Healthy eating – loosen your belt buckle, but not buckle your budget!

Many are under the impression that eating well means adding more Rands and cents to your grocery budget which during these economic times many of us cannot do. We are increasingly conditioned to think of healthy food as expensive, because of the price of meat, fish and dairy, the rise of “superfoods” and the higher cost of organic produce. Many healthy foods are inexpensive, such as dried beans, eggs, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. If you are hoping to eat better but are also paying close attention to your budget, these tips will help you get into the healthy eating game without breaking the bank.

  • Meal prep:

Meal prepping can save you time and money since you’re buying and preparing home-cooked food ahead of time. Try and shop on the weekend, which may work better with your schedule than cramming it in during a weekday – especially now that schools are going back later and many of us are working from home. When doing your meal prep – make sure you are utilizing all the ingredients so that there is zero waste – this may mean incorporating some of the same ingredients into each meal to use it all up! Bonus is you might have leftovers for lunch the next day.

  • Used dried ingredients that are pantry staples:

When eating dried legumes and grains you can be sure that they are cheaper than their fresh counterparts and pack just as much nutrition, dried beans and wholegrains are rich in:

  • Fiber
  • Vitamins: high in B vitamins, including niacin, thiamine, and folate (which are also Covid fighting)
  • Minerals: such as zinc, iron, magnesium, and manganese
  • Protein: Whole grains boast several grams of protein per serving
  • Many compounds in whole grains act as antioxidants. These include phytic acid, lignans, ferulic acid, and sulfur compounds
  • Plant compounds. Whole grains deliver many types of plant compounds that play a role in preventing disease

Follow old school rather than health food trends

Health foods that are often deemed as trendy such as smart waters, fancy protein shake powder flavors and fancy health bars are expensive but if you stick to basics, you will be very surprised on your till slip balance! Ingredients to stock up on:

  • Chia seeds
  • Dried legumes
  • Wholegrains
  • Oats
  • Honey
  • Seeds

So if we learn to embrace the “other side” of healthy eating and stick to the basics, meal plan (for those of us that are time poor), and stock up on pantry staples that are easily turned into delicious meals for your family – you can be both healthy and budget conscious. As Jamie Oliver says “Real food doesn’t have ingredients, real food is the ingredie