✦ Tightening the purse strings during challenging times and eating on a budget needn’t mean compromising the quality of your diet.
As the cost of living continues to rise globally, often the tendency can be to turn to processed and “convenient” fast foods. However, fear not as here we take a look at some tips on how to maximise your funds to ensure you and your family are still eating a healthy and nutrious diet.
Make a List and Bulk Up
As with most things, planning is key. Think ahead and formulate a list of specific items you need. Opt for a diverse range of meals that incoorporate proteins, grains, vegetables and fruits. Consider buying and cooking in bulk then using the leftovers for another meal later in the week, or freezing for an even later date (another advantage of bulk cooking is it lowers the energy bills!). Prepare and take your own lunch into the office. Listing items and sticking to it tends to mean impulse buys are also minimised. Also, don’t shop when you’re hungry as the results can be bad!
Mix and Match
Mix and match these ingedients and choose items that are versatile. For example, choosing ingredients used in a salad one day, such as chicken, carrots, onions, spinach, broccoli, etc, that can also be used for another dish later in the week, such as a stir-fry perhaps. Rice, pasta and grain-based dishes are also good choices that offer versatility. Experimenting with ingredients is also fun – some delicious dishes have been devised in the past when a wide range of ingredients have been thrown in together!
Consider buying frozen fruits and vegetables which often offer the same, if not more, vitamin content as that of their fresh produce counterparts. Making smoothies using frozen fruit and veg is very popular and a sure-fire way to make sure you’re taking in the right level of nutrients without breaking the bank. Tinned goods also fall into this category as an ideal option.
Cut Back on Meat
Consider cutting back on your meat consumption. The cost of meat continues to rise but there are many alternative options out there that serve as great sources of protein including beans, peas, lentils, quinoa, nuts, seeds or soybean products such as tofu. These are far cheaper alternatives that can also be integrated into other dishes, plus the less meat we consume leaves a much more positive mark on the enivronment and lessens animal suffering. It doesn’t necessarily mean cutting out meat altogether, just reducing your intake.
Consider Non-Brand Names
While we all no doubt have our favourite brand specific products that have been a staple over the years, there is nothing wrong with opting for a lesser known brand, which will always be cheaper but won’t compromise on quality or taste. Similarly, if fizzy drinks have been a mainstay in your pantry, consider drinking water as an alternative – not only will the savings be noticeable but the health benefits are huge.
Most stores now will have customer loyalty schemes whereby you sign up for a membership and accrue points with every purchase you make. You’d be surprised how quickly this total amasses, which can then be used to off-set against future purchases. Similarly, coupons are a great way to save a few bucks when you’re mindful of your budget.
So there you have it. While you could easily spend anywhere in the region of $50 at a well known fast food chain in one sitting, you could easily take that same amount and incorporate a wider range of healthier, flexible and cheaper options into your family’s diet routine. The positives, beyond just the piggy bank alone, are there for all to see and enjoy!
✦ Try this recipe
Try this delicious fruit and nut loaf recipe from Beth Torrisi, A Classy Cafe & Espresso Bar in Wauchope. Click here for recipe.
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