Heathy eating on a budget
You know the many benefits of eating healthy? Well now the challenge is to apply that knowledge to your monthly food budget. Health food supplements and eating organic is expensive but there are easy actionable things that you can do to move towards healthy eating on a budget.
We worked with Audrey Lee from PowertoShred.com who holds a PHD in exercise science from the University of Innsbruck, Austria and a Master’s Degree in nutrition from the University of Utah. Over the next coming weeks, Audrey will be working with Still Stoked to define the best diets for us active adventure women. But first, let’s start with the basics and make sure we can stay on budget.
Here are 8 healthy eating on a budget tips to help you stay on track:
#1 Stock up on produce
Fresh produce is ideal, but the cost can add up quickly. Buy fresh produce when it is in season and freeze it. Summer squash or zucchini, for example, are delicious.
Consider getting a large batch of them, slice them up and freeze them in bags. Buying frozen vegetables is also a good alternative to fresh vegetables. Frozen vegetables are harvested when they are ripe and flash frozen to store nutrients. When you find a good deal, stock up.
#2 Go meatless
Eating less meat and animal-based foods is associated with decreased risk of heart disease and other health issues. Legumes are most often cheaper than meat. Add more legumes to your meals and snacks. Legumes are beans and lentils that are high in fibre and protein. These can be found in cans, frozen, or dry. There are so many different kinds of legumes to choose from. Try and experiment with different kinds of legumes to find out what you and your family like best. Eating less meat is also hugely beneficial for the environment. It is the number one thing you can do to reduce your environmental impact.
#3 Plan meals based on sales
Supermarkets and grocery stores have weekly sales circulars. Set aside time each week to through the circular and plan your meals around sale items. Keep on the lookout for sales on frozen vegetables or canned beans, 10 for $10 is a great deal to stock up on. Wait for sales on high quality meat products like beef, chicken, or pork, to save money. Think of quality meat as a treat instead of a staple to your meals.
#4 Bulk foods
When you are ready to prepare your meals and snacks in advance, buying healthy food in bulk is cost effective. Legumes are fantastic bulk items. Choose black beans, red beans, chick peas, red lentils, split peas, and many more. Whole grains like brown rice and quinoa are an inexpensive, delicious staple for your meals as well. Beans and rice are easy to prepare especially if you have a slow cooker or a rice cooker.
#5 Plan and prep
Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. Consider a weekly schedule to check the supermarket sales circulars to see what is on sale and make plans. For example if corn is on sale, you can plan three things. One meal would include grilled corn on the cob. Another meal would use leftover corn. Cut the corn kernels off the cob and add to a black bean salsa. The last batch of corn would be cut off the kernel, put into baggies and frozen for a future meal. Prepare large amounts of food so you have leftovers.
#6 Love leftovers
Once you start prepping and cooking the majority of your meals, leftovers will make your life so much easier. Make a large batch of a meal for day one. For day two or three, use those leftovers as a base to create another meal. For example you make a black bean salsa with corn on day one. Use those leftovers in a salad. Pour the salsa over lots of nice
greens along with your other favourite salad ingredients. If you make a meat-based meal like meatloaf or roasted chicken, use the leftovers in a soup, sandwich, or with rice and veggies. Get creative.
#7 Farmers market at the end of the day
When you’re on a tight budget, the farmers market may not always fit into the budget. Consider going to the farmers market about an hour before closing. Farmers are starting to wind down their sales and clean up. They prefer to sell as much of their produce as they can before closing. This is when they will give you some really good deals and possibly add a little extra for you.
#8 Shop at ethnic markets
Ethnic markets are great for produce and unique items. Asian markets are fantastic for fresh produce and unique Asian vegetables like bok choy and other exotic greens. Also noodles are cheaper at an Asian market than your regular supermarket. Mexican markets are also great for fresh produce like tomatoes and avocados. Get there early because fresh produce sells quickly.
I hope these tips help you on your path to healthy eating on a budget. Reach out with any questions. We really look forward to producing a series of recipes to help give you ideas and save on costs so you can explore and adventure more.
Thank you so much toAudrey Lee from PowertoShred.com for writing this article and sharing all her amazing pictures and recipe ides from Power To Shred Instagram. We are really looking forward to working with Audrey to bring some great recipe ideas for all of you planning on doing a winter season and wanting to keep your healthy eating on a budget on track. Lots of great recipes to come. Thanks Audrey.
How do you keep to healthy eating on a budget? What works for you? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!