Keep both your budget and your meals healthy with our easy guide.
When you’re on a tight budget, meal planning and grocery shopping can be tricky. But things can get even trickier when you have a tight budget and you’re dedicated to eating healthy. Here’s our top ten tips to keep you on track.
- Buy fresh fruit and vegies that are in season, and consider freezing some for later.
- It’s great – and healthy – to buy and eat fresh fruit and vegies, but the cost can add up fast. Keep an eye on what’s in season as these will usually be at the best prices.
- Avoid expensive out of season ingredients, or consider buying some when they’re cheap and in season, and freezing them for when you need them.
2. Look for sales and plan your meals around them.
- Keep an eye on the supermarket ads for what’s on special this week, and plan your meals around these ingredients.
- And be flexible with your meal planning – if you go shopping for chicken but find that turkey is on special, then consider switching ingredients to take advantage of the saving.
- Try less expensive cuts of meat.
- You can still enjoy meat, even when you’re on a tight budget. Just look for less expensive cuts of meat, like chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts.
- If you’ve got a slow cooker or crock pot, these are wonderful for getting the best out of cheap cuts like gravy beef and chuck steak.
4. Embrace whole grains and beans.
- Beans and whole grains like quinoa and brown rice are an inexpensive and tasty way to bulk up meals, and can even be a meal in themselves.
- Throw in some diced vegies, and some meat if you like, and you’ve got a great one pot meal.
5. Plan and prep meals ahead.
- Whether it’s chopping veggies for the week or marinating the meat for tomorrow’s dinner, prepping food in advance is a step in the right direction towards eating healthy. It’s also a good way to make sure you’re eating what’s already in the fridge to minimise waste and save on groceries.
- And if you don’t mind eating leftovers, even better. You can save both time and money by planning to eat the same thing several times throughout the week.
- Broaden your culinary horizons!
- Cuisines like Mexican and Indian rely heavily on inexpensive ingredients, like beans and rice.
- Why not introduce a ‘Taco Tuesday’ – you can whip up a big batch of Mexican mince in next to no time using beef mince, kidney beans, some shredded vegies and taco seasoning. Use half for taco night, and enjoy the other half as a chilli con carne with brown rice a night or two later.
- Keep an organized fridge and pantry.
- Planning to use leftovers for another meal is a great time and money saver, but it totally defeats the purpose if they get lost in the back of the fridge. Label leftovers and keep your fridge organized to help minimize food waste.
- Package foods in amounts you will use, such as freezing chicken pieces by twos and hamburger in patties separately wrapped. And if you do freeze stuff, make sure you periodically go through your freezer and use everything up. Both your wallet and your time will benefit when you use up of your frozen food before buying and cooking more.
- Repurpose leftovers.
- If you don’t like eating the same meal over and over, try repurposing leftovers into a completely new and delicious meal.
- Leftover meats are great for a sandwich or wrap the next day, or chop them up and toss through a fried rice or frittata for an instant – but different – meal.
- Go to the fruit and vegetable market at the end of the day.
- Consider visiting the market at the end of the day, when you could very likely score some great deals. They often offload goods at heavily discounted prices then, and will perhaps even throw in a little extra for free, to avoid it going to waste!
- Shop at ethnic markets.
- Consider checking out your local Asian grocer. Not only are you likely to find a bargain on certain products, you’ll also find some really interesting ingredients. You can buy really varied and interesting cheap noodles, condiments and sauces at a fraction of supermarket prices.
- Go to your local Asian grocer and stock up, you’ll save loads of cash.
By following these simple tips you’ll be sure to keep both your budget and your healthy eating on track. For some great cheap, easy and healthy meal ideas, check out our Cheap and healthy recipes post!