Does eating healthily mean spending more money?
A lot of people think the answer is yes, but it is possible to eat a real food diet on a budget too. It is all about being resourceful and and thrifty with your ingredients.
Because I hate wasting anything, and find a way to use up everything (which is a big feat, given the amount of food i cook) I wanted to share some of my tips, to make it a bit easier for you. So I have compiled a few great money saving tricks for grocery shopping to help you save money and eat well too. I really hope you find it helps
Plan your meals
Instead of buying ingredients daily, it is always cheaper to buy ahead. Planning ahead means you can make your meals go the distance. One thing it is worth noting is that it is often good to look to your local shops and supermarkets to see what is in season and what is on sale so you can plan your meals based to get the best deals.
Buying online is great. Not only is it the best way to avoid the temptation of impulse shopping, but it also is also a real time saver too. You can use online supermarkets and go for cheaper options, but I make my life easier by ordering online veg delivery from Riverford. They are a great service, to provide fresh, seasonal organic ingredients to your doorstep. For the amount you get and the quality, it is much cheaper then buying organic ingredients individually.
Try less expensive cuts of meat
Eating on the cheap does not mean cutting meat out altogether. Instead of buying cheaper, factory farmed meats, go for less expensive cuts of meat to cut the cost down. It is worth asking your local butcher for leftover off cuts to make slow cooked meat stews, or choose cheaper cuts in the supermarket like chicken thighs and drumsticks instead of chicken breasts. I favour the darker meat of the chicken anyway. It has a much more flavoursome taste and is easier to cook without it going tough. These flavoursome piri piri chicken wings make a lovely supper and are great with a simple green salad.
Use your leftovers
Reusing ingredients and wasting nothing was something that was really drilled into us when from the teachers at Cordon Bleu. Vegetable trimming went into stock and off cuts of meats were used to flavour sauces. If you don’t like eating the same meal, try making leftovers into a new meal. I often cook up a double quantity of oven roasted vegetables needed for one meal (like the carrots in my carrot spelt salad) and use them to make quick and easy rice salads or to blend into soups.
Go veggie for a day
Amazing movements like Meat-free Monday have been such a great way for getting people more enthusiastic about experimenting with vegetarian dishes. Although it can be easy to go for the easy familiar options like pasta, I often cooking with beans and grains, like quinoa, brown rice, spelt and pearl barley. They are all wonderful inexpensive ingredients that can be used to make delicious dishes. I love my Asparagus, Edamame Quinoa Salad for a simple supper dish. I buy avocados cheaply in bulk at my local market and often switch the asparagus to green beans when they aren’t in season.
Spice it up
Spices and herbs are a wonderful way to make some of the most simple dishes exciting. Adding a scatting of cumin or smoked paprika to simple grilled vegetables can make all the difference, packing in flavour cheaply and easily. Build up a collection of your favourites and add a dash of them to you meals, marinades, soups and dressings.
Keep it simple
If in doubt, focusing on simple dishes, uncomplicated dishes for everyday cuts down the cost down of meals. Centre your meals around wholesome ingredients like chickpeas, brown rice, roast vegetable salads, leafy greens and making your meals less meat focused is the best way to pack your body full of enough beneficial nutrients to keep you feeling energised and happy and not make your wallet suffer.
I hope this little list has helped a little and given you some idea and options about the best ways to save money, yet keep on the path of healthy eating! If choosing the most healthful options is not always possible, don’t worry about it, just try to do the best you can. If the odd chocolate bar miraculously makes its way into your shopping basket, just tap yourself on the back for not buying 5.