We have good news. With a few simple tweaks to your regular shopping habits, you can eat healthy on a budget. We asked Johannesburg-based dietician, Abby Courtenay for her five wallet-friendly tips to stay on track…
Choose foods that are super (not superfoods)
If you want to eat healthy on a budget, it’s best to steer clear of superfoods claiming to help you lose weight, look younger, feel healthier etc. In fact, studies in the UK have shown that fresh strawberries have a similar antioxidant content to goji berries, but are half the price!
Foods that are high in nutrients but easy on your budget include:
- Proteins such as eggs, chicken livers or sardines / pilchards
- Starches such as beans, sweet potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, barley, brown rice or oats
- Fats such as sunflower seeds or canola oil
- Fruits and vegetables including any seasonal produce. In summer months, focus on berries and in winter, opt for the vitamin C rich citrus fruits and guavas. Also try to buy in bulk with another family or plant a vegetable garden. This is the simplest way to eat healthy on a budget.
Ditch juices and coldrinks
Not only are these items expensive, they’re also high in sugar and low in nutrients. Go easy on your budget and waistline by opting for water (hot/ cold, plain or sparkling) with a slice of lemon, cucumber or apple slices for taste.
Skip the daily cuppa
Cook in bulk and freeze
Bulk up on veggies
They’re super-filling thanks to the high fibre content, low in fat and nutritious. Did we also mention that piling your trolley with a variety of vegetables is cost-effective too? Much cheaper than loading up on meat, fish and poultry. Take advantage of weekly specials at the supermarket too.
Grocery cupboard must-haves
Take a fresh look at your grocery cupboard. A can of this, a jar of that – it can all contribute to time-saving and healthy cooking.
Canned food is nutritious and can be a lifesaver to the busy cook when you’re stuck for what to make for supper on a cold night. A good range of beans and pulses is a must to have on standby, as your portion counts to five-a-day and they’re a good source of protein and fibre. Try chickpeas, lentils, cannelini beans or kidney beans. They’re great in soups and salads.
When a recipe calls for minced beef or lamb, replace half of the meat with brown lentils to up your intake of vegetables, rather than animal protein. This is not only a budget-friendly move, it’s also great for your digestion as it contains more fibre and less fat.
Canned fish such as pilchards, tuna and sardines will give you a healthy meal in minutes. Serve them on rye toast or a wholewheat muffin with a sprinkle of grated cheese. This will also provide you with essential fatty acids and much-needed calcium.
These offer a great way to add flavour without kilojoules and are known for their healing properties. Try a teaspoon of turmeric powder in rice, or ground coriander in a stew. Buy whole seeds or pods and crush them yourself as they keep their flavour for longer.
DISCLAIMER: Before starting any diet, you should speak to your doctor. You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.
A freelance writer and editor, with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. With a passion for health and fitness, Tammy loves nothing more than researching the latest wellness trends. And if she’s not running around after her sweet four-year old daughter, you’ll find Tammy on her bike, in the gym or exploring the great outdoors – followed by a good coffee, of course!