Many people ask me what the perfect diet is. If I could live on organic cold pressed juice, wild salmon and superfood snacks every day, you can bet your cacao chocolate covered goji berries I would. But that’s not my reality – nor is it achievable for many of us. Living is expensive. Life happens. Bills need to be paid, gym memberships come up, cars breakdown and rent is relentless. As a result of these, our eating habits can suffer, amirite?
But healthy eating without spending a fortune IS achievable and is a concept that becomes a whole lot easier once you learn how and what to throw together. It isn’t just about tinned tuna and crackers (c’mon, you’re better than that!). It’s a touch of organisation, a sprinkle of smart thinking and a big dollop of preparation – and there’s nothing but the supermarket aisle stopping you. This time of year can be tough (hello end of year parties, secret santa and New Years Eve plans) so I want to share with you my all round awesome tips to help you stay on the healthy eating band wagon without spending too much.
Be flexible with recipes
I know so many people who are fixated on cooking by the book. Sure, recipes are made with measurements to get the right flavour and consistency to enjoy your meal – but some ingredients can totally be substituted for what you already have and in turn, save you money. It’s ok to deviate sometimes:
- Problem: recipe calls for sour cream.
- Solution: have you got greek yogurt in the fridge? Swap that!
- Problem: you need master foods mexican seasoning mix.
- Solution: buy cheaper versions of cumin and paprika and mix together.
- Problem: your recipe needs lime.
- Solution: substitute with lemon instead (way cheaper).
- Problem: your stir fry recipe needs a medley of fresh veggies.
- Solution: buy a packet of frozen mixed vegetables.
Shop smart: go once a week only
I have been super guilty of this. Hitting the shops every night instead of once a week is one of the most expensive ways to shop. Sure, you may be going in for “just a couple of things”, but you’ll come out with more – it’s inevitable (it’s not your fault… you didn’t know Lindt would be on sale). But don’t let the supermarket win! Plan your meals for the week, write your list (and stick to it) get in and get out unscathed of the clever marketing and 2 for 1 offers #youvegotthis
Don’t be afraid to buy frozen veggies
Did you know that frozen veggies can sometimes be more nutritious than fresh? Plus, they’re cheaper too. Win! They’re frozen fresh on picking so the goodness is instantly saved for when you need to add to your cooking. If you’re cooking for one, two (or even more) you can use what you need, and pop them straight back in the freezer. They’re an on-the-go gal’s best buy.
Buy in-season and grow your own herbs
Sure, I’d love to eat figs and cherries every day of the year, but my addiction would be costly out of season. Not only that, it takes more resources and importing from overseas countries just to get to my plate. Not sure what’s in season? Check out the seasonal food guide here. Buying herbs every time you shop is also costly, if you don’t use them all in one go (when do we?) they’ll be nasty before you know it. Why not become a plant parent? Potting parsley, basil, and mint is a great way to start and you can do it no matter where you live. Plus, it’s an excuse to go to bunnings and get your green thumb on. Gardening is good for you!
Love me two times
You know the stem of that broccoli? Those bits you cut off your carrots, zucchini and asparagus? They can all be used for your next meal. Ever heard of stem soup? Or a root to stem salad? Save your stems and cut offs (this means peels too!) and pop them into delicious soups to bulk them with glorious fibre. Plus:
- Your left over greens can also be frozen to throw into green smoothies the next day. You’ll be getting added nutrition, plus you won’t even taste it if you have banana and honey in there too. Trust me.
- Left over cabbage (which is a very inexpensive vegetable) can also be made into sauerkraut to have on eggs, salads, nourish bowls and crackers (even straight from the jar, or is that a new low for me?)
Get shop smart with our Active Living Planner and get your grocery game plan on!