How to eat well on a budget

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Eating well on a budget can be difficult. In a world of expensive superfoods and organic everything, it can seem like you have to remortgage your house in order to stay healthy. But there are plenty of ways to eat a nutrient-rich diet without it costing the earth. We speak to a nutritional therapist…

The obstacles

“In my clinic, I find that many think it is the cost that is the biggest obstacle but when we strip it back, I help them to see that it’s not cost per se but a lack of time that is the greatest obstacle to eating wholesome food,” says Henrietta Norton, founder of Wild Nutrition supplements.

Budget cuts

“There is much that you can do to buy highly nutritious and low cost foods such as the less ‘supermarket friendly’ and cheaper cuts of meat (such as shank or brisket), which are cooked slowly and are nutrient dense. Dab or pollack are nutrient rich, less-farmed fish but they also take time to source,” Henrietta continues.

Batch cooking

Photo: Happy Body Formula

“Other clever ways to keep costs down include batch cooking (such as slow-cooked stews or ratatouille), which will keep well in the freezer.”

Freeze your fruit

“Opting for frozen berries are also a great choice for breakfast toppings, smoothies, making compotes and for puddings.”

Eat seasonally

“When a fruit and vegetable is produced in abundance, the cost of that ingredient is driven down. As a result, eating fruits and veg that are in season can help to make foods shops more affordable,” Henrietta adds. And it needn’t be tricky. “There are many websites and charts that show what foods are in season during which months, for example brussels sprouts and cabbage in the winter months, and spinach and tomatoes during the summer months. As well as helping with affordable food shops, eating in-season has many other benefits – from reducing your environmental footprint to better flavours and, very importantly, contributing to a healthy intake of micronutrients (seasonal fruit and veg are at their most abundant nutritionally).”

Love your leftovers

“Minimising food waste is as simple as turning any leftovers into new meals,” Henrietta says. “If you find you’ve roasted too many vegetables on a Sunday afternoon, tossing together the vegetables with some fresh spinach will make a nutritious lunch to take to work with you the following day. Similarly, any chicken that was roasted but didn’t get eaten could be thrown into a saucepan for a simple, warming chicken soup recipe.”

Stock up on staples

“Most healthy ingredients are, in fact, cheaper than processed foods. If you compare the price of snacking on a banana versus a chocolate bar, it’s usually at least half the price. There are so many foods that are nutritionally dense an in-expensive, such as beans, lentils, eggs, brown rice, oats, seeds. These are all wonderful, affordable additions that are great as part for balanced and optimised nutrition.”

By Charlotte

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