Getting the right amount of nutrition can be very challenging. Everyone has different activities and body metabolism so it’s difficult to gauge how much protein, calories, carbohydrates and fats you need. It’s just not effective using the same kind of diet as your friend who is successful or a celebrity who promotes a certain diet. The best thing that you can do is to base your food intake on the recommended daily dietary requirements. Of course, adjusting it as you go on is important as well.
With that in mind, nutritious food has always been seen as expensive items or luxurious. People immediately think of some exotic or foreign delicacy that can reduce weight or are nutritious enough. As we will discuss here, eating and staying healthy doesn’t have to deplete your savings. There are a couple of food items you can find in common groceries and strategies that you can do on your own.
Prepare for Your Shopping
Before you head out to shop for food supplies, make sure that you have already prepared a list. When you’re preparing a list, you need to check the food stocks you currently have so you won’t buy anything in excess, resulting in spoilt food. As always, make sure to stick to your list or it will be for nothing. If you guessed, a list is to prevent you from buying any additional items on impulse. This can waste your money and might even result in you buying unhealthy or junk food.
Regarding buying food in the grocery, it’s also a good idea to eat before you head out. Shopping for food supplies with an empty stomach can make everything seem very delicious and tempting. It’ll be harder to stick to your list, and you might even buy expensive items when there are cheaper alternatives.
Avoid Canned Food
Aside from sardines and meats, this also applies to vegetables and fruits. Canned vegetables contain sodium to help make the shelf-life longer. Though you think that having a longer shelf life will save you more money, it’s actually much better to just buy your vegetables as you need them and not store them for a long time. Fresh vegetables are cheaper anyway so you won’t be missing out on much by stocking them.
For canned fruits, the problem here is the added sugar. On the other hand, vegetables and meats are added with salt to make them last longer. Eating only canned fruit will predispose you to sugar-related diseases like diabetes and heart conditions. It’s better to avoid canned products altogether and go for fresher ones. Fresh always tastes better anyway.
Checking ingredients of some ready-to-eat food or processed foods are important although it takes some time. What you’re looking for are unnatural ingredients. By unnatural we mean something artificial that you wouldn’t want in your body. A good way to decide is to think “if you can’t grow it naturally, then avoid it”. Good examples of this are coloring agents or high fructose corn syrup. Their names already sound artificial, but they’re a very common ingredient in many processed food.
In addition to being unnatural, these artificial ingredients have been pegged with many diseases – from liver and brain damage to diabetes and obesity. There are many options to choose from, so you can easily swap out an item for a more authentic one.
Buy in Bulk then Divide
This strategy is one of the best out there. What you do is to buy a product (like a vegetable or meat) in large quantities, and divide it into serving sizes when you go home. You’ll be saving more in terms of money per servings and you’ll be able to fill your weekly menu easily in this method. In addition to saving costs, buying in bulk can also save your shopping time, so you’ll have more time to prepare meals in advance.
Cook Big Batches
Talking about cooking in advance, it’s also a very frugal idea to cook your meals in large quantities then store them into single-serve containers. You don’t have to eat a single kind of dish for days on end, but you can alternate them. For example, soups are good for dinner or lunch times while prepared oatmeal (mixed with milk or fruits before storing) works best for breakfast or snacks.
A major advantage when you cook in big batches is you’ll also be saving your ingredients. Instead of letting them spoil in your pantry or refrigerator, you already cooked them, so their lifespan is extended even if it’s just a bit. Since you’re storing them in a refrigerator, their shelf life is longer compared to being stored as individual ingredients as well.
Grow Herbs and Spices
The best scenario for you to save money and obtain healthy food ingredients is to have your own garden. You’ll be in control of what you plant and how you tend to them. You won’t have to spend a lot of money as well, all you need is to buy a few seeds and continue the cycle of raising and planting them again.
If this isn’t a very good option for you (in terms of space), then you can go simple and plant your own herbs and spices. It doesn’t take a lot of space (only a few pots), and you can save a lot as well. You won’t have to buy prepared herbs and spices. That way you’ll cut down your expense. You also have the option to plant herbs and spices depending on what you commonly use.
Restaurants often pile food unto your plate good for 2 or 3 people. If you have a big pile of food served before you, it’s very easy to overeat or forget your diet. Avoiding this scenario, you should also be careful with your own food servings. If you see that the food is good for more than one person, immediately ask the food server to wrap half the dish to take away. You won’t be tempted to finish everything in one sitting. Also, you’ll be able to have lunch or dinner ready for the next day.
In your house, avoid using very big plates. Even if the serving is just enough for you, you’ll see that it’s very small and your mind will think that it’s not enough for you. Remember that we first eat with our eyes. After finishing a single serving, if your mind isn’t convinced, you’ll still feel hungry. Use a smaller plate so you’ll trick your mind into thinking that it’s already way too much for you. You’ll feel fuller after a meal and you won’t have a difficult time washing dishes as well.
Healthy food doesn’t always have to be expensive if you know what you’re looking for or you know how to manage your own food supplies. There are many cheap ways to stay and eat healthy as we have showed you. It might take a lot of preparation and practice, but it will definitely work out in the long run for you.