The festive season behind us, all the fabulous food consumed and both our bank balance and bodies need a break! This months column will help you make better, cheaper, tasty meals that will trim your waistline—along with your grocery bill.
Healthy eating on a budget doesn’t have to be hard. Once you develop a habit of shopping for and cooking up tasty, fresh food, you might never go back to packaged, processed or fast food again.
Eating out is not only expensive, but frequently unhealthy. Restaurant food is often full of fat and calories hidden in sauces, oils and butter. And while fast food lunches may appear to be fast, convenient and cheap, the lack of nutritional value is the real price you’ll pay!
It may seem like a little more work initially to make your own soups or salads, but the effort will save you big. The price you pay for one or two packaged lunches at the deli counter could buy the fixings for a week’s worth of homemade lunches. Additionally, you control what you put in it—and have a lunch you love as a result.
For meal times avoid packaged or processed foods such as savoury rice or pasta and sauce, these items are filled with MSG which is not only bad for you, but fills you up quickly and for less time, meaning you will be hungry again very quickly.
You can batch make savoury rice and use it for meals and snacks throughout the week. One of my favourite lunches is bell peppers fill with home made savoury rice.
Get Cooking and leave enough for leftovers
Step into the kitchen and indulge yourself in delicious one-pot dishes like stir-fry, soups and stews made at home with fresh or frozen vegetable, lean meats, tofu, rip seed oil and fresh spices.
These satisfying and inexpensive meals go a long way and will taste better than anything you can find precooked in the super market.
Batch cook, one day a week and package up leftovers for the next day’s lunch or freeze them to eat whenever a craving hits!
Frozen vegetables can be as nutritious as many fresh vegetables because they are frozen shortly after being picked.
In some cases, and particularly during the off season months, frozen may be even fresher than what you’ll find at your local shop; after all, how much time elapses between a vegetable being picked and your consuming it?
The best frozen vegetable choices include broccoli, peas, carrots, spinach, and mixed vegetables for your next dinner or stir fry.
Breakfast cereals are not only expensive, but most offer little nutritional value. And although the box may say it has 12 servings, do you know anyone who manages to eat just “one serving” of cereal at a time? You’re far better off with a simple home made pancake, a hard-boiled egg or fruit with low fat yoghurt.
Drink more water and less of everything else
Let go of fizzy drinks, juices, soy lattes, alcohol in favor of water and you will make an enormous dent in your grocery budget and improve your health in the process.
What more, you don’t have to pay for drinking water, and you can make it more interesting with slices of fresh fruit and herbs.
Enjoy your growing bank balance, Sonya.