There is no doubt that fast food is not only fast but also cheap, however eating healthy doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here are five tips for eating healthy on a budget…
Junk food itself may be the cheapest source of rich calories – but what you save on the wallet, you’ll pay for on your hips, in your medical bills, and in your self-image. Despite the messages that we get from fast food outlets, it is possible to save money on food in the short term, and on our health in the long term. Here are our best tips for healthy eating on a budget.
Preparation is the key to healthy eating habits
Prepare yourself some healthy snacks ahead of time, whether you are at home or at work. It’s very difficult to maintain healthy eating habits when we are starving.
Preparation is also the key to keeping your wastage down, and reducing the overall weekly shopping cost. Make sure that your vegetables and meat can be used for more than one dish to make healthy eating habits affordable.
Eating roast? Use the bone for soup the next day. Gearing up for a mean Chicken Korma on Friday night? Use the rest of the coriander stalks in freeze-able dipping sauce.
There are plenty of inexpensive substitutes for those horrible double-digit items on the supermarket receipt. You can eat healthily on a budget by:
- Squeezing some lemon juice in your water instead of buying expensive fruit juice, cordial and soft drinks.
- Freeze pots of yoghurt almost to fully frozen instead of buying ice cream.
- Asian-style noodles can be swapped for cheap, almost calorie-free rice noodles.
- Use textured vegetable protein or lentils in place of meat.
Speaking of meat…
Statistics show that vegetarians have a lower incidence of heart disease and cancer as well as lower blood pressure, and are generally slimmer. Meat is an expensive ingredient – you’ll be doing both your wallet and waistline a favour by giving it up a few nights per week. This is also in line with healthy living guidelines, which recommend that you eat around 65-100g of cooked red meat, 3-4 times a week.
If you start experimenting with chilli, curry and spices, there are few vegetarian dishes that can’t be jazzed up. Going vegetarian three nights a week will take quite a load off your wallet … and lighten the load on the inside of your pants as well.
Invest in a freezer
Did you know we throw out billions of dollars worth of food each year? A chest freezer will set you back a few hundred dollars – but they are a long term investment in both your health and your finances.
Having a deep freeze allows you to take advantage of all those awesome specials on bread, meat, your favourite frogurt, or whatever you like without wastage. A deep freeze allows you to keep snack- or meal-sized healthy portions for eating on the run.
Take your dollars out of that equation by making more of a meal than you need, and freezing the rest in portions. This cuts down waste, and your food bill, considerably.
Healthy eating on a budget is certainly possible … in some cases, healthy eating will naturally reduce your food bill without any extra effort (as it does when you cut down on meat consumption). The spare room in your pants will soon be taken up with extra $50 notes crowding out your hip pocket … and you could be using that money for an exotic holiday and showing off your new body in the Seychelles.