Healthy eating on a budget
Healthy eating doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, if you do your homework healthy eating can save you money. All it takes is a little planning some scouting about and dedicating some kitchen time. Let's put the fun back into your eating.
7 steps for healthy eating on a budget
Visit the farmers' markets
First step of all you need to have an idea of the best places to shop. Every major city has at least one weekly fruit and vegetable market. This is the place to stock up on your fruit and veg. Arm yourself with a backpack, shopping trolley or solid cardboard box and start searching out the bargains. A shopping trip to the markets will cost half the price of any shopping centre experience and your food will last far longer in the fridge or freezer. Check out the Seasonal Food Guide for tips on what to buy.
Only buy what is in season
Seasonal fruit and vegetables are always well priced. Be prepared to sort through their offerings so that you are happy with each individual item. Look for the sale items and start planning your meals based on the bargains of the week. I guarantee that the fruit and vegetables sourced from the markets will sit fresh in your crisper for at least a week so stock up.
Ensure you always buy the basics
Make sure that you come home with all the basics, this way you will always have something in the fridge and be able to create a nutritious meal. I always have the following in my fridge; onions, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, broccoli, carrots, some Asian greens, mushrooms, and a range of seasonal fruit.
Look for the bargains
When buying meat and seafood only buy when it is on sale and freeze it. Whether you are buying from the markets or from the butcher and fishmonger look for the bargains. Work out how many meals you need to buy for and stock up accordingly.
Stock up on the staples - cheaply
Butter, cereal, sauces, pasta, rice, and noodles; all these dry goods can be bought cheaply from the right store. If you are fortunate enough to have an ALDI store in your area then you have found your staples heaven. Sure there might be a little less choice but the food quality is top notch and the savings are phenomenal. If you can't get to a cheap supermarket buy in bulk and stock up it is more economical this will also save you time as you don't have to shop so often.
Be flexible with your recipes
If we are buying seasonal produce and meat and fish on sale you can't always make the recipes that you want. Rather you need to be flexible so make sure you are armed with a handful of and easy recipes and commit yourself to using up your week's food supply. If you are working back late don't be tempted to grab some takeaway just out of convenience. Get home and whip up that quick chicken stir-fry; it will take 15 minutes at the most.
Cook extra dinner - so you have lunch the next day
When you cook the evening meal cook a little extra so that you have enough for the next day's lunch. Before you know it, you will be eating home prepped meals packing your lunch saving a bundle and be healthier too!
Now that you have a fridge full of food a freezer full of lean meat fish and seafood and big bowl of fresh fruit you are ready to go.
Written by Dr Naras Lapsys.
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