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The Prediabetes Nutritionist

How to Eat Healthily on a Budget

Want to eat healthily without going bankrupt? This article shares six practical tips to help you eat healthily on a budget. 

Most people think healthy eating costs more than it does, but that’s not always the case. The truth is that healthy eating can be as budget-friendly or as expensive as you make it – it comes down to proper planning and making smart swaps. 

Here are six tips to help you eat a healthy, nourishing diet on a budget.  

1 | Meal Plan

Going grocery shopping without thinking of the meals you intend to create with ingredients you purchase is a recipe for stress, overwhelm and overspending. You may end up picking up random items that don’t easily pair well in recipes, or you may buy too many things that you don’t use up that eventually end up in the bin. 

Before going shopping, think about the meals you’ll like to create during the week and write down the ingredients you need for them.  Every family has four to six meals they typically eat. Start from there and add ingredients for new recipes you wish to try. 

2 | Make a shopping list and stick to it

You may meal plan and feel you know all the ingredients you need off the top of your head. I’ve tried that many times and I have never been successful. I always forget one thing, either a herb or spice or the star ingredient of the recipe. 

Always shop with a list. It ensures you get everything you need and minimises the risk of you purchasing unnecessary items. It may be worth buying groceries online and then using a click and collect service or having them delivered. This will also prevent impulse purchases. 

3 | Avoid pre-packaged goods

I understand the appeal of pre-packaged goods; it saves time chopping vegetables, especially ‘annoying’ onions. Unfortunately, pre-packaged produce is never cost-effective. Depending on what you buy, pre-packaged goods can be up to three times as expensive as loose versions. 

Choose loose produce as often as possible, then chop them up at home and store in your fridge or freezer in resealable bags or Tupperware.

how to eat healthier

4 | Consider frozen and canned foods

I agree that some frozen and canned foods taste miles apart from their fresh counterparts – frozen broccoli and canned peas are the worst offenders, but many other items taste just as good, and dare I say, sometimes better than fresh options. And better still, less expensive.

Cauliflower is usually much cheaper than frozen than fresh, with little difference in taste. I can say the same for tinned fish, especially mackerel and sardines. 

Be careful when purchasing tinned fruit, as they can sometimes be stored in syrup with added sugars. Fruit stored in fruit juice is the best option. 

5 | Focus on real food

If your diet is healthy, supplements, except vitamin D, are unnecessary unless you have a diagnosed deficiency, and a health professional has recommended you take one. 

You don’t need a protein powder; beans, lentils, fish, poultry and lean red meat provide adequate amounts of protein. They have the added benefit of providing many other essential nutrients and vitamins absent in protein powders.

Superfood powders are no more effective than the fruits or vegetables from which they’re extracted. Rather than wasting money on these powders, stick to their natural versions.  

6 | Cook your meals

Eating out or regularly ordering take-out is expensive. Besides, you can’t be sure how the food has been prepared. 

Restaurants are all about making a profit. So, it is highly likely they use the cheapest ingredients, including vegetable oils, factory-farmed, meats, poultry and dairy. 

This doesn’t mean that you must stop eating out; the point here is to enjoy meals out infrequently and invest more time learning how to cook healthy, nutritious meals you control. This strategy will save you money and ensure your diet is as healthy and nutritious as you make it.  

And there you have it, six simple ways to eat healthily on a budget. 

Which one of these tips will you implement right away?

Do you want to learn how to eat a healthy, balanced diet that’s tailored to your unique needs and dietary preferences? And helps you achieve health goals such as balancing your hormones, reducing inflammation, breaking the dieting cycle or maintaining a healthy weight? 

Schedule a 15-minute appointment via the button on the bottom right corner of this page to learn how I can support you. 

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