26 Jan How to make healthy eating more affordable- 7 Tips
Once you read these 7 tips on how to make healthy eating more affordable, you’ll see that healthy eating can be achieved without spending all your money on food.
I don’t like labels…however sometimes I have to use them. Here I’m using “healthy eating” as a label for diets high in whole foods and lower in processed foods.
Healthy eating doesn’t automatically cause fat loss. Healthy foods still contain calories. Overall your calorie intake will determine whether you’re losing or gaining fat.
So why bother eating healthy?
Whatever your goal is, healthy eating will optimise fat loss/ muscle gain, give you more energy, help improve the quality of your life and reduce your risk of developing chronic disease.
It’s worth the effort, especially once you see how easy it is to make healthy eating more affordable.
How to Make Healthy Eating More Affordable
Tip #1: Don’t make pumpkin pie in summer
There is a reason pumpkin spice season lasts for a few months of the year.
Fruits and vegetables grow according to the seasons.
Certain fruits and veggies are going to be cheapest during the time of the year when supply is highest.
I love eating veggies but I also love not spending a million dollars on food.
To help make healthy eating more affordable, I buy fresh produce that’s in season.
This means my meals change slightly throughout the year.
Variety is good. It prevent boredom and forces you to try new things. You never know what you love until you try it.
If you like to cook according to recipes, you can modify these. You don’t have to add eggplant to a curry because it says so.
If you’re fussy and only like certain vegetables, then experiment with ways to make the vegetables you don’t like taste better. Raw spinach tastes very different to spinach that is blended into a bolognese sauce.
Tip #2: Stop paying for convenience
It sucks that salads are often the most expensive things on the menu.
You’re not actually paying for health, you’re paying for convenience.
It takes time to chop up all those veggies, cook some protein and make a tasty homemade dressing.
Making a salad at home doesn’t have to be complicated and is way more affordable.
It’s the same with buying pre-prepared food, whether it’s pre-cut, pre-cooked, or pre-portioned.
You’re paying someone else to do the hard work. Of course it’s more expensive.
It’s more expensive to buy cartons of egg-whites, pre-cooked chicken, pre-peeled veggies and individual sized tubs of greek yoghurt.
If you want to make healthy eating more affordable simply do that stuff yourself.
Buy veggies whole and peel them. Get greek yoghurt in bulk and weigh out how much you need. Cook your own chicken!
It will cost you a bit of time but not as much as you think.
If you’re going out all day, plan ahead. Take an apple and protein bar with you so you don’t have to buy some super expensive salad just to get by until you’re home again. You won’t starve or destroy your metabolism if you have to wait a few hours before you get home to eat something.
Tip #3: Make sure you visit the freezer aisle
Frozen options are as nutritious as their fresh counterparts so don’t be afraid to use these.
Their prices are usually stable year round and are often more affordable to begin with.
Frozen fruit and vegetables taste different. The key is to learn to use them in ways where you don’t notice.
Instead of eating frozen blueberries themselves, use them in a smoothie or add them to your oats.
Frozen broccoli isn’t the same as fresh broccoli but if you add it to a curry then you can’t really tell because the curry sauce adds so much flavour.
Adding salt and pepper to any vegetable, whether it’s fresh or frozen, also helps make it taste better.
Tip #4: You don’t need 5 star protein
There’s a reason restaurants skimp on servings of meat. It’s the most expensive part of the meal.
There are ways to make protein more affordable.
Many of the tips already mentioned apply; buy in bulk, prepare and cook meat yourself, and look out for discounts.
Usually chicken, eggs, mince meat, cottage cheese, and tin tuna are affordable.
Use these in place of eye fillet steak and lobster to make healthy eating more affordable.
If you need ideas on how to get more protein in your diet check out this article here.
Tip #5: Choose to flavour smart
You can use fresh herbs and spices or save time and money by buying them in powder form.
They’re just as good for you.
Some of my favourite staples I keep in my pantry are garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, tumeric, mixed herbs, parsley flakes, chilli, coriander and curry powder.
When in doubt, adding salt and pepper will bring out more flavour in any bland food.
Pre-bottled sauces are not only more expensive, they also contain more calories.
If fat loss is your goal then ditching sauces is going to help you. Check out this here for more tips on losing weight without counting calories.
Bonus Tip: You can recreate any sauce you want by modelling the ingredients on the label. Add the same herbs/spices and leave out all the other fillers, sugars and oils you don’t need. If you do want to make some kind of sweet sauce, use herbs and spices and then add a bit of table sugar. It’s cheaper and then you can control how much sugar you use too.
Tip #6: Stay away from superfoods
Skip the green powders, quinoa, kale and acai berries.
You don’t need to eat trendy foods to be healthy.
‘Superfoods’ are not magic. They contain a high concentration of nutrients and a label. That’s all.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t get those nutrients in decent quantities in other, more affordable foods.
Regular berries and spinach are just as good.
Pasta is pretty much the same as quinoa in terms of macros.
Frozen spinach added to pasta or curry sauces tastes way better than what green powder does.
Don’t get sucked into the claims around superfoods. They’re more expensive versions of regular food.
Let’s not forget, they still contain calories. If you’re eating all the superfoods and too many calories overall, you won’t be at a healthy body weight to be healthy anyway.
Tip #7: Don’t pay for the label
I told you I don’t like labels. Don’t pay for them.
Compare the ingredients in your favourite branded food and those in the no brand alternative. They’re often the same.
If a label has any kind of special claim on it such as “higher protein” or “low carb”, check the nutrition panel and see if this is correct.
More often than not, the same food without the label has similar nutrition and is less expensive. If it’s different, then you can get extra protein from another source to make your meal higher in protein. Or you can make your bread “low carb” by having one slice instead of two.
You don’t need “low carb” or any specially marked foods for fat loss. Read this to learn what really matters for fat loss.
If you’re wondering about organic foods, you don’t have to buy them to be healthy. If you’re currently eating lots of packaged meals and processed foods, then eating more whole foods including non-organic fruit and vegetables is going to be better than sticking to your processed food diet.
You don’t have to go from 0 to 100 overnight. If money is the limiting factor in you changing your diet, start making gradual improvements by trying one of these tips to make healthy eating more affordable.