Eating Well On a Budget
Posted on 30 October 2013 by Leonie Satori
A common misconception among Western societies is that for a person to eat well, they need to be flush with funds. However when you consider the costs involved in producing foods out of season and in the incorrect soil, with chemical pesticides and fertilizers, you begin to understand the true price of eating the un-natural and expensive way. Here are some basic guidelines for healthy eating without breaking the bank:
- Eating to the season is the easiest way to ensure you have adequate nutrients and are not paying for transport costs for foods from overseas or for storage of food items for long periods of time. Californian navel oranges in summer and watermelon in winter are examples of eating out of season.
- Eating local organic fruits and vegetables (yes, you read right – organic). Many cities now have excellent local distributors of organic produce. Having your fruit and vegetables delivered to your doorstep weekly or fortnightly saves you money and ensures that you don’t have to pay the price that you normally would at the store. Contact local organic distributors and compare prices and quality with what you would normally buy in the shops.
- Farmer’s markets are an excellent place to pick up a good bargain when it comes to fresh foods. Just before the end of the weekend, stall owners are often rushing to sell the last of their fresh produce for the week and may discount large quantities of food just to avoid having it go to waste. It might involve a little shoving and bustling, but you can just cram in some nightclub moves with some haggling and you won’t go home with a hangover - just a truck load of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Utilise your freezer for freezing fresh fruit bargains (but don’t let it get out of control). Freezing bananas, strawberries or whatever seasonal fruit suitable for smoothies can be a good time and money saver. Just remember to wash and peel fruits before freezing and make sure that you have easy access to smaller portions – ie. Peel and cut bananas and store in tightly sealed containers so that you can take out a couple of pieces and just leave the rest.
- Learn to cook. The internet is your best free resource of endless recipes. Cooking with a friend (who is also on a budget) enables you to try new flavours and share the food expenses (and the occasional disaster).
- Grow your own vegetables. Initially the set up for this can seem a little costly, but once established you can utilise a small area of land or windowsill for herbs and green leafy vegetables that can be quite costly if purchased in a store. Best examples of easy to grow foods include coriander, flat-leafed parsley, tomatoes, capsicum, English spinach and silver beet.
- Boycott your local fast food outlets. One quick way to ensure that your nutritional needs are ignored and your finances are depleted is to indulge in takeaway foods. Initially the Tuesday night specials can seem appetising, but in the long run, the consumption of foods devoid of nutritional value and high in salt, sugar, and fat take their toll in the form of chronic long term illness.
So yes, you can eat well on a budget!