In a world where food costs continue to rise, eating well on a budget might seem like a daunting task. However, with a bit of planning, creativity, and smart choices, it's entirely possible to maintain a nutritious and balanced diet without breaking the bank. In this blog, we'll explore practical tips and strategies to help you navigate the world of budget-friendly eating without compromising your health.
1. Plan your meals
Not only does this save you time but it saves you money. Set aside 30mins a week to plan out what you are going to eat, write a shopping list (I use the Anylist app) and do your supermarket shop. Check your fridge and pantry to see what you already have and build around that. Not planning your meals often means doubling up on ingredients and things going off in the fridge. If you are out a lot try to always have some basics like eggs, frozen veg and grains at home so you can throw together a quick meal.
2. Buy seasonal produce
I know we love strawberries, tomatoes and avocados all year round but when they are out of season they are up to triple the price. Be patient and plan meals around what is in season as it will also be more flavourful. Make the most of summer veg like sweetcorn, stonefruit and berries when they are abundant and then you'll be excited when they come back around. This is the cycle of life and living in tune with nature.
3. Frozen fruit and veg is your friend
Frozen produce is snap frozen within hours of picking to preserve nutrients. Frozen berries are a great addition to breakfast and crumbles without blowing your budget. Frozen cauliflower rice is half the price of a whole cauliflower and saves you the mess and effort. Use these hacks to save you time and money.
4. Buy in bulk
On the supermarket price tag it will tell you how much the product is per unit (in NZ) so this is a good way to compare which item is cheapest. Things usually get cheaper the as they go up in volume. I also like to buy grains and nuts from the refill stores like Good For or Refill Nation if i'm making a recipe that requires something I wouldn't normally use. This allows me to buy the exact quantity I need so theres not waste and its often much cheaper.
5. Embrace whole foods
Whole foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, oats, eggs, meat and Greek yoghurt are nutrient dense, so will keep you fuller from longer. They are more bang for your buck because you need less food when you are eating this way. Chips, popcorn, crackers and biscuits are empty calories.
6. Plan for leftovers
Intentionally cook larger portions to have leftovers for future meals and lunches. Leftovers can be repurposed into new dishes, saving you time and money. For instance, roast chicken can become chicken salad or a filling for wraps, and cooked vegetables can be added to frittatas or stir-fries.
7. Cook at home
Eating out can quickly drain your budget. Cooking at home not only saves money but also allows you to control the quality and nutritional value of your meals. Experiment with new recipes and cooking techniques to keep things exciting and prevent food boredom. There's a Youtube or Instagram video for everything so no excuses not to learn. See food as nourishment and by cooking you are practising self love.
Eating well on a budget requires a combination of thoughtful planning, mindful shopping, and resourceful cooking. By prioritizing whole foods, shopping strategically, and cooking at home, you can nourish your body and wallet simultaneously. Remember that small changes in your habits can lead to significant savings and improved overall health.