There is a common misconception that eating healthy is expensive. Take away is considered cheap and fast food outlets are literally around every street corner so it’s no surprise that Australia is fast becoming one of the fattest nations in the world. Research shows that the average Australian eats out four times a month with 55.1 million visits to fast food restaurants recorded every month. Common sense tells you that a greasy burger with a side of chips is no substitute for a healthy home-cooked meal yet we still give in to the temptation and convenience of fast food. While eating fast-food may seem affordable in the short-term, a poor diet can have serious implications for your health in the long run. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore and it definitely doesn’t have to be expensive so here are some ways you can save money at the check-out and reap the rewards of healthy eating:
1. Make a shopping list and stick to it
Planning ahead is the number one rule. Make sure you have a meal plan set out for the week ahead and buy ingredients accordingly. Jotting down what you need on a piece of paper is a good way to ensure that you don’t deviate from your meal plan and saves you from making unhealthy food choices in a rush. However, if you still think temptation will get the better of you while shopping for your groceries then steer clear of the junk food aisles altogether!
2. Never shop on an empty stomach
Okay, so we’re all guilty of this: you’re strolling through the supermarket and shoving everything in sight into the trolley because you haven’t eaten all day. At this point your judgment is impaired by this overwhelming urge to satisfy your hunger and everything seems like a necessity (especially anything that is deep-fried or drenched in sugar). Remember that shopping on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Ever.
3. Buy in bulk
No, I don’t mean junk food. Have you ever wondered why junk food is always on sale? Well, because it’s mass produced, lacking nutrients and full of nasty stuff (preservatives, additives and colourings) that your body just doesn’t need. When I say ‘buy in bulk’- I mean seasonal fruit and veggies that are on sale. Seasonal produce is usually plentiful and less expensive than produce that isn’t in season. Try to stay away from pre-sliced, pre-prepared fruits and veggies because while they may offer convenience, they are usually more expensive.
4. Prepare your meals in advance
If you’re really short on time then cooking your meals in advance is a great option. Consider setting aside one day on the weekend to cook your meals for the week ahead. That way you can store individual portions in the fridge or freezer for later use. This will ensure that you’ll have plenty of healthy meals waiting in the fridge and help you save time on cooking during the weekdays.
While buying fresh produce and preparing nutritious meals can seem time consuming and costly, there are countless benefits of eating healthy that your body will thank you for later.
Do you have any tips on how you eat healthy without hurting the hip pocket? If so, please share!