At a time where we are constantly hearing about new buzzwords such as ‘super foods’, eating healthily can sound complicated and expensive. To be healthy and to eat well can actually be simple and affordable, it just takes a little planning and creativity. To help you achieve a healthier and balanced diet without breaking the bank, I’ve come up with a few tips to keep you on track.
TOP 13 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY AND AFFORDABLE LIFESTYLE
1. Planning meals
By planning meals for the week you can create a shopping list which includes only items that you need, therefore cutting down on extras which may or may not be used.
2. Observing Portion Sizes
Part of staying healthy means observing our portion sizes- this does not mean we need to deprive ourselves, but instead, being mindful of the portions we are eating can prevent us from both over-eating and over-spending.
3. Affordable Alternatives
Knowing that there are more affordable alternatives such as frozen fruit and vegetable, can save a bit of money. A great example is opting for frozen berries, which tend to last longer and can be used in healthy smoothies to ensure you get your 5-a-day.
4. Reducing Meat Intake
While you do not need to cut meat out completely, choosing more plant-based meals has many health benefits, and is generally more affordable. An easy way to do this is by trying a day or two without meat, such as ‘Meat Free Monday’- a campaign which supports raising awareness of the benefits of reducing meat intake.
5. Getting Creative
This one can be a little trickier as it takes a little time and planning, but by finding ways to make food last, for example, by using leftovers can reduce waste. A way you can do this is by using leftovers from a Sunday roast for lunch e.g. using the chicken and veg in a wrap.
6. Buying Versatile Ingredients
This is one of the most important tips- by buying versatile ingredients which you can use in a combination of materials you are less likely to waste ingredients and more likely to use the fruit and vegetable you keep stocked.
7. Avoid Eating Out
Being more selective of how often you eat out and what you buy can help you save- for example, rather than buying a coffee from a café every day at work, switching to herbal teas brewed from home is healthier/more hydrating, and cheaper. Also, if you tend to choose take-outs to save on time, try to choose a day in the week where you can prepare meals ahead of time.
8. Being Selective of Discount Buys
Discounts sound great, however, we don’t often realise that it is generally unhealthy food which is on offer such as packs of biscuits and other processed food. To avoid this, write shopping lists of healthy and whole foods, which can help reduce impulse buying.
9. Choosing Seasonal Food
Try to stick to fruit and vegetables which are in season as they tend to be more affordable, and also, buying these from a Farmer’s Market is an even better option.
10. Alternative Snacks
Many of us like to snack on high salt and high sugar food such as chocolates, crisps, or biscuits, which actually tend to be more expensive. By switching to whole food snacks which are full of nutrients such as fruit and nuts can curb cravings, keep you fuller for longer, and are more affordable.
11. Limiting Treats
while it’s important not to snack on chocolates and crisps every day, it is also okay to have a treat once in a while, but by limiting treats to once or twice a week, you can save and have something you can look forward to.
12. Avoiding Bottled Water
Instead of buying multiple packs of plastic bottled water, try to invest in a glass bottle which you can refill daily, and this is better for your health, the environment, and your wallet.
13. Grow your own
For those who have more time and green thumbs, try to grow your own fruit and vegetables, this is a healthier and more affordable alternative in the long run.
Here are some ingredients to keep stocked, which are healthy whole foods, versatile, and affordable:
Whole rolled oats Broccoli Nuts
Brown rice Frozen Peas Eggs
Sweet potato Spinach Leaves Milk
Bananas Carrots Tinned chickpeas
Frozen berries Tin Tomatoes Whole chicken