You’ve probably heard many people say that eating healthily is expensive. Even the healthy food options you see on restaurant menus are way more costly than those ready-to-eat and fast-food meals. Today, many people are striving to keep everything on a budget. As a result, many of you may opt to buy foods that are less nutritious as they’re more affordable and easier on the pocket.
But the truth is, you don’t need to compromise your health for the sake of keeping everything into the budget. Thankfully, there are ways to help you stretch your food budget a little bit while putting healthy and nutritious foods on the table.
To begin, read below on how to eat better while sticking to your budget.
1. Plan Your Meals
Just like how you budget your household expenses, planning your meals for the week can significantly help save your food expenses. To do this, pick a day and use this to plan your meal for the next week. Make sure only to list down healthy food options. Moreover, take time to scan your food cabinets and fridge to see which foods are lacking and which ones you already have.
A weekly meal plan will help you decide which foods and ingredients you should only buy. In this way, you won’t purchase excess foods and ingredients. It’ll also be easier for you if you browse a Coles catalogue and other supermarkets and compare food products from different brands based on their price and quality. Through this, you need not drive to grocery stores and spend hours looking at different brands as you can choose top-quality and low-cost food products beforehand through your catalogue.
2. Stick To Your List
Once you’ve finalized your meal plan and grocery list, commit yourself to stick to it no matter what. Sometimes, it’s easy to get side-tracked by other food items you see at the grocery store, which could prompt you to buy foods not included on the list. So, whenever you go grocery shopping, make sure only to visit aisles that feature the food products you’re planning to buy. If you find yourself in the middle of the aisles, try to shift your attention to the products displayed on the top and bottom parts of the shelves. Most often, some groceries tend to purposely display the most expensive choices on the eye level.
3. Buy Meat Occasionally
One of the most prized food items that most people always buy is meat. While it’s a good source of protein, its price can also take off most of your food budget. So, instead of purchasing regularly, you may consider buying cheaper and healthier food options that are excellent protein sources. Some of these are eggs, tofu, legumes, beans, and others. You may save the purchase of meat for special occasions or if you wish to treat yourself.
4. Start Your Own Garden
All the money you spend on buying vegetables, fruits, and herbs can be saved if you harvest them from your own garden at home. If you have a spacious backyard and still thinking of productive ways to use it, you can start planting vegetables and herbs, which you often use when cooking and preparing meals. You get to save money and guarantee that you’re eating freshly harvested produce that’s healthier. But before planting vegetables and herbs, ensure to check your soil and weather first and see which seedlings can survive in your area.
5. Cook At Home
While ordering take-out food is easier, time-efficient, and more convenient, it can also be costly. Preparing and cooking meals at home is a lot cheaper than eating out. As you see, when you dine out, not only are you paying for the food, but you’re also paying for the restaurant’s labour, service charge, and other additional fees. Meanwhile, if you prepare and cook your own food, you only need to spend on the ingredients, plus you also have control over the nutrients of your food.
When cooking meals, you have the option to cook once for the entire week or cook one type of meal every day. Cooking large portions for the whole week may be suitable for people who don’t have the time to prepare meals every day. If you have leftovers, you may freeze them or reheat them and eat them again for the next meal.
6. Only Shop For Fresh Produces In Season
Purchasing fruits and veggies that are in season are way cheaper than buying the out-of-season ones. Furthermore, produces that are in season are known to be more flavourful and nutritious as they’re fresher than the out-of-season ones that are frozen. Vegetables and fruits that are out-of-seasons are often transported from other countries or regions for days or weeks before they reach the store.
Moreover, when buying fresh produce, it’s best to buy them in bags or packs than in pieces. If you purchased more than you need, you may use them for your next meal or freeze them on your fridge.
As you see, you don’t always have to drain your wallet in order to eat healthily. With the proper meal planning, making wise choices when grocery shopping, growing your own garden, and making an effort to cook at home, you’ll be able to eat better despite sticking to your tight budget.