Eating a healthy, nutritious diet is essential for optimum physical and mental wellbeing, but with today's rising food costs it can be expensive unless you practice some smart hacks and tricks.
Many people believe that eating healthy comes down to spending extra money on organic produce, specialty foods and even natural supplements. But the truth is, it is very possible to eat very nutritiously on a budget, without sacrificing taste or variety.
Here, we explore three easy ways to eat well on a budget by being especially conscious of seasonal foods.
1. Buy In-Season Produce
One of the best ways to save money on healthy eating is to buy in-season produce. When fruits and vegetables are in season, they tend to be less expensive and more abundant. Plus, they often taste better and are more nutritious than out-of-season produce.
Some examples of in-season produce in the winter time include:
- Cruciferous veges such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage;
- Leafy Greens such as collard, spinach, lettuce, rocket, bok choy and kale;
- Root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, parsnips and beets;
- Winter squash, pumpkin, zucchini and sweet corn.
The most prolific fruits in winter that you should include weekly in your diet include:
- A variety of citrus fruits such as oranges, mandarins, tangelos, grapefruit and lemons
- Apples, avocados, bananas, kiwi fruit and dates
- Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.
Also, all of the beans and legumes are perfect winter food, such as chick peas, kindy beans, black beans and pinto beans. Oats are also a staple winter breakfast food that you can quickly and easily prepare as a warm porridge or soak overnight in nut milk for a delicious, nutritious breakfast with raw honey and a sprinkling of walnuts and fresh banana slices or a handful of berries.
Whenever you can, choose to shop at your local farmers markets or local produce store rather than major supermarket chains.
This will help ensure that you're getting access to the freshest produce that has travelled the least amount of distance from farm to your plate.
Build your weekly meals and snacks e staple foods during winter time and your body and health will benefit from the best seasonal foods.
2. Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
Another way to eat healthily on a budget is to plan your meals ahead of time.
When you have a few meal ideas planned for the week, it makes it easy to shop for only what you need and will help you avoid buying impulse items that you don't. You can also use leftovers from one meal to create another meal, which can help to reduce food waste and save you money.
Additionally, planning your meals can help you make healthier choices, as you'll be less likely to reach for unhealthy options when you have a plan in place. The good news is, it's never been easier to get recipe ideas and inspiration by either a quick google search for, "quick and easy winter recipes", or by using Apps such as "Yummly" which you can access straight from your smart phone.
3. Cook at Home As Much As You Can
Cooking at home is another great way to eat healthily on a budget, even if you're just cooking for yourself or a small family.
When you cook at home, you have control over the ingredients you use, which can help you make healthier choices.
Not only that, you also save money by controlling portions, freezing leftovers and minimising waste.
Plus, cooking at home can be a fun and creative way to experiment with new ingredients and flavours. Some budget-friendly and nutritious meal ideas include homemade soups, tacos, bakes, dips, smoothies, winter salads and grain bowls.
The Main Take Away
Eating healthily on a budget doesn't have to be difficult or boring.
By being consciously aware of the foods that are in season, planning ahead of time, and shopping local and frequently for only what you need when you need it, you'll go a long way to mastering the art of eating nutritiously on a budget.
Stock up on staples such as canned beans, oats, raw nuts and wild rice and then source the fresh produce you need - vegetables, fruits and animal products - to build your meals around them.
Whether you're preparing your meals for one, two or any sized family, the more you shop consciously and apply common sense, the easier it becomes to eat healthily without breaking the bank, even in these challenging times.
Tolman Self Care.