I have heard many times over the years when discussing with people about changing their eating habits, that it is impossible to be healthy on a tight budget. This is a misconception. Convenience foods are generally not healthy and more expensive for what they are. Here are 20 tips that might help you save money, get you eating healthier to reduce inflammation and stiffness.
1) There are always fruit and vegetables that are cheap, especially when they are in season. Supermarkets now have offers on fresh fruit and vegetables – buy one get one free etc.
2) Try local markets they often have cheaply grown local produce that is in season.
3) ‘Pick your own’ can be a very good way to get cheap local produce for the freezer.
4) If you are unable to grow your own fresh produce for one reason or another, and you know of someone who does grow their own, offer to buy their surplus (there is always surplus) or trade with them – for instance some sprouts you have grown (see below).
5) Whenever you see anything on offer – prepare it and freeze it.
6) Bought frozen vegetables and fruit can often be cheaper and there is no wastage.
7) Sprouting is a really wonderful way of getting highly nutritious fresh food for pennies. Sprouts can be grown all year round in your kitchen (big or small), take up almost no space, no expensive equipment, and next to no time needed. It’s as simple as ABC. Sprouts really are amazing as they can be used in soups, salads, stews, and stir-fries, they are extremely versatile. It is possible to sprout all seeds, whole grains, beans and lentils (easy to digest when eaten this way).
8) Buying fresh herbs is expensive so start a herb garden, they take up very little space and are decorative. Herbs look good and will save you a fortune, medicinally and culinary wise. If you don’t have a garden you can grow herbs in window boxes or in pots indoors and/or outdoors. Herbs are very useful as part of any health program. Use them fresh, frozen or dried herbs in cooking or for making teas.
9) Forget the hype avoid any thing with lots of fancy packaging that ends up in the bin, that is only wasted money.
10) Eating more beans and lentils with grains like rice (to get your protein) and cutting down on meat can help the budget, is healthier and increase your life expectancy. Bean and lentils are cheap, extremely versatile and good for you.
11) Getting together with 3 to 4 friends, to share the cost of buying things in bulk, this is a very good way of cutting costs. The difference in the cost of buying some brown rice for instance in small packets compared to buying a 25lb bag/sack, the saving per person is considerable.
12) Generally homemade food is cheaper and better than prepared processed foods. The Internet is full of free recipes and the local library is bursting with cook books from healthy ethnic to vegetarian to raw foods.
13) Saving a little on gas or electricity and time – make two three or four times the amount you need. For instance if you cook some chicken in the oven for dinner, add some extra chicken to eat cold the next day with a salad that includes your home grown herbs and sprouts. Also place another dish or two in the oven at the same time, on another day can just be heated up quickly.
14) Look in the supermarkets for the reduced section, there are always foods that have almost reached their sell-by-date, you can pick up some amazing bargains, leave the unhealthy ones, just pick up the healthy ones.
15) Breakfast cereals in general are very expensive especially when you think of the cost per pound. Eat porridge, or make your own muesli, much more filling and better good for you.
16) Can’t afford to go out to eat, find some like-minded friends that also like healthier food and take it in turns once in a while to eat in each others home. It is fun and you get to go out occasionally.
17) Supplement on a budget Spiralina is a broad spectrum supplement full of a wide variety of nutrients. Buy in powder form it’s cheaper than buying capsules or tablets.
18) Go out during the autumn months and pick blackberries they are free and freeze them. Berries are bursting with plant compounds and anti-oxidants.
19) Wild crafted dandelions – it is very important you know for sure they have not been sprayed with weed killer. Dig up the whole plant use the fresh leaves in salads or dry the root and the leaves an excellent tonic for the liver and kidneys.
20) Wild crafted nettles are extremely good as a general health tonic, makes really good tea. Pick the nettles wearing gloves, then tie them into loose bunches and place the leaves down into a large paper bag this protects the leaves from flies and dust. Then hang these bunches up by their stems. Any leaves that fall off will end up in the bag. It is important to hang any drying herbs in an area that is dry with air movement, maybe a garage, utility room, laundry room or airing cupboard.
Sonia Jones ND – Naturopath, nutritional therapist, spa and health clinic owner, author of 3 published books.