out there, check out my Veggie Burgers w Roasted Cauliflower or Three Bean Nachos and you won’t even miss the meat! (Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash).
9: Shop Less
If you pop into your local Four Square or supermarket every couple of days then you will end up spending more, as you buy more than you need. Instead, try and do a monthly or fortnightly shop for your pantry basics and then only shop once a week for your fresh items.
10: Plan Ahead
Make a plan of what meals you are going to cook each week and create a shopping list of the ingredients you require. This will mean you only buy the items that you need and you won’t have ingredients go to waste in the fridge which you end up throwing out. Also, if you go shopping without a list you are likely to buy more than usual and forget the essentials.
As you can see, eating healthy on a budget is certainly possible. With a few small tweaks to your routine, you will be creating delicious, healthy meals that won’t break the bank, all year round. Just start with one or two off the list above and slowly introduce more as you get the hang of them – eating healthy on a budget made easy! 🙂