30 March 2018

5 Secrets to Eating Healthy on a Budget

Junk food, candy and ready meals can be incredibly cheap and tempting; so much so that people claim it’s much cheaper to eat unhealthily than to cook nutritious food at home. This doesn’t have to be the case – there are plenty of bargain-hunting tips that allow you to buy and eat healthy food when you’re strapped for cash.

Here’s the top secrets that thrifty food bloggers have shared, teaching us that it is possible to eat well on small budgets. 

Make the Most of the Freezer--
Frozen fruit and veg can be bought in large quantities in supermarkets, and are often cheaper than buying fresh. Some argue that frozen veg isn’t as nutrient-packed as the fresh kind – but this isn’t necessarily true. The veg gets frozen very quickly after harvesting, locking in minerals and nutrients until you cook them up.
Cooking large batch meals is also a great idea to make the most of your money. Make large amounts of curry, stew, soups, lasagna, and things like bolognaise and chili sauce, and freeze them in portions once they’ve fully cooled. Make sauces and smoothies to be frozen and enjoyed later using a Nutribullet or Magic Bullet blender: a great investment for helping you make cheap meals. All of these can be safely reheated for future meals. 

Create Weekly Meal Plans--
To reduce food waste, plan meals in advance and construct your shopping list around this. Try to include meals that use some of the same ingredients in your weekly plan, so as not to waste any food by it going bad before you use it all up. (For instance, plan two meals that include broccoli to ensure you use the entire broccoli you bought.)  
Always being prepared and knowing what ingredients to buy means you won’t get distracted in the supermarket by junk food deals – stick to your list and you’ll be fine! Having all meals planned out also means you’re never caught short with no food in the house, leading to pricey and unhealthy takeaway temptation.  If you are interested, you can always try to order your food.  You can order some food in Melbourne City Centre.

Reuse and Recycle--
This phrase has been resurrected in recent times to encourage people to throw away less and use things again… and it works the same way for our food. As a population, we throw away frankly insane quantities of food. A report by the US National Resources Defense Council found that the average American family throws away a shocking $2,200 of food per year – and that is simply unsustainable for those feeding themselves on a budget.
Always consider whether meal leftovers can be stored in the fridge for lunch tomorrow (preventing you from spending big bucks buying lunch out), or frozen for dinner another day. 

Go Vegetarian-- 
Far from a fad, vegetarianism is these days considered a smart and eco-conscious lifestyle that has been found to have vast health benefits; not to mention that cutting out buying expensive meat is much easier on the wallet. 
It’s much better to spend the same amount on vegetables and meat alternatives than on cheap meat, which was reared unsustainably and offers little towards your health – and you’ll also get much more food for your money. If you can’t go fully veggie, even just eating vegetarian meals a few times a week and cutting down the amount of meat you buy is better than nothing.

Grains, Grains, Grains--
Grains, beans and pulses provide a filling and healthy basis for meals. Stock up on brown rice, oats for breakfasts and puddings, bulk packs of couscous, kidney beans, baked beans, and family-sized packs of pasta. Buying in bulk is the best value for money, making these super cheap, tasty and nutritious items even cheaper. 
These foods are all hugely versatile and can be switched up into different meals for fussy children or just to add some variety to your life. Try using baked beans to bulk out a chilli con carne, couscous in salads or as a side dish, and pasta of course can be cooked in hundreds of ways. The possibilities are endless, and even better is that the impact on your bank balance is minimal!

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