It can be expensive to eat healthily, especially when magazines and the news are telling us about the new superfood that if you eat will help you lose weight. The only bad part is that it will cost you an arm to buy. This dampens the fun now, doesn’t it? I know we’ve all had that moment when we go to the store for one thing, and end up filling up a basket (no, just me?). But, never fear, try some of these ideas that aim to help you maintain a healthy budget, while also having a healthy diet. Healthy eating can still mean you’ll be able to save some money for that holiday you have coming up!
- Plan your meals. At the beginning of the week try to loosely sort out what you feel like cooking and eating for the week. If this is too much to begin with, aim to plan your dinners at least; and save leftovers (if any!) for lunches.
- Make a grocery list AND stick to it – this helps to avoid buying things you think you’ll use and end up throwing away 6 months later…
- When you’re in the supermarket, try and stay on the outside of the aisles. The middle aisles have the packaged and processed foods, while the outside contains your dairy, fruit/veg, meats and grains.
- The oldest trick in the book is to try and avoid being hungry when you do your weekly shop.
- Buy the store brand. It’s pretty much the same thing as a known brand, but for less money.
- Stock up when something is on sale. For example, if lean beef mince is on special, stock up and stash it in the freezer for future meals.
- Don’t forget about fish! Including a few serves of fish into your weekly diet is excellent and provides the body with omega-3 fats. Frozen fish can be healthy when not covered in batter or breadcrumbs. Tinned salmon or tuna are great for lunches, but remember to opt for the spring water over the oily sauces and flavours.
- Frozen vegetables can be as good as fresh, are cheaper and will keep longer. Having a bag of frozen broccoli on hand will help when you have to chuck out the fresh you’ve kept for way too long..
- In the same way, just as your fruit is about to go off, stash it in the freezer and save it for cooking or smoothies.
- Buy seasonal! Berries are best in the warmer months and stone fruit are delicious over the Summer holidays!
- Aim to spend most of your grocery budget on the five food groups. This means buying fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy and lean meats/eggs/fish first, then the ‘extra’ items.
- Think hard about the discretionary foods and how much you really need to buy.
- Try having meat free meals throughout the week. By this I mean include legumes instead of lean meat or chicken – this will help lower your costs. Legumes can also be added to soups or stews to bulk it out and lower the meat content.
- In this day and age (I sound about 70 years old at this stage), most grocery stores offer online shopping. This is a good way to avoid the ‘wandering the aisles’ scenario where you end up spending $50 more than intended.
- Be motivated and stick to your plan!
I hope these tips help you stick to your food budget and also allow you to make healthier choices. See, healthy eating isn’t that expensive, is it?