Each month I set myself a goal to lose 4 lbs, which equates at a lb a week, give or take. I know that eating healthily is important, and maintaining a healthy weight is important, but I sometimes struggle to eat the best I can. I read a lot of cookery blogs and healthy eating blogs, and constantly find myself wanting the food portrayed in the pictures.
But, eating healthily all of the time is hard.
I am the first to admit that I like chocolate and cake. That’s in my twitter description! After a long day at work, I can think of nothing better but to grab a chocolate bar and a cup of tea and have a five minute break before doing something else. I love baking cakes and biscuits, I love the smell of them baking and then to give them to people to enjoy. I try and maintain a healthy balance of good and not-so-good food but it is hard. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I frequently notice that there’s a lot more unhealthy food discounted in our supermarket then healthy food.
But, healthy eating is important! Health is the biggest asset, since we can’t do much without it. There is no point having all the money in the world if your health is poor. Now, I realise that, for some illnesses, it is totally unavoidable. I’m talking about being overweight and eating rubbish. That is something we can all control and do something about. I’m also not saying it is easy – I’d be the first to say it isn’t – but it is important.
Here are some of my tips for healthy eating on a budget:
- Measure the correct portions of foods. This is especially important for things like pasta/spaghetti/oats. Anything that needs to be poured from a jar needs to be measured!
- Buy fruit and veg that is in season. Things like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, apples and cranberries are all in season at the moment and can be used to make some wonderful, healthy meals. Sweet potato soup, baked butternut squash, apple and cranberry crumble are all healthy meals. Crumble can be too if you watch your portion size! Plus, who doesn’t like crumble?
- Incorporate at least one portion of fruit and veg into every meal. For example, one of my favourite breakfasts at the moment is oatmeal, topped with stewed apples and cinnamon. Another one is oatmeal topped with microwaved frozen berries (basics range) and a small spoon of almond butter. I get one of my five-a-day with my first meal and it’s a filling breakfast too. At dinnertime, try and have half your plate either filled with salad and/or vegetables.
- Soup is a healthy eater’s best friend. Seriously, there are so many soup recipes that are filling and comforting, but are low in calories and very tasty. Have a look at the good food website, or your favourite food blogger for some inspiration. Just avoid creamy soups and again, watch your portion size! Vegetable soup is quick and easy to make, using bendy bottom-of-the-fridge veg if necessary!
- Write a shopping list and never go food shopping when hungry. Writing a list makes it easier to stick to buying healthy things rather than just what you fancy at the time. Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry as you’re more likely to buy unhealthy, fatty food as that what your brain craves!
- Buy frozen fruit and veg. I frequently buy frozen berries, to have on oatmeal or to use in a crumble, as they’re often cheaper than the fresh and can last longer too. Things like peas and sweetcorn taste just as good as the fresh variety, but are cheaper. Frozen fruit and veg are easy to use too.
- Have a veggie night once a week. Eating a vegetarian meal once a week means less red meat intake and often a cheaper meal. One of my favourite veggie meals is a chickpea and veg chilli served with rice. Very tasty and filling and healthy too. Plus, eating vegetarians foods often mean a lower grocery bill.
- Cook from scratch. If you cook things from scratch, then you know exactly what’s going into them. You know how much fat you use, how much salt goes in, and what lovely fresh ingredients are in there. None of these added extras which are not healthy at all! If you don’t like cooking, start off with straight forward dishes and then work your way up once you get more confident.
- Last, everything in moderation! I think everyone would go mad if they ate everything healthy all of the time. In fact, it can be a dangerous mindset to have if you never have anything unhealthy. A slice of cake, a scone with jam, a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar is not going to hurt you, unless it’s everyday at every opportunity. Enjoy life at the same time!
Now, I’m definitely not perfect with our eating – far from it some days – but I’m trying to get better. I don’t want our grocery budget to go up massively so I’m following these tips and it seems to working so far! I need to work on eating breakfast more often, as I do regularly skip it, which I know is bad. I always eat breakfast on the weekend but during the week, I often don’t want anything in a morning. Bad Nicola!
Do you agree? Have you got any tips on eating healthily on a budget? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
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