The art of healthy eating on a budget
Healthy eating really doesn’t need to be an expensive business and I think sometimes people use cost as an excuse for not eating healthily.
It’s also worth remembering that as a nation healthy eating has often been more prevalent during times of austerity than it has been during times of plenty, the classic example being the First World War. Rationing during and after the first world war ensured that everyone had their quota of:
Fresh fruit and vegetables to provide fibre, vitamin C and anti-oxidants.
Red meat to provide Iron and protein but not so much to cause a problem with too much saturated fat.
Oily fish to provide omega 3 fatty acids for brain and health.
People has to think harder and be more creative to eke out the food they had often using cheaper cuts of meat and adding vegetables and barley etc. to bulk it out and make it go a bit further.
Managing on a budget was an art which we sadly seem to have lost!
Fundamentally committing to healthy eating is more about time and thought than it is about money. I remember when my children were little, going back to university to study for a year. Cash was tight, I had a family to look after and a lot of homework to do. I put together a two week menu which was designed to be economical, healthy as well as time saving. To give an example I would buy a big chicken for Roasting on the Sunday, It would then be used in a chicken salad on the Monday and a chicken risotto on the Tuesday. I would also boil up the chicken bones and make a vegetable and lentil soup and make a packed lunch. I would shop once a week and buy my fruit and vegetables at a market rather than in the supermarket which was much cheaper. Putting together the two week menu took time but once it was done it was the only thinking I did in this area for a year, I wrote my shopping list for each of the two week menu’s and kept them by me all year.
Health aside I think relying on convenience food can be a false economy both financially and from a time point of view. Every meal requires a certain amount of effort even if it is heating up a ready meal and preparing veg and rice to go with it and you don't get the left overs which can be eaten again on another occasion, convenience food has to be prepare it has to be done on a daily basis. A stew requires effort but you get so much more for your time! you can make enough for 2 or three meals, it can then be frozen or taken for a packed lunch the next day.
I rest my case, I think it is more than possible to eat healthily on a budget but it needs planning and thinking about, you need to be creative but it’s an art to be proud of!
There is plenty of sound information on line re healthy eating on a budget like this one from the NHS
If you have any healthy eating budget meals of your own you would like to share with everyone on my website then I would love to hear from you?