I’ve noticed that a lot of people want to be healthy or would like to maintain a healthy lifestyle but they believe that healthy eating comes at a high cost. The modern mindset of eating healthy often comes in the form of elaborate dragon fruit smoothie bowls or buying an overpriced bowl of leaves with some protein from a local trendy store. With such in mind, YES it can be costly! However, I truly believe and know that eating healthy can also be made affordable, fun, and so delicious when we take a different perspective, it may require changes but it is well worth it in the end.
BrinaCreations focuses on simple cooking or meal prepping because this is the easiest way to make healthy eating affordable – even if you are low on time and budget! To make your health journey easier, I’ve laid out 3 ways to make healthy eating more affordable for you. These tips are simple but effective measures that you can take starting today to promote your wellness without investing a lot of money or time.
1. When grocery shopping, fill your grocery basket with affordable, minimally processed, whole-food ingredients. This is the most straightforward way to improve your health and to reduce your grocery bills. Check out my blog post on how to save money on groceries. The two categories that are often the most expensive in the grocery store are the produce department and the protein selection. Here are some lower-cost, yet high-quality options for these categories;
Produce Vegetables – More affordable fresh options include Kale, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Corn, Cabbage, Onions, Carrots, Zucchini, Celery, lettuce, spring onions, garden eggs, cucumber, Bananas, Apples, Oranges, Pears, mangoes, pineapples, etc. (this is dependent on what’s seasonal for your area!). You may also grow some of your fruits and vegetables if you have space!
Protein Quality plant-based proteins are usually significantly cheaper than quality animal proteins. See the article on Meat, is it good or bad?. I eat a balance of animal and plant proteins, but I especially love plant-based proteins because their taste can be so versatile, they are often easier to cook, they are healthier and they are usually lighter to digest. I buy most of my beans in a dried form but you can also buy the canned ones (but look for no salt added and only one single ingredient – the main ingredient – beans).
Dried beans and legumes are great as well if you have the extra time, especially when it comes to lentils See the article on reasons to eat beans regularly here. I also always have one or two types of nuts or seeds in my pantry or kitchen store as they are filled with nutrients (like protein) add such great flavor to many dishes and make for the easiest snacks at home or on the go.
Some plant-based proteins to keep on your radar include White Beans, Brown Beans, Bambara Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils, Black Beans, Soya Beans, Mushroom, White Cannellini Beans, Dry-roasted or Raw Nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts), Dry-roasted or Raw seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.)Nut or seed kinds of butter (peanut butter, almond butter, tahini, cashew nuts, etc.)
Some more affordable & healthy animal proteins include Eggs, No Salt Added Canned Tuna, Salmon, Sardines, etc. Chicken Breast, Drumsticks, Thighs (organic is best if possible)
2. Plan ahead and limit your grocery store visits to 1-2 times a week. The grocery store can be a tempting place; there are so many foods marketed in the right way to make us want more, more, and more, even if we don’t need more! This makes it easy to spend more than we want (or need to). For this reason, it is best to plan ahead for the week or next few days to make sure you can buy what you need for those days and to limit the number of visits to the grocery store every week. Make sure to go with a list of the items you need, either written on a piece of paper or in the notes of your phone. I often think I need to go to the store to make a meal, but then I take a look into my pantry and fridge and get creative with what I have on hand up – I’ve always been able to whip up something good! Plus, this saves you time to do something fun or relaxing later on in the week – I’m a big fan of working smarter, not harder!
3. Cook in Big Batches and Freeze Single Servings. By now you’ve heard me say that cooking our own food from scratch (or at least mostly from scratch) is the most affordable and accessible way to eat healthily. Since it can be hard to cook every single day, especially for those of you who have busy schedules and those who don’t necessarily love to cook (yet!), cooking freezer-friendly meals in big batches and freezing in single-serving sizes can be the most liberating feeling. To come home from work or a busy day knowing that you have a wholesome meal in the freezer to heat up and enjoy is so gratifying. Where you cannot make whole meals freeze, you can meal prep so that it makes your cooking a lot easier eventually.
4. Ensure To Eat 5 Fruits Or Vegetables Daily. Yeah, I know this may sound awkward but it is actually do-able, as much as I acknowledge that no one is perfect and it is not so easy especially for busy people. Even though the above 3 points are very useful, it is also very important to add enough vegetables to your meals regardless of what you may be having and they should be RAW. I have shared in my videos some of the ways I add raw vegetables to my diets right here, here and here. The reason you should have them raw is that cooked vegetables have nearly all the nutrients gone. You are however advised to rinse your raw fruits and vegetables properly with salt or vinegar to ensure that the dirts and harmful chemicals that come with them are eliminated.
5. Make healthy eating a habit. I personally believe there is no need for you to adopt a diet to maintain a healthy weight, eat healthily or for some health issue. In my opinion, making a healthy living or healthy eating a way of life (lifestyle) is the way to go. It is very important to first understand what eating healthy means and then you can find a way to incorporate this knowledge into your daily lives. For instance, you may snack on fruits or like apples, carrots, and cucumbers or nuts like peanuts and cashew nuts instead of having junk foods. Having fruits at least 15 minutes before your meal or 1 hour after your meal is a great way to start. Making vegetables your side dish for eating meals is also another great way to create a healthy eating habit. After all, what sense does it make to adopt a weight loss diet for about 3 to 6 months and then gain the entire weight back because you returned to your old diet? See more on this weight loss here
The best way to freeze single servings + to reheat: I save most glass jars and microwave safe plates from food products I purchase at the store because these make for great single-serving jars to store soups, stews, cooked vegetables, etc. and to stick in the freezer. Glass jars or containers are easiest to reheat because they are durable to heat. Either submerge the closed container halfway in a pot of water and heat up the water or heat the glass container the microwave (without the lid) and transfer to a bowl and Enjoy!
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