The cost of living is at an all-time high, and most people are feeling the effects. It can be tempting to opt for fast food and ‘quick fix’, low-cost meals, but where does that leave your health, both physically and mentally? Food has a huge impact on your body and the way you feel, so it’s important you provide it with enough healthy nutrition on a daily basis.
Many people assume that to maintain a balanced diet, you need to splash the cash on premium fruit and vegetables, but the truth is, getting the best nutrition can still be done on a tighter budget. A healthy diet is the most important thing for a healthy lifestyle. It not only helps you maintain your weight but also keeps you energetic and productive. However, it can be hard to follow a balanced diet if money is tight. Here are some top tips to get the best nutrition on a budget.
Eating nutritiously can be a challenge, especially when it comes to stretching a budget. With the cost of living steadily increasing, finding ways to get the best nutrition while saving money is essential for many households. But with a bit of creative food shopping and meal planning, you can make sure that your family is eating healthy meals without breaking the bank. Some of the things to try include…
• Avoid impulse buying
When most people impulse buy, it’s usually for unhealthy snacks and chocolate, not a fresh apple or banana. So, try to control your impulse buying when you do your weekly food shop, and you’ll soon see the pennies drop at the checkout. It can be all too tempting to reach for that extra grab bag of crisps or popcorn, but avoiding this and focusing on what you need to buy rather than what you want to buy, will make a huge difference.
• Meal plan
Cooking larger meals all in one go not only saves money, but time as well. Investing in plastic or glass meal prep containers to parcel food up for the freezer means you save on electricity, have meals prepared for the week ahead, and can ensure you’re getting the right nutrients in every meal.
• Choose frozen over fresh
Many people believe fresh fruit and veg are healthier than frozen, but that simply isn’t true. Studies have found that there are no significant differences in vitamin content between frozen and fresh produce, so to save money, and get more for your budget, buying bags of frozen broccoli, carrots and peas is a surefire way to stay healthy on a budget.
• Take advantage of loyalty schemes
Supermarkets like Tesco have reward and loyalty schemes running year-round that could result in huge savings. Tesco Clubcard offers are always around on a variety of products, so sign up for a free card and keep an eye out for great deals.
NUTRITIOUS BUT CHEAP FOODS TO ADD TO YOUR BASKET
There are many foods that are nutritious but also affordable. Here is a list of some of the best items to add to your grocery list:
• Kidney beans
These beans are inexpensive and packed with protein and fibre. They can be used in soups or salads as well as chilli.
• Tinned tomatoes
Tinned tomatoes are a great source of healthy goodness. Not only are they a fantastic way to add flavour to your meals, but they can also provide you with a range of health benefits. They’re an excellent source of lycopene - one of the most powerful antioxidants around. They’re also packed with vitamins A and C which help maintain healthy skin, keep bones strong and boost your immune system.
Chickpeas are a tasty and nutritious legume that can provide big health benefits. These small but mighty plant-based proteins have been enjoyed around the world for centuries. A single cup provides more than 15 grams of protein and 12 grams of dietary fibre, making them an ideal food for vegetarians or anyone looking to add a healthy boost to their diet. Chickpeas also contain essential minerals like zinc, manganese and magnesium – all important nutrients for good health.
• Frozen fruits and vegetables
Frozen fruits and vegetables are often cheaper than fresh produce, especially when they’re in season. Plus, they’re already washed so you don’t have to worry about pesticides or other chemicals from the packaging.
Oatmeal is a hearty breakfast option that’s filling without being heavy on the stomach - plus it’s cheap and can often be bought in bulk for less.
• Dried lentils
Dried lentils contain strong amounts of fibre and protein which help to keep you full for longer. They also contain several antioxidants that help prevent inflammation.
• Wholemeal pasta
Wholemeal pasta is one of the most nutritious food items you can add to your diet. It’s packed full of vitamins and minerals, plus it tastes great too. It’s rich in complex carbohydrates, which provide a steady source of energy throughout the day. Plus, it contains more fibre than white pasta - helping to keep things moving along nicely and reducing your risk of digestive issues. Wholemeal pasta also has a low GI rating, meaning it won’t cause sudden spikes in blood sugar levels like some other carbohydrates can.