Healthy Eating Doesn’t Have to Break The Bank
By Helen Sanders
If you are on a tight budget you may think that buying fresh produce and cooking with it is going to be expensive. The truth is, that making your own meals with fresh ingredients is often cheaper than buying processed and prepared meals.
We all know the importance of healthy eating and avoiding junk foods is one way to improve your diet. Food from fast food outlets has little or no nutritional value and it is just designed to fill you up. A better alternative is to eat freshly cooked meals that contain all the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy body (source).
You do not have to be a gourmet chef to prepare and cook healthy meals at home. You will not need any expensive kitchen gadgets or special catering equipment . As long as you have a cooker and some kitchen utensils you can cook meals that are both tasty and nutritious.
Shopping on a Tight Budget
There are some simple ways to save money at the grocery store when you are doing your weekly food shop. Before you go to a store you should plan your meals and make a shopping list. Try and stick to the list and avoid impulse buying so that you can stay within your budget.
When you are at the supermarket you can check out the special offers and promotions. Many stores will often have two for one offers and they will discount certain items. If any of your regular purchases are on offer it can be useful to stock up on them while they are cheaper.
Food sold in stores will usually have a best before date after which it is removed from the shelves. Many stores now sell off this produce at reduced prices at the end of the day. This is a cost effective way to buy food that is still safe to eat and you can also cook and freeze it.
Many parents often find it difficult to get their children to eat healthy foods rather than expensive fast food or snacks. A useful way to encourage children to avoid junk foods is to let them help you shop and cook. When children have helped to prepare and cook a meal they are more likely to want to sample their creations.
Get Value for Money From Your Grocery Shopping
A great way to get more out of your weekly food shop is by using leftovers to make another meal. Leftover vegetables can be used to make soups or stews and you can boil up chicken bones to make a tasty broth. Meat juices and the water that you cooked your vegetables in can also be saved and used to make stock.
If you have a freezer you can batch cook and portion up some extra meals. By cooking many portions at the same time you can cut down on your gas or electricity consumption which saves money. Your prepared meals can then be stored in the freezer until you are ready to eat them.
Meat is one of the most expensive items in many shopping baskets and there are ways to cut these costs. You can purchase the cheaper cuts of meat and slow cook them to make the meat tender. Some of these cheaper cuts are very tasty and they cost a lot less than the premium cuts.
Grow Your Own Produce
Growing your own vegetables, herbs and spices is another way to save money on your grocery bills. You can buy seeds from a store and plant them or you can harvest seeds from produce that you have purchased. When you are ready to harvest your crop you can use the produce immediately or freeze it.
You do not need a huge garden to grow things and you can even grow herbs in a small window box. To save money you can use old food containers as planters rather than throwing them away. Gardening is also a great way to educate children on healthy eating and household budget management.
Below is a link to a short video about growing your own produce in window boxes:
As long as you do some planning and shop carefully then healthy eating doesn’t have to break the bank. Is some cases you may find that you spend less than you did when you were buying fast food and processed food. As well as saving money you will also have a healthier and more balanced diet.
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