Healthy Eating on a Budget

Healthy Eating on a Budget

This post is a long time coming and I am surprised I have not written it sooner, especially given its a bit part of my weekly food shopping mantra. Healthy eating has an often unfair reputation as being expensive. It can be but then again I think its pretty expensive if you regularly eat takeaways or buy ready meals. Although from the outset cooking from scratch can feel expensive, once you have your store cupboard ingredients you’re pretty much good to go.

I am aware most people who like cooking are pretty good at these, but this post is for those wanting to change their lifestyle but feeling overwhelmed.

  1. Your freezer is your friend. I’ve been surprised by the frozen vegetables you can buy now (I keep thinking of growing up in the 90s when it was peas, carrots and corn). Frozen fish and fruit is also really useful to have in as it means you only have to defrost what you need and it tends to be cheaper to buy.
  2. You don’t have to completely steer clear of food trends but be aware  that it does make your food shop more expensive. Be realistic. Can you justify spending the money on something you might not like, especially if you are prone to buying something, trying it once and then ignoring it while it takes up valuable cupboard space.
  3. Look at your protein alternatives and embrace vegetarian and vegan food. Quorn is our new household favourite. (Can I just say here the people who make Quorn should take a bow, it has improved so much). Not only is it generally lower in fat, it works out as less expensive too. Think about having beans and pulses and adding nuts or eggs to stir fries.
  4. Get your dried fruit from the baking aisle. Seriously, its cheaper buying the bigger packs from here than getting it from the fruit aisle.
  5. Buy your fruit and veg by weight where you can. Again, this stops you spending more than you need on vegetable that you might not finish and not only does it reduce food waste but you spend less.
  6. Plan your meals. Whether this is a vague plan of what you’ll eat or more detailed. Being aware of what you will eat on what night prevents you from buying more than necessary.
  7. Buy yourself some snacks. There will be some days where its just too long between meals. If you buy yourself stuff that you like it’ll prevent you overeating as you’ll feel satisfied. Plus buying more at once can work out cheaper unless you eat an entire multipack of crisps in one sitting (and that my friend is a lot of salt).
  8. Try new recipes. How are you going to enjoy your new healthy lifestyle if you don’t embrace the magic of variety?

Have you got any tips to enjoy healthy eating on a budget?

Advertisements

I started a herb garden – proof that even if you’re an absolute beginner you can learn the basics

I start this post with a confession. I am the worst person with plants ever! When I was housesharing I forgot to water my flatmate’s spider plant while she was away for 2 weeks until 2 days before she returned home. Whenever I had to water my mother’s peas when she went away it would get dark and then I’d remember I’d neglected my duties. I do not possess a green fingernail, left alone green fingers.

DSC_0441Still, things change and our garden is looking far less neglected for having some flowers. I also started a herb garden. I go through so many fresh herbs cooking, my parents have a decent herb garden and its so much nicer and so useful just being able to take cuttings from outside.

DSC_0442I bought the beginnings of my herb garden already grown and repotted them, as you can be. I took the advice from my parents and D’s mum. Things like mint take over so keep them to separate pots. Currently I have chives, rosemary, thyme and oregano but I am hoping for mint and sage too.

DSC_0443As you can see I also took advantage of the availability of bedding plants and I got mostly violas and French marigolds. I admit this was partially as they were cheapest (there’s no point buying the expensive stuff when there’s no guarantee I won’t kill things). To be honest our garden already looks better – despite the neglected bits with the flowers and leaves brightening stuff up.

DSC_0444DSC_0445I also planted some sunflowers and tomatoes using those handy kits (aimed at children) that you can find in most supermarkets. Following the instructions maybe I can hope for a tomato or two at some point?

DSC_0440Gardening in the sun is actually pretty soothing and I sort of realised through doing it, it’s not really something to be avoided or afraid of. Once you have a few things planted it makes everything look so much prettier and cared for. Plus, once the hard part is done most of the work is watering and a bit of weeding. I look forward to sitting outside with D holding a nice glass of wine over the summer.

Fingers crossed I don’t forget to water everything!