There’s this huge misconception out there that healthy eating is expensive. It’s not. Don’t believe anyone who tries to tell you that. I’m going to show you 7 easy hacks to eat healthy on a budget.
1. BRING BACK THE LUNCHBOX.
In roughly three years of working full time, I can proudly say I’ve purchased lunch out less than 10 times, (and when I did it felt like the biggest treat ever!) I am so used to the idea of bringing my own lil’ lunchbox that I honestly know no different.
Let’s do the math, buying lunch out costs roughly $15 a day. Times by 5 = $75. Times by 48 weeks or so and you’re looking at over $3,500! To put it into perspective, I probably spend maybe $15 - $20 a week for all the ingredients to make a week of lunches.
Work lunches don’t have to be fancy, either. On Sunday nights I boil some eggs, poach a chicken breast or two and then whip up a large salad with heaps of wholegrains and veggies (one of my favourites here) Serve out the salads into containers and add the protein you need. My boyfriend normally eats double what I do, so I need to make a mammoth quantity. I then do the same on Tuesday night for Thursday and Friday. This Zucchini Slice is also a great make-ahead kinda meal, perfect for the lunchbox.
2. BUY IN SEASON.
Undoubtedly my BIGGEST hack for saving cash is to buy fruit and veg that’s in season. It tastes it’s absolute best, and it always the cheapest due to high supply levels.
CLICK for a simple link to see what’s in season when.
Check out your local Farmer’s Market too, they’ll stock fresh, locally sourced produced at a cheap price. Plus, you’re supporting local Aussie farmers and the community. WIN WIN.
3. EAT MORE BEANS.
Canned Legumes are all great sources of protein and fibre, and sell for roughly 30c/100g (aka super cheap!) Legumes are a nutritional powerhouse and are the family to all the ones we love (chickpeas, lentils, beans, peas & lupins.)
They provide a range of essential nutrients including protein, carbohydrates, dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins (B-group vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium.)
Buy a few cans and keep them in the pantry, they’re a welcome ingredient to bulk out a meal or when you need to make a meal out of practically nothing.
4. EAT AT HOME MORE.
Sure, eating out is great, but it isn’t cheap. Instead of breakfast with your partner that could put you back $50 or so, grab two coffees for $10 (or less!) and go for a walk instead.
Save eating out for special occasions and plan ahead so you’re not doing it when you don’t want to.
5. BE A SAVVY ONLINE SHOPPER.
The two major grocery outlets in Aus, (Coles and Woolworths) now offer click and collect. Which is a fabulous way to shop in a timely manner. You don’t need to pay delivery, as you can pick up in a conveniently pre-selected time. Shopping online also prevents mindless additions to your shopping trolley and helps the willpower stay strong. You’ll save time as you’re no longer traipsing store aisles and rushing back and forth.
Write a quick shopping list before you log on, then shop the interactive online catalogue to start, grab everything you need there (with the brands on special) then work through the rest of the list.
Don’t be afraid of generic brands, or bulk-buying in larger quantities when cheap. I’m a big stocker-upperer. #noshame.
Also, you can get even thriftier by knowing that specials for Woolworths and Coles start every Wednesday, and the catalogue for the week ahead is released online on Monday night, giving you a good day and a half to plan!
6. KNOW WHAT’S IN THE PANTRY.
Do yourself a favour and have a lil’ pantry cleanout.
Use up everything you need to (close to expiry) and do a bit of a stock-take. You’ll likely have a heap of stuff to work through and groceries for the next few weeks might be a little lighter.
7. PROCESSED FOODS AIN’T CHEAP.
We pay for convenience. For example, pre-grated cheese is more expensive than a block of cheese, pre-packaged salad is cheaper than regular salad leaves and lettuce. Look for the little $PRICE/100g to compare products.