The trend of eating clean to keep healthy has taken Aussies particularly, by storm. We are all eager to be more fit and healthy, to feel good about our bodies and to get more out of our lives by respecting our bodies now. One thing I have noticed, however, is that this clean eating trend is made significantly harder by the rising cost of organic meat and produce. This is in addition to those falling prey to clever health marketing that tells us we need to ingest all of the superfoods under the sun. But what about those of us who want to eat clean and be healthy but for a little less cash? Well, today is your lucky day because there are a few little life hacks that will get you eating clean on a budget.
The first, I’m sorry to say, is simply to avoid the gimmicks and do some research. What I’m talking about is the superfoods craze. As much as acai, chia and cacao are probably amazing for your health, rather than spending all of your hard-earned cash on stocking your cupboard with superfoods, focus on eating the right foods and treat yourself once in a while to something you will regularly use and gain some real health benefit from.
The next tip is to plan meals in advance that you know won’t break the bank. Stews, soups, omelets, curries, and frittatas are a great way to make sure you’re always mixing it up and coupling them with wholemeal bread will make sure you feel full and give you the energy you need throughout the day. Another way to cut back is to reduce the amount of meat you would normally use for these dishes and instead bulk up recipes with grains, lentils, beans or more vegetables. This can mean the difference between 4 portions and 10.
Avoid pre-made, pre-packaged meals and ingredients as much as you possibly can. Not only are you paying more for convenience but, generally speaking, the quality of these products is not as high as something you can source and prepare yourself. While buying fresh fruit, veg and meat from the supermarket is an expensive exercise, getting clean, fresh ingredients doesn’t need to break the bank. Do some research and find your local farmers markets and buy the fresh ingredients you’ll need for your planned weekly meals there – you’ll save a bunch. Consider buying mainly those fresh ingredients that are in season as they will be cheaper. That which you know you won’t use straight away you can also freeze for later.
For things like rice, grains, lentils and all the other things you can buy cheaply from a supermarket, buy in bulk where you can. Especially where the items are non-perishable and don’t need to be used with urgency. Stores like Costco, Aldi, and even some grocery stores tend to sell these items cheaper if you buy in larger quantities.
The final piece of advice for the down-to-earth clean eater is to shop around. Don’t settle for what is easily accessible. Laziness is a cash cow for those catering to clean eaters so don’t be fooled. Do some research online or physically shop around. With time, you will start to get a feel for where to buy certain products to get the best value.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to make sure you are eating clean, healthy foods, avoiding nasties all while creating delicious meals that you love. The best advice may even come from those around you. Talk to like-minded people and get their advice on where to source ingredients, what to cook on a budget and how to best plan your weeks.
(Credit to: http://thekitchenshed.co.uk/clean-eating/clean-eating-on-a-budget/, http://www.babble.com/body-mind/11-ways-to-eat-clean-on-a-budget/)