Healthy eating on a budget

As the prices of things go up a lot more people are being careful of what they spend or even making a choice of putting money on the electric or buying food, it’s all about budgeting and spending wisely, so I want to offer you a series of handy tip and ideas on how to budget and spend a little but still eat healthily, and make conscious ethical choices.

I have heard many times “we can’t afford to eat organic” or “we can’t afford to buy coconut oil at £6 a jar”, I understand this mindset but it is really all about prioritising and finding a way which works for you, you can do you best and that IS good enough for this moment in time, do consider though not only will you be saving money buy not impulse buying when there is nothing left for tea, you will also be making yourself and your family feel healthy and free of disease.

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I spend £6 on coconut oil but not only do I use it in cooking, I also use it on my skin  I don’t buy cleanser, toner, foundation, moisturizer or conditioner anymore which I am guessing would add up to more than £6.

So number 1 is plan ahead!

This is tricky to do sometimes but it does work, now some of you will like charts and timetables, I like them in theory but in reality I never stick to them so if your like me do this:

Figure out how many meals you need to make in a week, then make a shopping list with the foods you need which can double and sometime triple up for meals. So for example a veggie chilli, you would need 2 x kidney beans, 1 x baked beans, bag of quorn mince (other alternative), 2 x chopped tomatoes, chilli powder, 2 x onions, 4 cloves garlic, veggie stock cube (or make your own stock) this is enough to last a family of 4 3 meals, you can have it once with rice, once with pasta and make the rest into shepherds pies.

Now when you are buying the onions for example for the chilli you will have some left over, where we live in Blackpool UK a bag of organic onions is £1, there is normally about 6 of them in a bag, so there will be 4 left over for other meals. Things like the chilli powder, I buy in jars so they last for ages.

Onto tip 2!

Get yourself a nice collection of spices and grow some herbs, you can start off by a couple a week until you build up a collection. Good ones to have are chilli, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, garam masala, turmeric, nutmeg and herbs sage, rosemary, thyme, I also love basil but find it dies off quickly. Have a look at this post on growing herbs.With herbs and spices you can make the most bland ingredients have the wow factor! Also you can forage for free things like wild garlic.

wild garlic

Tip 3

Stock up, if there is a time when you have a bit more money or if there is a special offer on something you normally buy, then stock up on it whilst there is a saving to be made. Also get some staples like baked beans in the cupboard as these are a great standby and also help to fill out stews etc and are full of fibre, protein and have strong antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. Make sure you choose ones with no glucose-fructose syrup in them though.

Also bulk buy, so if you can get a large sack of pasta, rice, lentils etc it works out much cheaper, see if you can get a co-op together with some friends and order together. The only issue is you will need extra storage space.

Tip 4

Choose where you shop wisely, we have all heard of the big 4 supermarkets competing on price, but when did you last go in your local greengrocer and see what is on offer? how about visiting farmers markets too.

Tip 5

Use your leftovers to make other dishes, left over curry or chilli makes an awesome pie filling and pastry is easy and cheap to make. You can make it healthier too by using melted coconut oil instead of butter or marg, it gives it a lovely Thai flavour. Wilted veg? make a stew or a soup, bulk cook to save the gas or electric and keep in the fridge or freezer for a quick and ready meal.

Tip 6

One pot meals with bulky fillers like lentils, beans and pulses, cheap and nutritious and a great source of protein. You can make loads of dishes from chickpeas and beans, like chickpea curry or three bean chilli. One pot meals save on the washing up and make cooking easier, invest in a crockpot, you can put all the ingredients in it go to work and when you come home your dinner is ready!

Tip 7

Grow your own! A packet of organic rocket to buy in the shop is £1.29, you can buy a packet of rocket seeds for 45p and grow at least 4 times as much than in the prepared bags, obviously you have to tend to the plants and wait for them to grow but if you have a routine and succession sowing going on you could easily have fresh rocket most of the year.

Tip 8

Pick and choose what is important to you and your family, so if you don’t have to choose gluten free pasta and can manage with budget pasta one week, do that and prioritise organic potatoes for example, or instead of buying loaves of bread get a bag of flour and make flat breads ( cup of flour, some kind of oil-melted 1 tbsp and enough water to bind it into a dough, you can add garlic for savoury ones or honey for sweet ones, knead the dough and flatten into rounds then fry in a pan with coconut oil until lightly brown and crispy, these are excellent for soup, stews etc and take about 15 to make and cook)

We tend to spend a lot of rice and almond milk so if we need to save money to pay for other things we cut down on the brews and drink herbal teas instead.

Have you got any tips you can share with us on healthy living on a budget?

 

 

 

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