It’s common these days to hear that eating healthily is too expensive.
But is it, really?
The truth is, no single food has it all. No one food has all the essential nutrients the body needs on a daily basis.
That is why it’s best to aim for having a “healthy, rounded lifestyle” because you need a variety of different foods to help you get all of the nutrients that you need.
Achieving a “healthy balance” of 4 main food groups is often the key to getting the nutrition we need.
These generally are:
1. Nuts, seeds and pulses such as quinoa and beans
(provide fibre mobilise our GI tract)
2. Fruits and vegetables
(rich in vitamins, fibre, minerals, and beneficial phytochemicals)
3. Protein-rich foods
(protein helps repair body tissues and maintain muscle mass, lower body fat
plus these foods usually come with high levels of minerals such as zinc, magnesium, and iron)
4. Healthy Fats
(some are essential for vitamin absorption, brain health, energy, as well as for skin, hair, and joint health)
Does achieving this “healthy balance” come with an insurmountable cost?
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be drastically expensive. In fact, you can get your fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains, dairy, and fats at very reasonable prices (it might require some shopping around!). You don’t have to buy expensive organic or gluten-free produce if you don’t want to. Nor do you need to buy exotic and expensive imported products. If you shop smart, you can obtain delicious, nutritious foods for less than you think!
So, before you give up the ghost and buy a bag of oven chips, I’ll give you 10 handy tips to shop smart and get your vital nutrients!
1. Bulk Buy for Value Bigger packets
Usually, mean that each individual item is cheaper.
Take a look at the sell-by or use-by dates and think about whether you can use all of the items by this date. The trade-off between buying more for better value and minimising food waste is crucial.
You can even get bulk multiple packs of things like dark chocolate, coconut oil, pink salt… from amazon
2. Write a list and stick to it
One of the reasons we overspend at the store is because we don’t plan ahead.
With so many options out there that you can easily put in your cart, it’s so easy to get carried away!
So, plan first at home or if shopping online, still write a list of the things that you need to buy.
This means you only buy the essentials, saving on unnecessary items.
(I have two lists one for Aldi and one for Ocado and reuse the same list for every time I do a shop)
3. Save on Protein
Since you’ll want plenty of protein in your diet, if you can’t afford organic, opt for free-range
I buy all my meat from a local free-range butcher (they deliver every few weeks and we freeze it)
You can even try going to a local butcher or store and asking whether they have any cheaper cuts of meat available.
You can often buy tougher meats (such as shoulder) relatively cheaply and slow cook them.
This also means you can bulk buy for even more value, and make a casserole that can last for days!
4. Frozen Foods
There’s a stigma about buying frozen fruits and veg. But did you know that most frozen veg may actually have a higher vitamin and mineral content than packaged veg? The freezing process locks in these nutrients. This makes frozen fruits and vegges a cheaper, nutrient-rich option.
5. Buy local instead of imported
Exotic imported fruit and veg can be overpriced
You’d be surprised by how much local, cheaper fruit and veg can also provide the same health benefits
6. Take advantage of fruits and vegetables that are in season.
With this, you will not only buy them at their best, but you will also get them at lower costs!
If you have a local fruit and veg market, or a farm you may be able to get even better deals there (but bear in mind they often won’t last as long in the fridge!).
7. Dirty dozen / clean fifteen
When it comes to fruit and veg it doesn’t have to ALL be organic.
ewg.org produce a list every year
you can just follow this list and only eat from the clean fifteen lists and then either avoid the dirty dozen list
or ONLY get organic if it’s on the dirty dozen list or if there’s not much price difference
8. Don’t buy food from overpriced health shops
These stores tend to have fancy displays and high prices. In many cases, you’re buying a “label”, rather than a healthy or superior product.
9. Make your own
eg Make your own protein cakes for snacking
or gluten-free chicken in breadcrumbs and freeze them
10. Use a variety of shops
I use Ocado, Aldi, butchers and local Tesco
Ocado – for my gluten-free and special bits
Aldi for savings – you can save a lot of money going to Aldi and stocking on a few things such as nuts and free-range meat
Tesco local – I’ll get a few bits that I run out of, in between…
In a Nutshell… When it comes to a healthy diet and its cost, do remember that healthy foods don’t have to be expensive. It all comes down to you, your knowledge on healthy eating and your choices.
If you choose not to spend too much on food – do your research before you spend on food!
Hope this helps!