Posted on Friday 20 May 2016
Taking care of our health should always be a priority, and eating well is one of the best ways to do just that. Proper daily nutrition can improve our energy levels and productivity, and in the long-term reduce our chances of developing illness or disease. However, fresh produce can be expensive and prioritizing healthy eating can simply cost too much.
The good news is that with the right meal-prepping and research you can do it without going way over budget. A balanced diet works much like a balanced budget: it pays off in the long run, but requires careful planning ahead of time. Here are our tips on how to shop smart to eat well, without breaking the bank:
Write a thorough list
Have you ever felt so uninspired by the contents of your pantry that you’ve resorted to takeout? This is a classic trap and an easy way to waste money each week. By creating a meal plan you will always be prepared to cook healthy food at home, and you will know exactly what to buy during your weekly shop. it may even get you excited to get in the kitchen.
While in the store you can keep a running total of your expenses as you shop, either on a piece of paper or even an app. This will prevent any nasty surprises at checkout. Writing a list is an old and proven tip that works wonders for literally everyone.
Writing things down doesn't mean you are 'dumb'. It just a tool that you can use over and over again and it's always helpful.
Groceries stores put a lot of effort into stacking their shelves in a very particular way-to encourage impulse buys. Cool branding and shouty deals can distract you from your list, and you could end up spending a lot more than intended every week. You’re also more likely to buy unhealthy snacks on a whim. People also do this once they quit a job but that's a different topic on it's on.
The key to eating healthy is consistency, and the purpose of a well-planned trip to the store is to stock your kitchen with food that will help you achieve your goals. Also, avoid going to the store on an empty stomach.
Hunger will truly warp your judgement. Going to a store on an empty stomach is like going to a date after one year of celibacy. The results could be devastating to say the least.
Never get something when you are in lack of it. It just doesn't work that way. So go the grocery store after a meal or something at the very least. Or you'll end up buying the whole store.
Buy in bulk
Once you know what your regular favourite healthy recipes are, there’s no reason to not buy the non-perishable ingredients in bulk.
Over time this is an easy way to save huge amounts on your groceries, with the advantage of never running low. If you have the space, you could even invest in an extra fridge or freezer to store meat or produce that you find on sale.
Buying in bulk goes for anything by the way. Anything that won't expire right away. It is one of the best things you can do to really start saving up on your regular purchases.
Embrace generic brands
While they may not have the fancy branded packaging, many generic supermarket brands are of comparable quality (or even the same product from the same factory).
Kitchen staples like flour, rice and beans are great products to buy generic, and spend the money saved on better quality produce and meat. Although it's true that some brands matter, try to experiment and with a few generic brands. Who knows . . . it might end up being a good choice.
Nothing wrong with trying new things or if you don't want to, that's okay as well.
Don’t waste your food
Did you know that in Canada alone, over $27 billion worth of food is wasted every year? By cutting your kitchen waste you will be making sure you get value for money, and also be doing your part to help the environment and food crisis.
The main step for cutting waste is proper meal planning-for example a chilli made one evening can be an ingredient in a heathy burrito bowl the next. You can make soup stock with bones from a rotisserie chicken, turn bread into croutons, and even use egg shells as fertilizer in your garden.
Being mindful of waste is a great way to use your imagination in the kitchen, and there are great websites out there that help you find recipes using any additional ingredients in the fridge.