A balanced, healthy diet is essential for anyone who wishes to live a productive life. This is obviously because the body not only requires various nutrients to grow, but also to provide you with the energy necessary for day to day activities. That said and done, it may not be always easy, or more correctly cheap, for you to afford healthy meals each day. However, do not despair. Listed below are 5 simple steps that may help you eat healthy on a budget.
1.) Learn how to shop smart
Yes, shopping smart is one of the oldest tricks in the book to eating healthy on a budget. You may be wondering, ” How do I shop smart?”. Don’t worry, it is very easy.
First of all, you need to get a cheap reliable store where you will be buying all your groceries and other food products. Why is this helpful? Buying all your products from one store means you don’t have to constantly move when doing your shopping, which saves a lot in terms of time and fuel. Time is money, so you should spend more of it earning rather than spending. After finding and ideal store, promptly apply for their customer card. Not only will you get access to numerous discounts, you’ll also be able to buy goods on credit after earning their trust.
The next step in shopping smart is knowing the type of products you should buy. Since most farm produce is seasonal, wait until supply is high to get it on the cheap. For instance, broccoli and berries occur more frequently during the summer, which makes them pretty cheap at that time. Once you’ve known what grows when, buy it in bulk then refrigerate it. Refrigeration keeps your products fresh and free from bacteria.
If the fruits or vegetables are not in season, go for the frozen option. Not only are they equally nutritious, they go for about half the price and can be stored for longer periods as compared to fresh products.
2.) Prioritise on whole grains and proteins
Whole foods/ foods with a high fiber content are famous for being calorie-dense, giving one that feeling of fullness. Grains like brown rice, oats, freekeh and quinoa are not only nutritious, they are also very delicious. Additionally, they can either be eaten with other meals or as meals themselves.
Unprocessed foods rich in proteins, on the other hand, are very cheap and essential in maintaining both your muscle and bone density. Additionally, proteins have been known to have a high thermal effect, which means they greatly help the body in retaining its normal temperature even in cold conditions.
Some examples of cheap sources of proteins include; eggs, tuna, milk, calves liver and cheese. Discounted meat can also be a great addition since you can get it at almost 30% of its cost. However, you should not forget to store it in the freezer so that it does not go bad.
3.) Be versatile and develop an organized meal plan
The advantages of having a meal plan can never be overstated. Not only does it help you in your weekly shopping process, it also helps you to save more money. Developing one is quite easy. You just need to write down the meal combos you want to have, then fit them accordingly in each day of the week. If you wish, you can rotate the meal times to prevent monotony.
Another important thing is to avoid impulse buying. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Some few tricks you can use to avoid this include; shopping by yourself to avoid influence from others, make a shopping list and strictly follow it and eat at home before going shopping to avoid cravings. If you successfully avoid impulse buying, you get to save more money.
4.) Prepare your own food and grow it if you can
Undoubtedly, shopping for food is expensive since the stores also want to make some profits. This makes growing your own food a very fruitful venture.
If you have some room on your yard or balcony, why not try some square-foot or container gardening? Both are very ideal for growing some fruits or vegetables. Additionally, you can buy and raise some chickens in the same space for their eggs and meat. Doing your own farming not only saves you money, it also gives you the opportunity to decide what chemicals go into your food. Furthermore, the produce tastes better!
In relation to that, it is equally important to prepare your own meals. Cooking is a simple process that takes about 40 minutes and saves you the cash you would have spent on take-outs. If you don’t know how to cook, there are very many recipes and tutorial videos online that will help you. If you do know how to cook, increase your dietary options by trying out new cheaper recipes, you may just like them.
5.) Take advantage of leftovers
Most people have a tendency of throwing away food that is left over. However, leftovers can prove to be very useful if you want to eat healthy on a budget.
With the right technique, leftovers can be re-purposed into entirely delicious meals. Whole grains, such as brown rice, can make very great additions to leftovers. If leftovers compensate for an entire meal or two, you end saving more money.
In conclusion, I’m proud to say that you can live healthy on a budget. All you need to do is curb the excess spending, if you have one, and follow the listed steps to the latter. Eventually, you should be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle no matter the budgetary constraints.