Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Healthy Eating on a Budget

When times are tough, it is time to dig deep and come up with strategies that are part and parcel of most health and fitness enthusiasts’ armoury, yet rarely show their face in most people’s day–to-day habits.

If fitness enthusiasts didn’t watch their purse strings when it came to eating right they would be cast aside in an attempt to get leaner or bigger! Their food bills would be astronomical.

So what can you do to a) eat healthier foods b) save time in the kitchen and c) save pennies!

Here are few tried and tested strategies that work really well to cover your nutritional bases and also allow you to eat right on a budget.

1. Buy your meat from a local butcher – this goes without saying. I love going into my butcher. Fresh, traceable meat that is far richer in nutrients and more economical.
Don’t be afraid to mix up and try cheaper organ meats. These are powerhouses of nutrition. Just ask a Premiership Rugby Player – his staple diet, at 18 stone and 12 per cent body fat, is liver and heart kebabs!
2. Buy your meat, fish and poultry in bulk and try and negotiate a discount. You will always need fresh protein on hand any way to keep up with your healthy eating strategies. Why not buy a few days worth and freeze the rest?
3. Use the local farmers markets as your port of call for fresh veggies and fruits. More often than not you will be able to pick up organic produce at half the price than say a supermarket. You will be doing your bit for supporting local produce too! You know the people that actually care about what goes into your mouth when you buy it!

4. Stick to the outside aisles of your supermarket. This will mean that you save a huge amount on costly boxed, packaged and wrapped items. In general these tend to be foods that will scupper your plans to keep fit and healthy over the Winter Months. My food bill is by no means through the roof yet I still tuck away around 3500-4000 calories a day. This is a lot of food!
My Nan always brings to my attention how cooking a stew, roast, casserole costs about a £1.00 whereas you compare this to a serving of waffles, burgers, chips and Ice Cream will knock you back about three times that and the cost of a visit to the Doctor as your Immune System cries out for some nutrients.

5. Buy In Season will mean that you are working with nature rather than against it. Ever wondered why your Strawberries from Columbia are three times the size of a normal Strawberry and looking more like a peach devoid of all colour?

Our love of the humble Strawberry has led us to crave them all year round but this is not how it is suppose to be. The bottom line is that you still pay three times as much for them.

6. Stick to buying loose items too rather than packs of items. This is a cheaper option and will mean that you waste less.

7. It is also funny how a simple Bolognese or chilli sauce can cost three times as much when you choose the jars. Not only are these ladened with hidden sugar but also a Bolognese sauce is so easy and cheap to make.

Simply get a tin of chopped tomatoes, some mixed herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and hey presto. For a chilli sauce add in chilli. A trained chimp could knock that up.
8. Cook More Veggie Based Dishes at this time of year. Veggies are nutrition power houses and let’s face it, we don’t eat anywhere near enough of these. Stir Fries, casseroles, bowls of salad readymade in the fridge are great for this.
9. You can also juice Your Veggies to save on waste. A good juicer is a good investment particularly if your kids like vegetables as much as they like going to the dentist. Celery, Carrot and Apple is a great little formula. Throw in some ginger if you like a bit of a kick!

10. I refuse to fill up with hydrogenated breads, pastries and biscuits so Mr Baker watch out. Swap your normal flour for Spelt, use Coconut Oil instead of Margarine or Raw Organic Butter, Splenda instead of Sugar and hey presto you have your baking basics.

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