It would be amazing to have an endless amount of money to spend on eating the most amazingly healthy food that could be prepared for you by a personal chef like Gisele Budchen and her husband Tom Brady. In the reality of the real world it’s a case of balancing everything from your pay – accommodation, bills, savings, fun things and food is in there too. For a more realistic approach here are 5 easy suggestions.
- Freezing seasonal fruits and vegetables – Fruit and vegetables are at their cheapest when they are in season. It would make sense to get extra of these and freeze them for future meals. To get even more value for your money it is worth buying them at a market as the prices tend to be more competitive than at your local supermarket. This is something that I try and do. How you go about the freezing process depends on how much time and space you have in your freezer. You can either pre-make your smoothies by freezing the allocated fruits/veg in portion sized bags or tupperware boxes or freeze them in bulk. I find that it is easier to freeze the items on a tray i.e. laid out flat for things like beans and then put them in a container. It’s easier for when you want to select what to use as they won’t have frozen together as one clump. Another tip would be to put the date and what is in the container so you know when you froze it and it’s not a surprise when you use it.
- Cooking extra – When you are already committed to cooking food from scratch it can take time so why not make it easier on yourself and make a few extra portions. It can be a sauce, stew, or rice. The extra can be used for another meal in the week such as lunch, dinner or a snack. An example would be to make double of the bolognese sauce and freeze half so later in the month it’s a quick meal that you can defrost and enjoy. Or the quiona with one meal could easily be used for a few lunches during a busy work week and would require a few extras to complete it rather than making the lunches from scratch each evening. It saves you time, makes it convenient in the long run. It’s a good habit to get into. Obviously you need to have some discipline and not eat the extras with your normal meal!
- Bulk buying for dry food items – Dry food items would include lentils, oats, grains, nuts, rice etc. The cost of the small bags in the supermarket or corner store slowly add up on your budget. These are staples in your kitchen cupboard so it makes sense to bulk buy. It’s best to either go to a big supermarket and if you don’t have one of these close to you then online and hunt around for deals. Usually if you are buying a few items at once from the same place then you can get free delivery which is another added bonus. It does also mean that you aren’t having to carry heavy bags of grains home.
- Planning meals – Setting aside a bit of time on the weekend can take away the stress of midweek food panic and spontaneous purchases in the supermarket that can add up. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun every now and again with eating out. It’s easier to plan to eat ‘x number’ of meals that are home made. By planning on the weekends it means you can spend some time preparing some of the meals so it’s more convenient and saves time after work.
- Old School Superfoods – Every month there are new superfoods being discovered and shared as the next best thing. You can see them in the media and latest diet books released. I don’t want to take away any credit to the new found superfoods but some of them are quite costly to have on a regular basis due to the fact they are imported. Have one or two per month that you have either tried and love or would like to try. Make sure it keeps within your budget. Don’t forget the older superfoods that are readily available and cause less damage to your wallet such as lemons, carrots, cabbage, kale, almonds, green tea. The list could go on. It’s worth a revisit to the superfoods that don’t break the bank and are easily accessible.