It’s easy to assume that the best and healthiest foods are the most expensive but this doesn’t have to be true, if you plan well. Healthy home-cooked meals, made with whole foods, work out to be less expensive and way healthier than pre-packaged ready meals and take-outs. In fact, junk food and takeaways hurt your wallet and your health! So, what to consider when it comes to feeding your family healthy food?
Plan your weekly meals in advance and write a shopping list
Feeding your family healthy food on a budget takes planning. Looking for inspiration while wandering around the supermarket (especially when you are hungry) will increase your shopping bill by 20-40%. You are sure to save money and make better choices when you plan your shopping in advance and stick to your list.
Whole grains are heroes
Build your meals so as to include whole grains like brown rice, brown pasta, freekeh, buckwheat, quinoa, and millet. Feeding your family healthy foods like these will provide them with plenty of essential fibre and important nutrients. They also go along way and will keep your family feeling satisfied. A portion of quinoa costs around 20 pence per serving and is an amazing source of fiber, magnesium, b-vitamins, iron, calcium and anti-oxidants.
Bulk your meals up
…with plenty of seasonal vegetables for their vitamin and nutrient content. Seasonal vegetables are in greater supply, less expensive and leave a smaller carbon footprint too.
Include protein in every meal to keep energy levels stable and avoid those energy crashes that make us reach for those sugary snacks! Quinoa, lentils and chickpeas are fabulously healthy proteins and are much cheaper than buying meat.
Ditch the processed carbs
When feeding your family healthy food on a tight budget, try to avoid white (processed) carbs like white bread, white rice and white pasta. While it may be slightly cheaper in the store, the fast energy release from these items will spike your blood sugar levels quickly and then lead to an energy crash 1-2 hours later. They also contain little nutritional value compared with their unprocessed counterparts.
Be savvy to make savings
Good quality, organic meat can be found at a reduced cost towards the end of the day. Get to know when your local supermarket marks down their fresh products.
Skip on processed
Sausages and processed meats aren’t so healthy. Try using mackerel, tinned sardines, tuna and canned salmon instead.
Homemade soups are a wonderful way to get vegetables into your family’s diet and also a budget-friendly option for feeding your family healthy food. A bowl of soup before a meal is comforting, nutritious and filling. Making soup is a good way to use up vegetables that may otherwise go off too.
Use your freezer
Reduce wastage by slicing bread and freezing it. Older bananas can also be peeled and frozen, then used later in smoothies. Fruits like blueberries and blackberries are also much cheaper bought frozen and make delicious, vitamin-packed smoothies (or ice lollies in the summer).
…by buying foods with a longer ‘use by’ date. You can also cook larger batches to save time and use leftovers for lunches and snacks.
Healthy and nutritious meals will provide you and your family with the energy it needs. When your body is nourished effectively, your energy and concentration levels will remain stable and the need to snack between meals and graze at night will lessen – saving you and your family money!
Finally, have look through some old bank statements and tally up how much money you usually spend on food. Then, however much you end up saving this month as a family, why not put some of it towards something nice?
We hope you found these tips on feeding your family healthy food on a budget useful. Are you currently feeding your family healthy food on a budget? Perhaps you have some tips to add to this list? Do share in a comment below.
Tamla is a registered Nutritional Therapist practising in Kingston-Upon-Thames and Harley Street in London. She specialises in helping children and adults with eczema to get better and manage the condition through nutrition and lifestyle. Tamla has also worked successfully with a range of clients suffering with IBS symptoms, food intolerances, pre-diabetes, weight loss, chronic fatigue and anxiety/depression. You can make contact for a free 15 minute consultation by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing the contact page on www.splendidnutrition.co.uk