Do you complain about the rising food prices? Do you opt for unhealthier food choices because they’re cheaper? There’s no doubt that the cost of food is increasing. Healthy foods like organic vegetables can be expensive. However, choosing processed food over healthier options is not good value for money especially in the long term. In this article, I’m going to give you some tips on how to eat well on a budget.
My Dad used to say ‘If you don’t have your health, you’ve got nothing’. It’s a harsh reality that we work most of our lives to earn money to spend on bad food choices to get sick in the long run and spend the money on doctors’ bills and drugs. As they say, you are what you eat. I can’t justify buying junk food to save money because eating unhealthy food leads to illness. Getting sick is more expensive than the money you save.
The rate of people getting cancer is shockingly high. I worked in a medical clinic last year and I was shocked at the number of sick people I had to serve. That used to be me too until I changed my eating habits and mindset. Eating unhealthy food may fill you up but they are devoid of nutrients so your body will keep feeling hungry because it wants nutrients. This is the false economy and you end up spending more on food.
Eating well and choosing higher quality, healthier food promotes better health and quality of life. So choose the healthiest foods that you can afford.
My tips for eating well on a budget are:
- Shop around for lower prices. Small grocery shops, fruit and vegetable stores, wholesale meat suppliers and local farmers markets are often cheaper prices than supermarkets
- Keep an eye out for specials. You can often get some good reduced items. I once got a whole bag of fresh ginger for $1 at an organic grocery store!
- Choose foods that are in season as these are often cheaper
- Plan your meals ahead, cook at home, stick to your shopping list, don’t shop when you’re hungry to avoid temptations and stock up on items when on sale
- Eat more higher-nutrient foods like vegetables to get more value for money. These will fill you up for longer, reducing the need to spend money on snacks. When I include vegetables in my breakfast, I’m full until lunchtime
- Eat some good-quality protein or wholegrain at each meal to sustain the feeling of fullness until the next meal. Oats are a much cheaper and healthier breakfast than sugar-filled boxed cereals. Eggs also make a cheap meal. Add some spinach or other vegetables and wholegrain bread or wholegrain pancake, to make it a fuller breakfast
- Frozen vegetables like beans are often cheaper and healthier than buying them fresh which lose quality during transportation and storage
- Build your own vegetable garden for a cheap option. Use your food scraps in compost to reduce waste. Herbs also grow well in pots in your kitchen.
- Freeze leftovers and only buy what you need. I’ve heard the average Australian family wastes approximately $3000 worth of food a year. (Do your research on this)
- Save on meat three ways: Eat less but of higher quality grass-fed/free range (include a vegetarian meal a day), reduce the amount of meat you eat by adding vegetables to stretch it and try less expensive cuts of meat and slow cook them to make them more tender
- Make your own basics like stock using leftover vegetable scraps and bones
- Drink more water- cheaper than other drinks like coffee, tea and definitely avoid soft drinks
- Buy organic where you can as the more people who buy organic food, the cheaper it will become and it supports local, organic farmers
I try to buy the healthiest and highest quality of food that I can afford and is available to me and my family because health is my highest priority. Give your family the best you can afford.
I hope you find these tips useful for eating well cheaply.