There is a lot of pressure on us to eat healthily these days and to encourage our family to do the same. However, if we look at budget groceries, they can often be unhealthy and health food shops are expensive, so it might feel that you need a loan to eat healthily. However, there are ways that it is possible to be healthier on a budget.
Buy own brand products
Switching from branded products to supermarket own brand can make a difference to the cost. Usually a supermarket own brand will be cheaper (although you will need to check and this is not always the case). You may feel that you will not like another brand, but it is worth trying. If you are not keen then you can go back to the original brand but you may find you notice no difference or that it is better than your original brand. If you try this will all products then you could make significant savings. You will find that there are some brands that you want to stick with or that there are not supermarket brands available for, but mainly you will find equivalents. In some budget shops, there are branded products for very low prices, these may still be dearer than an equivalent supermarket brand so make sure that you compare the prices. You may feel that you are getting a bargain at a pound shop, but you may find that there are cheaper options available.
Cook from scratch
Many of us will buy a big majority of processed foods. Anything from ready meals, to breakfast cereals are very convenient for us but they are expensive compared to making these things ourselves. There are quite a few of us that have grown up without really learning how to cook, but there are plenty of television programs which show us how to make dishes, also online videos, local classes and cookery books, so we should be able to have a go. Some dishes are very simple and once we learn to master a few our confidence will go up and we will be able to do more. Many dishes take less than half an hour and you can save a significant amount of money compared with ordering a take away or buying a ready meal.
It can feel like a big hassle, but it can also be very rewarding. You know exactly what goes into your food so you can make sure that it is all healthy and there will be no additives or items with chemical names that we have never heard of. You can also make the food to your taste, so you can add flavours that you like rather than having to have the flavours that are put there for you. So you can reduce the salt and sugar if you wish and increase the herbs and spices and tweak everything so that it tastes perfect to you.
Reduce the amount you buy
Many of us buy far too much food. A lot of us waste food that we buy because it goes off before we use it so ensure that you do not do this. We also eat more than necessary. If we are at all overweight then it indicates that we are eating more than we need. Often, we will snack between meals and this is not necessary and we often eat unhealthy things at this time. This is an area where we could just cut the food out entirely or replace with healthier options. We may also put more food on our plates than is necessary. It could be that we could cut down the amount that we cook, so that we eat less or save some of the food and eat as leftovers at another time.
It can be useful to make a list of the food that you expect to eat in the week and then only buy that. This should save you buying food that will then be wasted and will save you money which you can then spend on healthy food.
Do not buy ‘health food’
Buying food that is branded as healthy can cost a lot more money. It is trendy to be healthy and therefore if food earns this label then it can be really expensive. It is worth thinking about what foods are equivalent to these really expensive ones. For example, blueberries can be expensive but getting blackberries form a bush is free and they are equally healthy. In fact, as long as you get a good variety of fruit and vegetables with different colours it does not matter whether you are buying apples and carrots or papaya and asparagus, you will still be healthy. Food in health food shops can also be very expensive and it is not always that healthy. Often the shops have lots of processed foods which might be slightly lower in certain ingredients such as gluten or certain types of fat, but they may still not be healthy.