Although eating healthily can be (ridiculously) expensive, it can also be done on a budget (trust me!). After moving interstate and spending all my savings setting up my new life, my apartment and my business, I’m not exactly rolling in the dough. However one thing I’ve leant how to do is be thrifty with my money. I’m still eating amazing food- fresh, local and (mostly) organic, with a little bit left over for eating out at new cafes and restaurants.
So, want to know how I do it? Here are my top tips…
1. Shop at your local farmer’s markets.
Even if you really can’t afford to buy from the organic stall, the produce at the farmer’s markets is generally fresher and cheaper than what’s available in the supermarkets. Local and seasonal produce is also more nutritious than produce that has been imported from overseas. Most farmers markets have stalls where you can buy fresh bread, eggs, cheese and meat. It’s your one stop shop for your weekly food shop. I visit my local markets down on Gleadall st in Richmond and pick up my weeks worth of fruit and veggies for under $40. Google search ‘farmers markets in (your suburb/city)’ to find one close to you.
2. Eat less meat.
Although I love a good quality piece of meat or seafood (especially salmon), eating less meat will definitely help you save money. I’m not advocating you go vegetarian, but eating meat 3-4 times a week is sufficient to get all the nutrients you need from it. I usually alternate between a meat day (where I’ll eat meat for either lunch or dinner) and a day of vegetarian eating. I also tend to stock up on cheaper cuts of meat and seafood such as organic beef mince (which I buy in bulk and freeze) or tinned sardines (which are HIGHLY nutritious and super cheap).
3. Plan your meals in advance.
Planning my meals in advance has really helped me save not only money but also time. I’ll cook up a massive batch of dinner on Sunday or Monday night and then portion into lunches for the rest of the week (packing your lunch is such a huge money saver). I’ll buy enough veggies at the markets to last me the whole week (so I don’t have to go back to the shops) and eat those that go bad faster at the start of the week. I also cook up big batches of quinoa and pesto and keep them in the fridge for when I have to whip up a quick meal.
4. Carry snacks around with you.
Always carry an apple and a jar of mixed nuts around with you (easier if you’re a girl with a handbag, sorry guys). Or if you work a desk job, keeping a stash of healthy snacks on your desk (fruit, nuts, bliss balls) will stop you from leaving the office to buy something when you’re feeling peckish (remember all those $5 snacks add up!).
It’s important to remember that healthcare is expensive, and spending even the little money you have now on good food can help prevent you from becoming sick and actually save money in the long run!
Article by Kavisha, Food & Wellness Coach