Eating an organic, whole foods and plant based diet does not have to be expensive. You can eat healthily and still be on a budget. You just have to be mindful of a few things and I’ve gathered a list of ideas to help you stay within budget and on your healthy eating path.
First, look at what you tend to buy a lot of. Chances are that you can make some of this yourself from scratch. Not only keeping your pennies tight but also being in control of exactly what goes into your food.
So here is my list of how to both stay within budget and on your healthy eating path.
1. Eat fruit and vegetables that are in season
Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season. Not only do you get to enjoy a varied diet, as well as when the specific vegetable or fruit is its very best. BBC Good Food has this incredibly useful calendar over the year, that highlights the current month which makes it easy to view what fruits and vegetables you should opt for now.
2. Use frozen vegetables for soups and for steaming
For some soups, it can be an idea to swap some of the vegetables for frozen ones. Such as broccoli soup, green pea soup etc. Frozen vegetables can also be used for steaming and used in salads for example.
3. Eat beans
Don’t forget the beans. There are plenty of beans to choose from, from making hummus to lentil soups. Beans are very versatile and so cheap. Not to mention that a recent study has shown that beans are a natural part of the diet in the Blue Zones. So if you want to live long and healthy, eat both your greens and your beans.
4. Use frozen herbs
Frozen herbs and spices are great as they cost less than their fresh variety. Therefore using frozen herbs when cooking, for example, gratins, casseroles etc, works equally as well as using fresh ones.
5. Evaluate what superfoods you really need to buy
Do you really need to buy chia seeds? Flax seeds are almost equally as good. Research some of the superfoods and see if there is a local variety in your country that is almost equal to or even better than the super foods that you buy. Some of these superfoods are just clever marketing. So start researching what is available in your country.
6. Don’t throw away food
Reduce unnecessary waste by freezing over-ripe fruits and use them in smoothies – or use the bananas for yummy nice cream. Overripe vegetables can in most cases be roasted and turned into incredibly delicious soup. When you cut and prep vegetables, you can use stems, peels and other parts to make your own bullion. I have a bag in the freezer which I just throw bits and pieces into that I use to make bullion of once the bag is full enough.
7. By clever nutritional powders for smoothies
To make green smoothies, you can also opt for high-power nutritional powders, for example, nettle powder is a great source of nutrients for a green smoothie. Research if there is a clever powder you can use, for green smoothies for example.
8. Keep track of which organic food stores have the best price
Be mindful when you buy things. I usually compare prices between organic stores and buy some items in various stores. Larger organic stores usually have a lower price point (there are no Whole Foods, Trade Joes or Planet Organic in Sweden). Buying nuts, seeds, grains etc where you can fill up bags yourself, is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than buying pre-packed supplies.
9. What do you buy a lot of – and can you make this yourself?
For example, I used to buy vast amounts of hummus when I lived in London. Nowadays I batch-make hummus, which makes it healthier, cheaper and much tastier. I’m also a big fan of raw energy bars and I make my own as the price of two bars is the same as a pack of dates.
The same goes for juices and smoothies – do you really have to buy them while out and about or can you plan ahead and make your own and bring it with you?
10. What do you snack on during the workday?
If you don’t work somewhere where you have an office fruit bowl or other healthy office snacks. Bring your own, rather than buy from the store. This is the perfect opportunity to bring carrots, celery sticks, nuts etc to have with you throughout the day.