How much does it cost to eat healthily?
It’s no secret that in today’s society the majority of us feel strapped for time and money, challenges which can lead to poor diet choices. The convenience of processed, ready prepared food can at the end of the day seem all too tempting, opposed to cooking from scratch. Whilst it may be true that healthier food can cost more than junk food, what are the implications to your health?
Last year a report into the widening gap in costs between fresh foods and processed found that healthy foods could cost up to three times as much as unhealthy alternatives. This may be so but at what cost is this to your health? The long term implications that we should eat cheaper, quicker processed food to save a bit of money and time, completely ignores the effect this can have on your health and wellbeing.
There are simple steps to take to reduce the cost and to also eat a healthy and balanced diet. Not only is it really satisfying to make a meal from scratch but you’ll be reaping in the rewards on the health side of things! I made my own pasta the other day, whilst not something I plan on doing every week, I could really taste the difference by cooking fresh.
Staple foods like tinned beans and pulses are super cheap and can really help pad a meal out. Try using different types such as chickpeas, butterbeans, and black eyed peas and add to stews, soups and pasta or curry dishes. These are a great source of protein as well as we mentioned in our Protein post!
Seasonal eating is one of the most effective ways to each the freshest, most nutritious veg, as it’s meant to be consumed at that time! This isn’t to say avoid anything else in store, with supermarkets shipping from all over the world we are lucky enough to experience veg and fruit out of season. Here’s a bit of a breakdown of what each season has to offer:
Summer: Cucumber, lettuces, cherries, raspberries, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, strawberries, spinach, plums, red cabbage, blueberries, sweetcorn.
Spring: Greens, cauliflower, kale, cucumber, lettuce, asparagus, rhubarb.
Autumn: Apples, red cabbage, leeks, courgettes, corn, blackberries, squash.
Winter: White cabbage, leeks, carrots, kale, potatoes, cauliflower.
Don’t fear frozen!
What is the stigma around frozen food? If it’s good enough for Jamie & Delia then it’s good enough for the rest of us! Many companies in the frozen food market now pride themselves on the lack of lost nutrients due to freezing the fresh produce. They’re still a healthy option and remove the stress and time taken to prepare and chop veg or meat. You can even buy chopped onions to save your tears! Try buying frozen berries, perfect to add into natural yoghurt for a protein packed breakfast, or whizzing up into a smoothie. Some reports have shown that frozen varieties of veg can contain more nutrients and antioxidants than their fresh alternative.
Simple switches can help you cut a multitude of the bad stuff out of your diet, it doesn’t have to feel like you’ve cut all the nice foods out either, just get switch savvy. Head for the baking aisle for nuts, fruit and seeds – they’re often a fraction of the price than the ones in the health food section – for the same product. Don’t be tempted to go full fat, you can cut down sugar and fat by opting for diet and sugar free versions of drinks, opting for reduced fat cheese or butter. In a typical sugary cereal such as frosted flakes you can find around 35g of sugar per 100g as opposed to 0.5g in oats or 10g in corn flakes. Opting for plain cereal is always a better option, you can add your own berries, nuts and seeds to add flavour or add a sweetener rather than sugar.
So next time you’re shopping, don’t forget to keep these tips in mind and see how easy it is to eat healthily on a budget by changing your attitudes and planning ahead to save time.
Here at Focused Nutrition health is at the forefront of our products, well that and of course taste! We’ve worked hard to produce scrumptious flapjacks which are vegetarian, vegan and contain non-hydrogenated fat. Contact us to learn more.