If you want to eat healthy food it doesn’t have to come at a premium – there are so many ways to ensure that your food shop is comprised of good quality items at a suitable price. We look at 7 top tips to help you start to learn how to eat healthy food and potentially save money at the same time.
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1. Learn to cook from scratch
Cooking instead of buying ready meals or take away dinners is vital if you want to maximise your opportunities to eat healthy food, and you can often save money at the same time as well as overall heading towards a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
Instead of buying more expensive pre-packed, pre-cooked meals, start buying fresh and learning a few simple recipes.
This ensures that everything you’re eating is as healthy as it could be – without added sugars or preservatives. By working to a recipe as well, you are less likely to spend on extras you don’t end up using. The BBC have a huge number of eat healthy recipes of varying difficulty to get you started.
2. Buy Own-Brand Products or Trade Down a Brand
Switch from a premium brand to a more basic brand. It’s been shown that own-brand items are often just as healthy and tasty as more independent brands. These products are generally more affordable, and they often don’t sacrifice much in the way of quality. Make huge savings by picking up the own-brand items from your local, instead of fancier independent brands. Be sure to check, as there can be a few cases in which own brand items are more sugar and preservative-heavy.
3. Buy Seasonally to Help Eat Healthy Food
It can be easy to forget that certain fresh produce is available more cheaply and in better quality at certain times of the year. We’re used to everything being available at all times, but if you start to think about eating seasonally, you’ll notice that certain fruit and vegetables for example will be cheaper when they are more naturally able to be grown.
Not only can you save money, but eating seasonally will mean that you can eat the best and most natural produce at the right time of year. This means food with fewer pesticides or preservatives involved in keeping crops alive.
Look out for your local farmers market too. Often you can buy really good quality local produce and by doing so you’ll be helping local businesses and invariably getting some top flavoured, seasonal produce at the same time. It means also of course you are doing a little to help to reduce food air miles.
4. Eat More Vegetables
A great way to reduce the cost of your cooking and give your immune system a positive boost is to consider adding more vegetables and fruit to your diet. There are plenty of ways to substitute meat for other sources of protein. Not only does the average adult eat too few portions of vegetables and fruit in their day, meat is also generally the most expensive part of a meal. Up the vegetable proportion and save money!
There are plenty of veggie recipe blogs riding this new trend, for you to get inspiration from. Maybe try out Green Kitchen Stories and The Veg Space, to make sure that vegetarian means delicious, varied meals and doesn’t reduce you to eating lettuce leaves and baked beans!
5. Eat Your Leftovers or Freeze Extras
Reducing what you waste is a great way to minimise the money you’re throwing away – this means being clever about how much you cook, or having a strategy for saving and maintaining extras.
This can count not just for the items you’ve already cooked, but also for extras you may have bought in bulk. For instance, it can be a good idea to freeze left over bread before it goes stale.
It can help with learning portion control as well, fostering the habit to save and store any extras you aren’t able to eat immediately. Set yourself up with a generous freezer!
6. Take Stock of What You Have
When you’ve got a lot of kitchen cupboards, it can be easy to forget what ingredients you already have. Get to know exactly what is in your home by taking a bit of a stock take, and getting to know exactly what ingredients you already have.
A variety of innovative mobile apps have emerged to help with just this issue of knowing what you have, offering practical and efficient ways to manage, share, and even rescue surplus food.
NoWaste is an example of such an app which helps users manage their kitchen pantries more effectively by tracking expiry dates and inventory levels. You can set the ‘use by’ dates for all your food, receive notifications when they are close to expiry, and record shopping lists and meal plans.
7. Have a Plan For Your Grocery Shopping
Besides having a clear list to follow, rather than buying on impulse, it is helpful to get your head around making the most of your supermarket experience. Key is not to go shopping when you’re hungry either as if you do too many things will suddenly be so tempting for you to buy!
The Supermarket guide on Student Money Saver is a great place to get started with the essential tips for cutting the cost of your weekly shop.
Consider setting a family too if you haven’t already got one. By doing so you can be clear of your weekly or monthly spending needs, whether that be your food shop or other essential items such as energy bills and other utilities or indeed a family holiday.
With just a few of these ideas you can get started with a healthier balance between the money you spend and the food you consume, potentially helping you to save money, eat healthy food and move to a more sustainable lifestyle.