Eat Healthy on a Budget-Save Money on Food Without Adopting Bad Eating Habits
You eat unhealthy food, just because it’s cheap? Welcome to the club, frugality sometimes leads to developing eating habits that may seriously harm your health, but we have the solution for finding the balance.
There’s an odd principle in grocery shopping- the healthiest, organic food is usually 5 times more expensive than unhealthy junk food. So this leaves you with the choice of either spending £10 on a kilo of fruit, or 12 packs of instant noodles and when you’re on a tight budget, you might as well choose the second one.
But there go a lot of following problems- it’s unhealthy, has no nutritional value whatsoever and it’s full of dangerous preservatives, so why would you eat it? Right, because it’s cheap and you’re trying to save. Thankfully, there’s a solution to this problem now and you can finally eat healthy without spending all your money on a fancy quinoa salad.
Cut out non nutritional food
The average person starts his morning with eating cereals or cornflakes. However, the usual price of a box of cereal is around £2 and one pack of oatmeal is less than £1. Needless to say, cereals are full of processed sugars and other stabilising chemicals that carb-load you in the morning and cause sugar comas. On the other hand, oatmeal is a natural nutritional ingredient that will supply you with healthy starches and energy for your day.
The same goes for unhealthy snacks, such as chips or even fruit chips. With one kilo of potatoes for £0.75 you can make yourself healthier chips, instead of paying an average of £2.60 for the same amount of processed one. Preparing your own food is sometimes not only healthier, but also cheaper than the junk food alternative.
Go for dry foods
There are many healthy foods you can buy and cook at home for a low price that are all natural, such as beans, brown rice and many seeds. A pack of brown rice costs just under £2 and can serve you for more than a week supply of home-made food, not to mention you can use it as a compliment to anything.
Buy big quantities
For products with a long expiration date, it’s usually best to buy them in bulk, since the price per gram is usually lower. You can do that with all kinds of packaged goods, grains and condiments. So as long as you have where to store it, buying that 3 kilo rice package for £4 might not be a bad idea at all.
Substitute artificial sugar with natural
I have a friend who loves to say: “Even the worst sweet tooth can be satisfied with a banana” and this is pretty much true. Bananas are one of the cheapest fruits, have lots of natural sweetness and give you a lot of energy. You may be surprised, since most diets tend to stay away from bananas because of the amount of sugar inside and recommend lower in calories alternatives.
The reason why they are wrong is that the banana is a nature product and all of its ingredients are familiar and easily dissolvable for the human body. So if you have been following, it’s much better to spend 80p for a kilo of bananas, than £1.80 for 100g of processed chocolate.
Aim to buy season fruits and vegetables, since they are much cheaper than usual. Every season has wonderful ingredients that you can cook with and not spend too much money. However, if you feel the urge to eat strawberries in February, you can always go to the frozen goods in the supermarket and pick from there. It’s true that their nutritional value is less after freezing, but at least they are still healthy and affordable.
Don’t stress over organic food
With all the health craze going on, you probably feel like you need to buy everything organic. Well regarding some fruits and vegetables, you can buy them at their regular prices and get rid of the unhealthy stuff that’s in them. The thing that makes organic food so expensive is that it is cultivated without any chemical spraying or processed soil, to follow a natural process.
Since most producers want their fruits and vegetables to grow faster, they use harmful chemicals to boost growth and they are left on the peel of the produce. You can get rid of some of them by soaking the apple/ cucumber/tomato/lettuce in natural vinegar for around 30 minutes and you are one step closer to eating organic!