How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
I have heard it a million times before, people still believe that going organic, eating plant based, or moving towards a generally healthier diet is too expensive. Trust me, I get it. But here is the deal; transitioning to a healthier way of eating really doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Despite what the health industry might have you believe, it certainly doesn’t have to involve a bunch of expensive ‘superfoods’ and powders that in the end only gather dust in your cupboards!
Over the years, I have learned a trick or two for eating healthier on a budget, and with some smart moves eating more healthily might even save you a few pennies! Read on for my ultimate guide to healthy eating on a budget.
My tried and tested tips to eat healthily without breaking the bank
Make your Own Plant Milks
Nut milk can be expensive to buy fresh (or impossible, if you don’t have anywhere locally that buys and sells their own). Even the long life variety in cartons and cans are either expensive or contain nasty additives, sugars, and preservatives that you don’t need. Making your own is a far cheaper option and much easier than you might think. Coconut milk can be cheap to make, and of the nut and seed varieties almond, cashew and sunflower seed are usually the most economical.
Buy in Bulk
Nuts, seeds and specialised flours can be expensive when bought in small amounts so buy in bulk to save money in the long run. Find a wholesaler that sells in larger quantities and then just store everything in airtight containers and jars to keep it fresh. In the Marbella area check out La Campana, the Marbella poligono and as far as Malaga industrial area for companies that sell in bulk.
Eat More Veggies!
I always find a reason to advocate extra veggies! But it's true, eating more vegetables is not only good for your health, it’s also great for your wallet. The high fibre and nutritionally dense nature of fruits and vegetables mean you can fill up on them and stay satiated for less money. Look for in-season produce, it's cheaper than buying imported or out-of-season vegetables – plus they are more nutritious and taste better too!
Buy Seasonal, Local and Preferably Organic
It can be a little more effort to hunt out a place local to you selling organic, seasonal produce, but if you can make the effort, it really is worth it. Find a weekend farmers market in your area and make it a ritual to visit – make a morning of it, it’s a lovely tradition to have with friends and children. Learn to eat eat smaller quantities of good quality produce over more of the not-so-good stuff.
Buy things like tomatoes in bulk, make a batch of sauce and freeze. Strawberry season? Freeze them in portions and use for smoothies all year round.
Use Dry Beans and Pulses Over Canned
You’ll need to soak and cook them first, but the little extra effort will be rewarded with superior flavour and more product for less money. Cook up big bean casseroles, soups, stews, hummus, and dips to use throughout the week. I like to bulk boil two to three different varieties of beans and pulses and freeze in portion sizes so that I always have them on hand to grab when I need them.
Expanding on an earlier point - batch cooking is your friend! I’ve gotten into the habit of cooking in bulk at the weekend, that way, if I get home late from work and just can’t be bothered cooking, I have a healthy meal ready to go. You can store in the fridge for use during the week or freeze in portions.
This always sways me from defaulting to a takeaway, which would be the easier option if I hadn’t planned ahead. This is also a great method to have perfected for when you have hungry kids who want food NOW! Just whip out a healthy stew, reheat, and you have happy kids full up on good stuff!
Keep it Simple!
Don’t go overboard with adding toppings and extra ingredients and don’t go crazy buying specialised ingredients in the health shops. I know the nice packaging and health promises are tempting but you can make some really delicious, healthy meals with a few basic ingredients. It’s so much cheaper and makes your healthy lifestyle more sustainable, too.