How To Eat Healthy on a Budget
You may or may not already know this but health and nutrition are hugely important to me and both are passions of mine. I qualified as a Nutritional Therapist a number of years back but my interest in well-being started long before that. Through my early 20s I figured out lots of different ways to eat healthily while on a student’s budget. And I am here to tell you it IS possible to eat well without spending a fortune.
Eating well is a long term investment in your health. It doesn’t necessarily have to be more expensive and prevention is better (and often cheaper) than cure. When I predominantly eat foods that nourish my body, I feel better, I have more energy, my skin is clearer, my concentration is better and my brain is sharper. The benefits are endless. Here are some of my best tips to eating healthily without breaking the bank.
Buy your food whole and not prepared or pre-packaged.
Fruit and vegetables in particular cost exponentially more when peeled and chopped in a plastic container. Let me illustrate with an example, I recently saw for sale in one supermarket:
- 500g of carrots for 59c
- 600g of peeled carrot batons for €1.49
- 400g of mashed carrot for €2.29
By preparing the foods yourself, you can save a tonne and prevent the loss of nutrients. For anyone thinking that the saving “isn’t that much”, this is where the compounding principle comes into effect. Incremental savings compound. Read that again – incremental savings compounds. It all matters – a handful of €1 and €2 decisions each week, amounts to hundreds of euro each year. Needless to say, buying your food whole is both cheaper and healthier.
Another thing I do to make healthy eating easier, is to buy whole fruit and vegetables and when I get it home from the supermarket I wash, peel and chop it and then I freeze it. By doing this I have prepared fruit and vegetables at home without the additional cost.
Avoid fad health foods.
Fad health foods such as expensive juices, protein bars and breakfast biscuits are generally way over-priced and typically not all that healthy. Seriously, don’t be a sucker for advertising. Learn to read nutrition labels to discern what is actually nutritious and what is just marketing. 🙂 As a good rule of thumb, generally foods in their natural or original state are more nutritious than foods manufactured in a factory.
Invest in good Tupperware and tools to bring your lunch with you to work.
Personally I am working hard on this one in 2020. Cooking from scratch is almost always cheaper and healthier. You have much more control over what goes into your meals and how they are prepared when you cook from scratch. And not to mention it costs a fraction of the price.
Spices and herbs are your friends.
Spices and herbs are an inexpensive way to make plain foods such as chicken, more flavoursome. In addition, herbs and spices are really nutritious and have tonnes of health benefits too. Jazz up your dishes by adding some extra flavour and enjoy the benefit of extra nutrients too.
Only drink water.
Try only drinking water. Water is free and hydrating. It’s a win-win. So drink the water! 🙂
Eat inexpensive plant-based proteins.
Choose plant based proteins such as beans, lentils and legumes instead of meat, fish and poultry from time to time. Meat can be quite expensive (especially good quality meat) and over-consumption of meat is increasingly being attributed to some health conditions. Try now and then choosing plant based proteins to build your meal around. Read a great article on the benefits of eating plant based proteins here.
To go organic or not?
If you want to opt for organic foods but are concerned about the additional costs, choose organic foods that are typically high in pesticides such as strawberries. Foods with thicker skins such as avocados and oranges are better protected from harmful pesticides so I generally don’t bother buying those organic. Another trick is to soak your fruit and vegetables in apple cider vinegar before you prepare them to reduce the amount of pesticides on them.
Choose inexpensive, nourishing foods
By choosing a diet that is rich in fruit, vegetables and whole-grains you will inevitably reap the health benefits of these nourishing foods whilst also benefiting from the fact that they are very reasonably priced in most super-markets.
So there you have it. There are 8 different ways you can eat healthy on a budget. If you enjoyed this, you will also enjoy my post on How to Exercise Without Blowing Your Budget.
Another key aspect to eating well is meal planning. By signing up to my email list you will get my free 16 Meal Planning Guide (includes step by step instructions, tonnes of tips and hacks and two free printables). Click here and sign up using the subscription form on the right hand side of the screen.