We often hear people saying that it is too expensive to eat good, nutritious, healthy food, or that junk food is way cheeper, but is this really true?
When you are looking at the price of food there are so many other things to take into consideration such as ‘will this meal keep me full?’, ‘what is this meal providing me nutritionally?’, ‘how will this food impact my health in the long run?’.
Food isn’t just about the moment when you’re eating it, but also about later in life, the sooner you start really thinking about what you are eating the better chance you have at a good healthy life when you get older. For example; even if nuts are more expensive than chocolate as a snack, it offers you a whole lot more goodness and will keep you feeling fuller for longer reducing your snacking amounts. This is even without the benefit of all the nutritional value it carries offering natural healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and a great taste.
Taking the time to organise and prepare for meals now could save you a lot of money in the long run in doctor’s bills, medication costs and in the worst cases surgery costs.
There are many ways to save money when buying healthy foods, but it does take some planning and preparation. Shopping around is the best way to get the best value for your money; Farmers Markers or fruit and vegetable shops can have more affordableprices than chain stores, as well as better quality products.
Here are some easy tips to reduce costs while still having nutritious wholesome meals:
1. Always buy in season: The produce is more affordable, better quality and often tastes better too.
2. Canned tomatoes are a must for all pantries: They are great to use as pasta sauces, soup bases and flavour for casseroles. Stock up on canned tomatoes when they are cheap, but watch out for high salt content. According to the national nutrition guidelines the recommended intake of sodium is 920-2300mg/d for men and women older than 19. 2300mg sodium is equivalent to only 1 teaspoon of salt per day. Canned tomatoes can have up to 570mg of sodium per cup whereas no sodium added versions can be as low as 24mg. Check the back of the can for nutritional information, when comparing two products look at the quantity per 100g as serving sizes can vary between brands.
3. Purchase eggs: Eggs works out very cheap and what is even better is it’s a great breakfast food. Eggs are high in protein and good fats, which keeps you going for longer.
4. Cook at home as much as possible: Preparing lunch at home is much cheaper than buying takeaways every day.
5. Buy in bulk and freeze the extra: Make sure you date the food, so you know how long it has been in the freezer for. Pre-prepare lunches and freeze them for those mornings when there just isn’t enough time.
Small changes can make a big difference in your food bill over the course of a week, not to mention your health. With a bit of planning and preparation you can have healthy, nutritious, wholesome food while still saving money.
Guest Post by Gerdi Brits, Nutritionist
Gerdi studied at Massey University, completing a Bachelor of Science majoring in both Human Nutrition and Sport and Exercise Science. She has a passion to teach others how to make better choices and how to make lifestyle changes, rather than putting them on a diet to follow for a short time. She is a strong believer in making changes for life and providing people with the tools to do so.
Completing a double major allows Gerdi to understand athletes better and the different needs associated with different sports. She also has a real passion for sport and the physiological aspect of training and nutrition.
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