It’s good to eat healthily. We’re told that we must do it in order to be fit, to lose weight, and to live longer; yet sometimes it can be difficult. Healthy food can often be more expensive than unhealthy food, and buying a TV dinner or some takeout rather than cooking a well-balanced meal from beginning to end can often seem more appealing when it comes to cost and to the time and effort involved.
The good news is that there are many ways that you can eat healthily and still stick to a budget. It might take a little time to get organised, and could be a major change to your lifestyle, but if it means that you will be healthier and more able to enjoy your life, then it will be worth it. Read on for details about how to get started.
Money can sometimes be an issue no matter what kind of lifestyle you have or what sort of job you have. There are ways to combat the problem; search for a better paying job, or consolidate your debts with a loan that reduces your monthly repayments, for example, and if that sounds like something that would help, go here.
Even if money isn’t that much of an issue, saving where you can is important, and since you can save and still eat healthily, this is a great way to start. One of the simplest methods of saving money when it comes to food is to plan your meals in advance. By knowing exactly what you need to buy, you will be better able to stick to a budget (plus you’ll know in advance how much the grocery shopping is likely to take). If you go without any idea of what you need, you will probably buy more than you really are going to use, and not think carefully about what is healthy and what isn’t.
Make Cooking An Event
If you find cooking boring and prefer to eat out or get a takeaway, you will find that in the long term you will be spending much more money. Plus, when you eat out you might not know exactly what you are eating, and you could be consuming unhealthy ingredients; when you cook for yourself, you will always know what is included.
In order to eat at home more – thus saving money and being healthier – you should try to make cooking dinner more of an event. Have family help out, or make it a competition to see who can create the best dish. Try new ideas and don’t just stick to recipes; this is your chance to experiment. Cooking will soon become much more fun than you thought it would be, and you’ll be happier to stay at home.
Cook Large Portions
While cooking large portions doesn’t sound particularly healthy, note that we are saying ‘cook’ not ‘eat.’ By cooking more than you need you will reduce the amount of wasted food and leftovers that you might otherwise throw in the trash. Then, when you have dished out the current meal, the rest can be stored in the fridge or the freezer (depending on when you are planning to use it next). This will mean you save money because you don’t have to buy as many meals (you will already have prepared some in advance) and you will always have something healthy to eat; you simply need to defrost it.
If you plan carefully, you might find that you can even save a whole week’s worth of shopping in some cases so that all you need to do is a small ‘top up’ shop for toiletries and staples, and you will find you save money overall.
Shop After Eating
If you wait until you have just had a meal, or even a light snack, before you do your grocery shopping, you will be less likely to be tempted by junk food and confectionary, or other snacks that are bad for you than if you went shopping when you were hungry.
Being hungry means that the body will often crave foods that are bad for you in general. Most of the time these cravings can be crushed or ignored, but if you are surrounded by all the things that your body is telling you it needs this can be much more difficult. You will be more susceptible to impulse buying, and not only will you buy food that is bad for you, but you’ll also spend more than you should as well.
Buy Whole Foods
In a lot of examples, whole foods are cheaper than foods that have been processed in some way. If you look at cheese, for example, you’ll see that shredded cheese is more expensive than the same amount of cheese in a block. You can easily shred the cheese yourself at home, so it makes sense to pay less in the store.
On top of this, whole foods are usually sold in larger quantities, and therefore there are more servings in the pack compared to processed foods. Buy larger quantities at lower prices and store the food (frozen if required) for a later date.
Don’t Buy Brand Names
We are constantly bombarded with advertisements telling us that this brand is better than that one. We can easily get sucked into thinking that just because there is a well-known name or logo on some packaging, the product inside is of higher quality or better value.
This is not necessarily the case. Most stores will have generic alternatives for the big brand products, and they will be sold at a fraction of the price. Try them out, and in many cases, you will see that there is hardly a difference; if you didn’t know that it wasn’t a branded product, you wouldn’t be able to tell from the taste, or from the way it worked. You’ll save a lot of money doing this, cutting a large percentage of your shopping bill, and your menu won’t suffer from it.