Sticking to a healthy eating plan doesn’t have to be expensive. Just follow Emily Dallara, and you’ll be eating well while saving money at the same time…
According to an increasing number of experts, eating healthily can be done on little cost and with a small amount of effort. “Low-income households have bought into the myth of healthy food being expensive,” explains Mary Flynn, research dietician. Yet it can actually be the opposite if you plan meals and your healthy food shop in advance. Mark Sisson, a nutritional expert, explains that shoppers don’t realise that by making simple changes to what you buy when you go grocery shopping, you can make a huge difference financially. It’s changing your mindset, and what’s on your shopping list. Studies by Flynn go on to mention that you should consider eating primarily vegetarian-based dishes.
Mix it up and go meat free
Being a veggie a few days a week could not only be beneficial for your health, it also helps you save money. Don’t eliminate meat completely, just reduce it to your favourite meals of the week. The belief that healthy food is expensive drives people to buy processed food or pasta, which can contain a lot of gluten and starchy, high carbohydrate vegetables some people have problems metabolising. This may lead to weight gain or cause a momentary stall in weight loss, which is not what you want.
Eating healthy is good for you (obvs)
Nutritional science tells us that as well as helping you maintain a healthy weight and body, eating food that is good for you also has other benefits that include saving you future money on health care. You will also apparently live longer and have better immunity because you’re eating more nutritionally dense foods. You will perform better in every way and have more energy as well as feeling amazing. Do you really need more of an excuse to buy and eat healthy food?
Simple shopping list for healthy eating on a budget
The below healthy shopping list gives you flexibility to make a variety of healthy, tasty dishes that won’t break the bank, but will fill you up. It seems like a lot, but if you shop savvy and plan ahead with your meals, then it works out costing less than usual. It also gives you some ‘store cupboard food’, like soy sauce, boiled rice and vegetables for example, for when times get really bad (like the end of the month or before pay day).
4 Easy But Healthy Budget Recipes
1 Light Vegetarian Tofu DisH
1 packet of extra firm tofu (12.oz) – cut into thick bite size pieces, 1 tsp fresh garlic crushed, 1 tsp fresh ginger shredded, 1 large white onion chopped into small pieces, 1 medium green bell pepper chopped into bite size pieces, 1/2 cup green onion chopped into small pieces – (optional), 1 tbsp sesame seeds for decoration,
4 tbsp olive oil for cooking. For Sauce: 3 tbsp soy sauce – I’m using lighter version (less salt), 1 tbsp chili sauce – I’m using Sambal brand, you may use any chili sauce as per choice, 1 tbsp white vinegar, 1/4 tsp honey – You can use sugar or any sugar substitute,
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp water – (optional), pinch of pepper, salt as per taste.
In a large pan, add 2 tbsp oil and let it heat for 1 minute. Add chopped tofu and let it cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown.Turn the tofu to the other side and cook till golden brown. Once, the tofu is evenly brown on both the sides, turn off the heat and transfer to a kitchen towel (to absorb any oil). Heat the pan again with 2 tbsp oil. Now add, ginger, garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add, onions, saute for another minute. Once the onions are slightly pink in color, add chopped bell pepper, green onions and saute everything over high heat for 2 minutes. Now add, the sauce ingredients, reduce the heat to low and let it cook for 2 minutes. Add, cooked tofu, cornstarch to this sauce and stir everything together for a minute and turn off the heat. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with sesame seed. Serve with choice of grain.
2 Tropical Overnight Oats
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 1 1/4 cups almond milk, 1 cup canned coconut milk (light or full-fat), 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, or other sweetener of choice, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, Dash of salt, 1 cup pineapple, chopped, 1/4 cup coconut flakes, toasted.
In a medium saucepan, add oats and both milks. Turn heat to high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, stir, and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add the sugar, chia seeds, vanilla, and salt. Stir until well combined. Cook until the oatmeal is your desired consistency, about 2-3 more minutes. Divide into two bowls.
Top each bowl with half of the pineapple chunks, half of the coconut flakes, and any other desired toppings.
3 ITALIAN EGGS
Tbsp olive oil, 1 small to medium onion finely chopped, 2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped, 1 tin chopped tomatoes, 300 ml passata, 3 tbsp tomato purée Himalayan Pink salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Heat the olive oil in a pan on a medium heat before adding the onion and garlic, stirring and cooking for about 5 minutes until the onions soften. Add the tinned tomatoes, passata, tomato purée and mix together, then add the salt and pepper. Stir again, then bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. The longer the sauce cooks, the better as it develops more flavour that way. If the sauce dries out, add a little water and stir. Taste at this point, and add a little more salt/pepper if you think it’s necessary. Tasting at this point is key, your tongue won’t lie!
Add the desired amount of sauce to cover the base of a small to medium frying pan and warm the sauce on a low heat. Make small wells in the sauce and crack the desired amount of eggs into the sauce. Don’t break the yolk. Poach the egg in the sauce and carefully spoon the hot sauce on top of the egg. This helps to cook the yolk at the same time as the egg white is being cooked.
4 Healthy One Pot EggPlant and Rice Recipe
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), 1 1/2 cups chopped sweet onion, 3 vine tomatoes, seeded and chopped, 4-6 garlic cloves, minced, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano, 1 bay leaf, 1 cup long grain rice, 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, 1/2 cup grated mizithra cheese (optional), 2 tablespoons butter (optional), 1-2 tablespoons minced parsley for garnish (optional).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the eggplant crosswise in ½-inch slices, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Preheat oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and stir to coat with the oil. The eggplant may soak all of the oil; this is okay. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and continue to saute for five minutes, until the eggplant has softened. Add onions and saute for another five minutes. The eggplant and onion will both melt down slightly. Add tomatoes and garlic and cook for an additional minute. Season with the remaining salt, black pepper, and oregano. Add rice and bay leaf and stir to combine. Stir in chicken stock, top with grated cheese, and dot with butter. Place in the oven, uncovered, and bake for thirty minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from oven and let cool. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish with parsley and serve!
Emily Rose Dallara is a copywriter and marketer for the food and health industry. She used to run a pretty awesome street food biz on the North Yorkshire coast and has worked in marketing for a good chunk of her life. Now you can find her blogging at www.pressupsandprosecco.com whilst helping