I often hear people state that they only eat unhealthily because it is too expensive ‘eating clean’. However this simply doesn’t have to be the case. There are many ways you can tailor your shopping list to ensure that the healthy meals you are creating aren’t leaving your purse a little light.
Here are a few tips to help you cut costs without compromising on health - or taste!
Select in season - Opting for seasonal fruit and veg has several advantages. Firstly, the fact that they are in season means there is a large supply of them which makes them cheaper and more readily available. Secondly, they are more likely to have been grown locally which means they will be fresher and more likely to have been allowed to ripen naturally. Thirdly there is a theory that by eating seasonal foods, you are ensuring that you are getting the kinds of nutrients that you need at that specific time of the year.
Buy in bulk - As long as you know that you are going to use what you buy, buying in bulk will help you save some cash. Meat, for example, is often cheaper in larger quantities and can be separated and frozen ready for you when you need it.
Avoid pre-packaged foods - Avoiding pre-packaged foods is a motto of mine anyway, and a good idea if your aim is clean eating, however avoiding them will also help you cut your costs. Often pre-packaged foods are overpriced, because of the packaging, brand names and extra work that goes into creating them, so you are much better off cooking your own meals from scratch.
Shop around - You don’t have to buy all your groceries under the same roof. Try befriending your local greengrocer. You might be surprised by the great specials they have on offer and you will be supporting small businesses.
Pick and choose your organics - Often people think it is all or nothing when it comes to organic, however some organic foods are just too expensive for the average earner. So get to know your organic foods, do some research and just choose which foods you just can’t compromise on.
Waste not want not - Try to use your leftovers in your next meal, instead of letting it go mouldy in the fridge. If you make too much, either freeze some for later on, or have it for lunch/dinner the next day.
Don’t forsake frozen - Fresh is best, for sure. Yet frozen foods are the next best thing. Surprisingly when fresh foods are frozen, it happens very soon after harvesting, which means that most of the goodness is snap frozen in. Whereas when you by ‘fresh’ food, the product might have been picked weeks ago! Some foods, such as berries, freeze really well and will sit in your freezer until you are ready to make a smoothie, or sprinkle on your porridge. This is handy because fresh berries are expensive and turn bad quite quickly.
Eat more veggies - If you are a meat eater, yet you want to eat clean and healthy on a low budget, consider cutting down on the amount of meat you eat/cook. You don’t need to eat meat in every meal, or even every day, so get yourself a good vegetarian cookbook and try out some new vegetarian meals each week. You might even want to explore cooking with vegetables you might not have used before!
Don’t shun cheaper brands - There is no doubt that some brands produce better quality products over the cheaper store brand options, however it often isn’t the case. So get savvy with the products you buy and find out which ones are almost identical to their more expensive brand rivals. For example, the store brand rolled oats are a third of the price of some of the other brand options and are exactly the same, unless you are celiac, in which case you will need to opt for gluten free oats that have not been harvested in the same machines that harvest wheat.