Eat organic! We hear it all the time, don’t we? And yes, I know I am an advocate for choosing organic as well. But, if you have started the year aiming to eat healthily and your bank account won’t quite stretch to it, you may wonder how you can eat healthily and afford it.
I appreciated that organic meat, fruits and vegetables cost more than their non-organic equivalent and the cost can really add up, especially if you are feeding a family or are a student.
So how do you eat healthily on a budget?
Well, healthy eating does not have to be expensive. It all depends on the choices you make and what you buy.
In this article you’ll find tips to help you stay healthy in body and bank account.
#1 Always choose seasonal produce
Eating what’s in season is always going to be cheaper. It’s most probably locally grown so you don’t have all the import and storage costs – who wants to eat food that has travelled so far, anyway?! Plus vegetables and fruits start to lose their nutrients once they are picked, so it makes sense to consume food sourced closer to home.
#2 If you cannot buy organic, buy local
Find your local farmers’ market. They’ll be cheaper than the supermarket as they don’t have the same overheads, plus you are buying straight from the grower.
Plan the visit into your weekend and aim to do your shopping for the week – I guarantee there will be an excellent bakery and coffee stall to make the visit a pleasure rather than a chore. Plus, you are outside, so you top up your Vitamin D!
#3 You don’t have to always go organic with fruit and vegetables
Where you can, organic is always best. However, it is important to eat your greens, and it’s better to eat them than not at all.
Washing your vegetables with bicarbonate of soda or white vinegar can help with non-organic produce as it gives them a good clean.
Also, check out ‘ the dirty dozen’. This list gets updated every year, and it highlights the fruit and vegetables that are higher in pesticides. So you may think about only buying organic from that list. I did a blog post about the dirty dozen a while back.
#4 It’s ok to buy frozen
Frozen fruit and vegetables are cheaper than fresh and are still packed full of nutrients so you can stock up your freezer. I often buy frozen peas and broccoli for soups and berries for my smoothies.
#5 Cut down on fish and meat
Meat is the one food I would recommend you buy organic, because all non-organic meat is injected with hormones and antibiotics. So you could think about limiting these to once or twice a week.
Some cheaper food options of include oats, brown rice, beans, lentils, chickpeas and eggs. I always eat porridge with fruit in winter and in the warmer months I will put the oats in my smoothie. It’s simple to substitute meat and fish for a plant based protein like beans.
Tinned beans are cheap and so versatile and are an excellent source of protein and fibre. You can eat them on their own or include them in salads, with brown rice or pasta.
Eggs, even organic ones, are cheap and contain a significant source of protein and choline. Choline is good for brain health. There are so many ways of eating eggs. For breakfast or brunch with toast and avocado, hard-boiled in a delicious tuna salad or as an omelette with some veggies for dinner.
Tinned fish like mackerel, salmon and sardines are also a wonderful source of protein and omega 3 – your healthy fat. If you eat the soft bones, they also provide you with calcium. You can have them on crackers, or oat cakes or in salads.
Tinned lentils are fantastic as not only are they very high in protein, but you can use them to make soups, curry or add them to salads.
#6 Think about buying in bulk
You can buy large bags of oats and nuts online, which makes them much more cost effective. I do a lot of my shopping with amazon, you can pretty much find anything on there and it is much cheaper. Plus, you won’t have to go shopping so much!
#7 You do not have to buy superfoods
If you cannot afford to buy superfoods, it is not the end of the world. Maybe start with just one, but honestly, the most important thing is that you include plenty of greens in your diet. Just by increasing your intake of vegetables, you will benefit.
#8 Plan ahead
Sit down and plan your meals for the week so you can plan your food shopping and buy exactly what you need. That way, you won’t be throwing anything away. You can cook large quantities of foods like soups and curries and freeze them, so you have plenty of healthy meals for the weeks ahead.
Have a challenge to use everything in your fridge before you go shopping. Don’t ignore those last two carrots and half a cabbage – get resourceful and put the two ingredients into google – chances are you will find a recipe you can make with your bits of veg. And eat or freeze left over meals!
#9 Take advantage of sale offers
When you see your favourite healthy foods on sale, take advantage and stock up so you have plenty to last.
#10 Drink plenty of water!
Ok, this might be obvious but rather than having a soft drink, another coffee or alcohol, drink a glass of water – it might be that you were simply thirsty and it will be a lot cheaper!
I hope that you have found these 10 Ways to Eat Healthily on a Budget very useful.
If you need further support on changing your diet and eating healthy foods, then get in touch. I have several resources and programmes which could help you.