By Della Cox, Student Dietitian
Trying to eat healthy on a tight budget? We’ve got you! This blog post has everything you need to know about how to seek out nutritious yet inexpensive foods with 8 of our best hacks for healthy eating on a budget.
1. Buy in bulk.
Buying in bulk is usually more economic, especially for pantry staples such as rice and oats. Although a large bag of rice may appear more expensive at first, the cost per unit is lower than its smaller packaged counterparts, meaning that you will save money long term. To ensure that you are selecting the most affordable option, check and compare the cost per 100g section on the price tags of different products. However, just ensure that you will have adequate storage and consider whether you will consume the product before its expiration.
2. Check for sales or reduced items.
Keep an eye out for when your favourite products go on special and stock up then, to ensure that when you need it, you don’t pay full price! Additionally, don’t be afraid to purchase products that are discounted because their expiry date is approaching – if you don’t think you will consume them in time, pop them into the freezer until you are ready. This will extend their quality.
3. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are often just as nutritious as fresh produce, if not better, as the quality is often “locked-in” when the food is frozen! The freezer section is forevermore expanding – these days you can find anything from stir-fry vegetables to chopped garlic and even herbs! An additional benefit of frozen produce is that it lasts much longer than fresh produce, which usually only lasts from days to a week or two. Not only does this reduce food waste (bye-bye floppy carrots and forgotten bags of spinach!), but it saves your hard-earned money from ultimately ending up in the bin.
4. Purchase produce that is in season.
If you prefer fresh produce, familiarise yourself with the harvesting seasons of different fruits and vegetables. Produce that is in season is often tastier, fresher and more affordable. Here is a great resource to check what produce is in season now – http://seasonalfoodguide.com
5. Seek out affordable alternatives.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive! Can’t afford fresh salmon fillets? Tinned salmon is just as nutritious and costs only a fraction of the price! Instead of buying snack-sized bags of popcorn, why not try popcorn kernels? Simply heat them in a frying pan or in the microwave for a healthy snack within minutes.
6. Incorporate plant-based protein sources.
Plant-based protein sources include legumes such chickas peas and kidney beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, and tempeh. These foods are high in protein and fibre and are a fantastic, inexpensive alternative to animal-based products like red meat and poultry.
Della’s Savy Kitchen Hacks:
- Add a handful of chickpeas to your salads and wraps.
- Instead of chicken, try tofu the next time you whip up a stir fry.
- Cut down on beef mince by including some black beans, kidney beans or lentils into dishes such as spaghetti bolognese or burrito bowls.
7. Make your own dressings and sauces.
Store-bought dressings and sauces are often expensive and laden with unnecessary amounts of sodium and sugars. It’s easy to make your own at home!
Della’s Savy Kitchen Hacks:
- Whisk up some olive oil, lemon juice, and a drizzle of Dijon mustard to make a delicious salad dressing.
- Blitz and simmer some diced tomatoes or a jar of passata with some garlic and dried herbs to make a tasty pasta sauce.
8. Shop online.
Do you often exceed your food budget by adding in unplanned items during your grocery shop? Tackle this by shopping online instead! Not only can it eliminate temptation, but you can view the balance as you shop to ensure that you don’t overspend.
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