Healthy food can be perceived as expensive, wanting to lose weight, eat better and save money, can be challenging. I've put together my 7 top tips for eating healthy on a budget. As a busy mum, of two hungry girls, having a fridge full of healthy food options is as important to me as cost and I don't want to break the bank every month. You might already be doing some of these, if not, give them a go next time you shop and let me know how you get on.
1. Plan your meals.
Set out an intention for the week ahead, how many days will you be at home? Which days are busier than others. What are the weekly favourites, is there a new recipe you want to try? Maybe you have a fussy eater in the house? Getting the whole family involved in planning the weeks meals, means everyone gets to choose at least one day, where they will eat their favourite foods. Make a list of the key foods on the list and set a budget! Don't forget to take your list to the shops with you and stick to it, even better if you can shop online.
2. Buy and cook in bulk, less packaging & less waste.
Buying and cooking in bulk will save you time and money. Opting for loose veggies over pre-prepped. The same with a slab of cheese rather than grated or sliced, will save you sneaky hidden charges. When you look at larger packs of dry store goods (like rice, pasta or family meat packs), notice how the overall price per kilo is lower, saving on your shopping bill. Cooking in bulk will allow you to portion off meals for lunch or busier days too. Leaving some "go to" options in the fridge or freezer, will also help to reduce snacking on tempting foods when going too long between meals.
3. Perfect your Portions.
Knowing your portion sizes will save you money and inches from your waist. To put portions into perspective, (whilst we are all slightly different) the average female who's looking to lose weight, should be aiming for a palm sized amount of protein at each meal time (roughly 100g uncooked). The average chicken breast weighs around 200g. How often do you cook and serve up a breast per person? Could this be one of the missing links to that 2kilos of excess weight that won't budge? Working on your portion sizes is the foundation of effective budgeting for your shopping bill and succeeding with your fitness goals. It's not just the protein we need to portion, the right balance of veggies, carbs and fats matter too. My 6 week Nutrition Coaching course will help you to better understand your eating habits and achieve your goals.
4. Meat free Mondays.
Did I actually just type that? Yes I love meat too, but more so recently I've also enjoyed plant based alternatives. It adds variety to meal options, positively impacts the environment and will save you a fortune on your food shopping. Swapping beef mince for lentils to make a bolognase or chilli, Black beans for burger patties or Edame for pasta will also increase your overall fibre intake and help to keep your gut healthy. Need some recipe inspiration like this roasted chickpea burrito? I have a plant based ebook, with over 30 recipes that is free to download. All of my ebooks include a selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes.
5. Shop seasonal, shop freezable.
Shopping for local and seasonal fruits and veggies will save you money from hefty transportation costs. Nature is pretty good at providing us with what we need, in our environment to help strengthen our immune systems too. Frozen and tinned veg, lasts longer (no repeat shopping trips needed midweek) and is often massively cheaper than fresh, whilst still maintaining a lot of the goodness. Frozen veg, like carrots make for quick soups too, just add a little stock, boil and boom, lunch is served!
6. Cut back on condiments!
Have you ever looked at your bill and totalled up the amount you just spent on creams, sauces & mayo? Crazy isn't it and all those sauces are adding to our waist lines too. Whilst you might not want to ban them altogether, it's well worth cutting back and looking at what you really need. You can save money on jar sauces by swapping for tinned tomatoes and dry spices, oregano for Italian dishes, chilli, coriander and cumin for Mexican, 5 spice for Chinese and Garam masala for Indian flavoured bases. Adding dry spices as a touch to any meal instantly adds a little more excitement and no calories.
7. Don't blow your budget with brands.
In comparison, supermarket own brands often come with less sugar, salt and advertising costs. Paying for well known brands doesn't always mean better and I guess whilst there are some things you just might not want to cut back on, the price difference because of marketing and packaging can be huge! Breakfast cereals, condiments, tinned and frozen goods, milk, yogurt, toiletries and household cleaning products are big consumer markets. Swapping for value and lesser known brands can create a massive impact on your overall bill. Saving you money to invest in that new outfit you'll need once you get to your next milestone.
Something I missed? What's your top tip for shopping on a budget?