Tips for Affordable and Healthy Food Shopping
Eating healthy on a limited budget may not be evident, but it is possible. You don’t necessarily need to dig deep into your wallet to bring a nutritious meal to the table, but it does however involve good planning, sufficient time, and the proper equipment and skills in the kitchen. Here are some tips and tricks to help you cook economically and healthily, and it begins well before you head to the grocery store!
If you know what you need and what you don’t need at the store, you will be less likely to make an unnecessary purchase and avoid losing time. Besides, by doing so, you can avoid high bills and wasted food. Now, let’s get to planning.
1) Think about what you can store (the size of your refrigerator and freezer) and what cookware and equipment you have in your kitchen. A weekly menu can be helpful. Each week, prepare a list of things you need and go to the store only once. To do this effectively, consider what you have leftover when planning your weekly menu.
2) Prepare a shopping list (including quantities) according to your weekly menu, and add anything else you need. Bring that list with you to the store.
3) Check out the best deals; you may find items you like. Buy only the things you need and those ready to eat or stored to avoid wasting food.
What to Put On Your Shopping List?
Healthy and economical cooking and shopping: What exactly does that mean? Here are some things you can include on your healthy and affordable shopping list:
Drink tap water, not bottled water. It’s easier on your wallet, on the trash heap (less packaging), and your back. Do you prefer flavored water? You can simply add the following:
-Fresh lemon or lime juice
-Frozen fruits such as raspberries, blueberries, oranges, grapefruit
2) Frozen Fruits And Vegetables
Frozen fruits and vegetables with no additives are excellent substitutes for fresh ones. They are easily prepared, are nutritious, easy to consume, have a long shelf life, and produce little waste. Have you got a big freezer in your house? If so, this is undoubtedly a healthy and convenient option.
3) Unprocessed Foods
Choose foods that are primarily unprocessed or less processed. For instance, you can buy fresh vegetables and fresh fruits, whole grain bread, boiled potatoes, dried beans, etc. Canned fish, frozen vegetables, and canned beans are also great options. These are considered less processed foods. However, there’s one thing that you need to know: canned vegetables and beans have salt added to them to increase their shelf life. Make sure to rinse them before cooking to remove the excess salt.
4) Brown Bread
Brown or whole wheat bread is healthier than white bread and costs no different. Not a fan of dry cuts? Avoid throwing them away. Store the bread in airtight bags and freeze in small portions.
Legume pastes are a delicious and hearty alternative to processed meats (cold cuts) in sandwiches. Canned legumes (beans, peas, lentils, etc.) are high in nutrition, quickly cooked, and low-priced. They are a bit more costly in the store, but you can easily make these spreads yourself (and, in some cases, freeze them.) You can also buy dried legumes, cook them, and freeze them in small portions.
6) Ready-Made Packaged Foods
Try not to buy too many ready-made packaged products. Items with appealing, eye-catching packaging, convenience foods, and ready-to-eat products are usually expensive. This is because you’re also paying for all the intermediate steps (washing, cutting, sugar, fat, salt addition, packaging, etc.). Besides, such commodities are often unhealthy. Diet products, sweetened beverages, and sodas, sweet and salty snacks, cold cuts, etc., are also pricey and unhelpful in a healthy diet. These foods should be consumed on special occasions or only once a week as an appetizer on Saturday night, for instance. Buy and consume only a limited amount of these foods.
Many people believe that frozen vegetables and fruits are inferior to their fresh counterparts. This is not the case. Frozen vegetables and fruits free of additives are just as healthy as fresh ones. Besides, they usually cost less!