For various reasons, we often set healthy eating habits aside, and one of the most prominent reasons is the perceived high costs involved. Eating healthily doesn’t have to empty your pockets, though!
Following a healthy diet comes with a range of well-known benefits, including lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease, maintaining a healthy weight, and supplying your body with the necessary nutrients. The one benefit that is especially great for students, though, is that healthy eating habits can improve your academic performance as well.
Follow these tips to eat healthily without ruining your budget:
1) Stick to the basics
Healthy eating can be really easy when you stick to eating basic, natural foods – foods that haven’t been processed in any way. These ‘real’ food items include meat (red meat and poultry), vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy oils such as olive oil. You will often find that these items are more affordable than foods that have been heavily processed.
2) Swap unhealthy food items for healthier ones
The next time you go on a shopping trip, challenge yourself to investigate the prices and labels of the items that you buy. When in the bread aisle, for example, compare white bread or regular brown bread to a healthier whole-wheat or low GI bread. Many manufacturers are realising that consumers are much more inclined to buy healthier food items, and have had to adjust their product ranges and prices accordingly.
3) Use ‘filler’ products
When preparing meals for your family, there are several ways to stretch your budget – especially when it comes to preparing meat dishes. Use canned/raw beans, lentils and soy mince to expand your meal’s nutritional value and to save on your meat budget! You can also increase nutritional value, and make your meals go further, by adding more vegetables to pasta dishes, stews and casseroles.
Snacking on fruits and nuts during the day will make you less likely to overindulge when it comes to meal times. Be sure to pack a few snack items in your lunch pack for the day to prevent yourself from buying chips and other unhealthy and/or expensive products on impulse.
5) Do bulk shopping
Always be on the lookout for bulk specials at your local grocery stores. They often slash the prices on bulk items, which will provide you with the perfect opportunity to stock up and save for the future. Items that you can shop for in bulk include meat, nuts, grains, and in-season fresh produce.
6) Buy from different vendors/stores
Always compare the prices for the same products by visiting different grocery stores in your area. You’ll often find that some grocers mark up certain products, while others mark them down – it all depends on their price structures. Plus, visiting more than one store during your shopping trip will have you exercising without even realising it!
7) Stock up on frozen foods
When in the freezer aisle, look for the largest packages of frozen vegetables. These will probably offer the best value in terms of price. Fresh and frozen vegetables have the same nutritional value, so don’t be afraid to buy in bulk.
8) Stick to your shopping list
Once you have planned your meals for the week, make a shopping list and stick to it! This will prevent you from purchasing unhealthy items on impulse.
In essence, eating healthily will not only save you money (if you shop smart), but it will improve your overall health and study performance. So go ahead – shop, save and succeed!