[Guest Post] Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to enjoy healthy, nutritious meals on the cheap. By making a few small changes to your shopping and cooking habits, you can eat well, while reducing your food bills and limiting your food waste.
Pop down to your local market
Fresh fruit and vegetables not only taste great, but when you buy them in season, you will be able to bag a bargain. They can often be cheaper if you purchase them from your local market. By selecting loose produce, you can acquire a variety of fruit and vegetables, and cut down on waste packaging.
Fill up your freezer
Frozen fruit and vegetables count as one of your five-a-day, and they are often cheaper than fresh fruit and vegetables. They contain as many nutrients as fresh produce, and only take a couple of minutes to heat up in the microwave.
Grow your own
Growing your own vegetables is a pleasant, affordable pastime, with many benefits. Even if you do not have your own outdoor space, you can still grow fresh lettuce and herbs, such as basil and thyme, on your windowsill. All you will need is a few packets of seeds, some suitable containers, a small amount of soil and a few drops of water.
Choose canned fish for convenience
Tinned oily fish, such as sardines and mackerel, can be cheaper to purchase than fresh fish. They still contain an abundance of heart-friendly omega-3 fats, and have a long shelf-life. If you are concerned about your salt intake, select fish in spring water rather than oil or brine.
Get creative with your leftovers
The key to saving money on food is to ensure you do not waste any leftover produce. Most leftovers can be used to create tasty burritos. Simply pack any leftover meat, grains and vegetables into a wholegrain tortilla shell, add a little low-fat cheese and enjoy your creation.
Stock up on staples
Canned beans, dried pulses and tomatoes are inexpensive, and they can all count towards your five-a-day. You will be able to choose from a wide variety of beans and pulses, all of which are suitable for use in stews, casseroles and salads.
Experiment with plant proteins
Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet, but as you may know, one of the world’s most abundant sources of protein – meat - can be expensive to purchase. Plant proteins, such as beans and pulses, are inexpensive yet highly nutritious. They are also easy to prepare, and taste great too. By swapping animal protein for plant protein, you will not only be able to save money, but calories too.
Prepare large portions
If you do not have the time nor the energy to cook, you may wish to consider purchasing fresh vegetables in bulk. You can use your purchases to prepare generous portions of food that you can save for multiple meals. When cooking, remember to incorporate leftovers into your meals; you could use leftover grains, vegetables and meat to create hearty soups, stews and stir-fries.
With increasing food prices, you may think it is impossible to eat well on a restricted budget, but there are ways in which you can eat your five-a-day and keep some of your hard-earned cash in your pocket.
About the author:
Charlotte Rivington loves to blog about health-related topics, in particular her favourite recipes and nutritional advice. For all her food supplies she uses milk&more – a dairy and grocery delivery service.