Now, we’re not quite out of this recession yet, so watching the pennies and pounds is still important. We have been tightening our wallets for some time now on everything else and quite frankly our waistlines should be getting the same treatment. But people think that eating healthily is expensive. Well, with organic foods charged at rocket high prices, and being surrounded by BOGOF’s (buy one get one free) on junk food, it’s hardly surprising we have adopted this attitude. I too was part of this thinking brigade but on closer inspection, I’ve discovered that this is not necessarily true. Here’s a just a handful of tips to stretch your budget and squeeze in your waist at the same time.
Take time to plan your meals and then compile a grocery list of everything you need. This will help you making impulse purchases. When planning meals try to think of recipes that you can double up for ingredients such as if you have a green pepper, you can use half of it in a stir-fry and then the other half to add to a curry. Bulk buying on foods like wholemeal pasta, rice and pulses will also save you dosh.
Look out for special offers at your usual supermarket and stock up on long shelf-life products. Frozen and canned vegetables are always on offer. And if you haven’t noticed before, it’s because you’ve spent too long in the chocolate and crisp aisle! Time to take a detour of the shop.
Talking of frozen vegetables, they tend to be cheaper than fresh varieties and is some cases they tend to be fresher because they are frozen within minutes of being picked, unlike the fresh produce which have seemed to have done a world tour before landing on our plates. Frozen veg also cuts down on wastage.
Frozen vegetables tend to be cheaper than fresh varieties but still count towards your 5 A DAY. You can use them when you want and in the amounts you need which cuts down on wastage.
You can bulk up meals with products like canned tomatoes, beans and pulses. Add them to soups, stews and casseroles. Beans and pulses are particularly a good source of starchy carbs and can bump up the fibre content in your diet.
Canned oily fish such as sardines and salmon can be cheaper than buying fresh fish. They are a good source of omega-3 fats which can help to keep the heart healthy, plus they are easy to prepare and have a long shelf life. Opt for ones in spring water to keep the salt content to a minimum.
Use leftover vegetables to make soups and salads. When you make your own soup, you can add as many vegetables as you like and you can control the amount of other ingredients, such as salt, stock and fat that you add.
Fresh fruit and vegetables in season are often cheaper as well as tastier. Overripe soft fruits can be chopped up and combined with frozen berries to make delicious smoothies.
Make your own healthy packed lunch. Not only will you save pounds each week, you’ll control what you eat. Leftovers also make delicious, cheap and healthy alternatives to processed lunch meals that can often be high in fat and salt.
You know I like to bang on about the importance of breakfast as an important start to the day. Porridge is a great choice because it’s cheap and has no added salt or sugar. If you don’t like the Goldilocks favourite, try mixing oats with plain low-fat yogurt and some grated apple and cinnamon.
Limit eating out. It is often easier to grab meals on the go but remember, you pay extra for that convenience. If you want to save money and eat healthily, consider bringing your own lunch a few times per week and cut back on dining out when possible.
Gents, (and me) you’ll have a bit more shrapnel to buy the odd all important pint and ladies it’s always good to have spare change for the shopping trip. Happy shopping!