So you’ve pledged your allegiance to the gods of healthy eating, but you’re not looking to sacrifice all your cash. It’s true, healthy eating CAN be expensive, but there are ways to be smart about it. And we are here to show you how! From practised planning to sensible shopping and clever cooking, being a green goddess may require a little more thought, but it’s so worth it! Here are our top tips for staying healthy on a budget.
- Plan plan plan
We can’t stress enough how important this is! Before you do your weekly shop, write down what you’re going to cook for the following week. Playing Supermarket Sweep in the grocery aisles won’t help your bank balance, so think smart and buy only what you need for your meals.
- Re-think your protein
Meat is expensive compared to plant-based proteins such as beans and legumes. We love kidney beans, black beans and chickpeas – they are all super cheap and a great source of protein. Obviously we know that not everyone will want to give up meat entirely, in which case we suggest heading to your local butcher. It may cost a little more than supermarket meat, but it will be better quality as well as being better for your insides. If you normally have meat every day, perhaps opt to have it every two or three days. You may well feel better for it.
- Head to the freezer aisle
Now what healthy food would we be able to find in the frozen kingdom of chips and ice cream, you say? Well we’re talking fruit and veg. If you like berries in your morning smoothie, buy frozen. They’re cheaper and they will last much longer in your freezer, so you won’t waste them if you don’t eat them right away. The same goes for vegetables. Much of the frozen veg in supermarkets is actually quite good for you! Don’t forget to check the label though to make sure nothing nasty has been added!
- Check out the grocery aisle
Some fruit and veg can be pretty pricey, but don’t forget that things are cheaper when they are in season, so maybe don’t go buying strawberries in December! Buying seasonally also means you’re less likely to be buying food that has travelled thousands of miles to get there, so you’ll be doing the environment a little favour there too. Well done you.
- The dirty dozen
Sounds like a burlesque troupe. In fact it’s far more exciting – agricultural genii (yeah we know our plurals) put together an annual list of the twelve most contaminated fruits and veggies on the market. This year’s winners are apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas and potatoes. So if you do choose to buy anything organic, make it these. Alternatively give them an extra good scrub before eating if you do buy them, or swap them for less dirty produce. We recommend subbing those dirty starchy potatoes, for some clean delicious sweet potatoes. How about it?
- Bulk it up
Buying supermarket items in bulk is almost always cheaper. Keep an eye out for deals and stock up when it’s cheap. This is especially great for store cupboard stuff as it will keep for ages but you can always stick fresh stuff in the freezer for a while too. This advice isn’t limited to the supermarket either! Lots of websites like Amazon have cheap deals on things such as nuts, dates, cacao powder, quinoa and more!
- Cook up a storm
While we’re talking bulk, we massively advocate cooking en masse too. Supersize your batches and you’ll have leftovers to freeze for future dinners or for tomorrow’s packed lunch.
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or an allotment, get planting! While some veggies might need a lot of attention for little yield, herbs such as rosemary and mint are easy to grow and will provide your dishes with fabulous flavours. If you don’t have any outdoor space, never fear – some herbs such as basil grow nicely inside.
Some healthy supermarket foods are actually pretty easy to make yourself. We make our own almond milk for a fraction of the price of a carton (just soak a handful of almond overnight, blend with two cups of water and pour through a cheesecloth or a sieve), without the nasty stabilisers and additives which are present in most brands. We also make our own energy balls which work out way cheaper than buying brand name versions.
So there you have it, healthy does not need to equal expensive, but it does equal delicious!
Love, D&H xx