Eating healthy food on a budget: learn how to save money and eat better

Do you think that eating healthy food on a budget is impossible?

Eating healthy food on a budget is not only possibile, but is easier that people may think. Even though healthy foods seems pricey there are a few tips and tricks you and use to enjoy foods that are good for your health and  easy on the pocket.

Healthy eating on a budget: basic guidelines

The first things you need to know is that the way you buy and prepare the food can largely influence how much you spend.

Buying in bulk is often a great solution to save money and time. Nowadays is easy to find producers that sell their crops ad produce directly or even on line and also in big batches for smaller price. This way you will help the farmer and you’ll get a fresh product that has not sit on a shelf for a long time.

Look for foods that are in season and local, this way you will pay less and get higher quality and taste.

Buy basic ingredients that you can turn into different recipe every week.

Often time a good quality product may seem to be expensive but you will probably use less of it. Let’s use extra virgin olive oil as an example. Good quality extra virgin olive oil has a distinct flavor, and you will only need a bit to flavor your dishes, so even if you pay more, you’ll use it longer.

Try planning your meals. Deciding what to eat for the days ahead can make a huge difference in food waste and money spent. If you already know what to cook,  you’ll only buy what you really need.

Invest in some tools

I’m sure the fancy shoes you’re wearing are awesome, and so it is for the expensive bag you bought last year, but why do you care so much for you outfits and don’t think that spending money for a food processor could be worth it?

Image by freepik

Since I bought my first kitchen machine I’ve started eating better and also spare some money. Nowadays machines are not that expensive, and you could buy one for less that 200$ all over the world, but they can be key to eating better and in no time. Mine also minces the meat, that is so useful to make burgers or meatballs with every kind of meat at home.

Slow cookers and pressure cookers are a great way to enjoy more beans and pulses and to eat foods that retains the highest quantity of nutrients. Pressure cooker is also a great way to cook a great meal in no time.

Kitchen machines do the work whilst you relax or use your time for doing something else. Also they can help you make foods that are not so healthy if store bought.
Bread is a good example here. Making bread could be intimidating, but if you have one of these machines you can watch tv while your fresh home made healthy bread is kneading. You’ll only need to put it into the oven when raised, doesn’t it sound great?
Think carefully about what you like most and choose your machine following your needs. It will be a very useful and life changing gift!

The top three tools I would recommend are:
– A very good blender (that can blend to a paste nuts and seeds)
– A nice kitchen machine with some accessories
– A slow cooker

Eating healthy on a budget: Prepare and cook in batches

We already touched on the benefits of buying in bulk however you might be worried that what you bought can easily go bad. This is quickly resolved by cooking and freezing the food, so you can have it handy when needed.

Many of us have microwaves in the kitchen so, instead of using it to reheat or cooking processed food full of junk, use it to defrost healthy meal you cooked for yourself.

I know that not everything can be frozen but there are a lot of things you can prepare and store for those nights you’re coming home late from work and don’t want to cook.

Do you want some examples?

Vegetables

You can boil all kind of veggies, or stir-frying them and then freeze them in ziplock divided into servings. Some vegetables are better when freezed raw. Mushrooms for example, you’ll only need to slice them and freeze.

Legumes

You can batch cook beans and pulses of all kind and freeze in a ziplock bag. They’ll come handy in many occasions.

Meat

You can cook roasted meat, meat balls, burgers, or you can freeze them raw, seasoned and ready-to-cook.

Fish

You can freeze portioned fish either raw or cooked. I love salmon and I’ve learned how to fillet it by myself. This way I can buy a whole fish (saving money) and prepare it for my needs, then freeze it in portions ready to use.

Pesto, tomatoes and other sauces:
you can buy large quantity of basil, make your pesto then freeze in the ice cube molds. Once it’s freezer you can put it into ziplock bags and use up to 6/8months. The same goes for tomato sauce, you can make a very large batch and keep it jars or freeze flat in ziplock bags to save space and time. It will thaw out in 2 minutes in a pan.

Dried chickpeas

Beans and pulses

Beans and pulses are a great way to save money. When bought dry they might seem to be expensive but a little goes a very long way. You can use it to make a wide variety of recipes. Try some Dahl, beans stews and soups. Once boiled you can use them to make vegan burgers.
A good tip to add texture and protein to a vegan sauce is to add some red lentils, try my recipe here.

Eating healthy on a budget: Conclusions

To make this transition sustainable, try changing your habits one step at a time. Start with something you feel comfortable doing, then after a while you add a new habit. This way you will be changing your habits gradually without the fear of not being able to make any changes.

Look on line for new recipes on a budget, video recipes that teach you how to prepare fish and meat when bought in bulk.

It’s easier than you think, I promise!

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