Eating healthy is very important for your body. The problem occurs when you want to eat healthily, but your pocket does not allow you to buy healthy products as they are costly. A healthy diet includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, and all the nutrients of a balanced diet, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins, etc. Healthy eating provides many benefits, like controlling blood sugar levels, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
When you think about eating something healthy, the first thing that comes to mind is the budget. But eating on a budget does not mean sacrificing your nutritional value. You can enjoy nutritious eating without breaking your piggy bank. You must follow some tips to make healthy food choices on a tight budget. You can also take help from a dietician or food education specialist to develop a plan that goes best with your lifestyle, beliefs, and culture.
What is healthy Food?
Healthy food or a healthy diet is a diet that maintains or improves your overall health. It provides your body with essential nutrients such as fluids, proteins known as macronutrients, vitamins known as micronutrients, and adequate fiber and food energy.
It is not wrong to say that healthy food is very delicious as opposed to prevalent thinking. Even nowadays, kids and everybody needs healthy food instead of junk food and fast food.
Healthy food is a combination of different food that is:
- Cereals and starchy tubes or roots (Potato, yam, etc.),
- Lentils and Beans,
- Fruits and vegetables,
- Foods from animal sources (meat, fish, eggs, and milk).
Benefits of Healthy Food
Health food has many benefits for your body and life. It helps in various spheres of your life. Some of the main benefits are enlisted here:
Healthy Heart: Healthy food is a great way to reduce the risk of heart disease. Healthy food includes plenty of vegetables and other excellent sources of proteins, carbohydrates, and other nutrients. Limiting the particular type of fat in your diet that some junk food includes will help lower the chance of heart attack and stroke.
Reduced Cancer Risk: Many scientists have proven that many vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes act as antioxidants which help you in reducing the risk of cancer. People may eat foods containing antioxidants to lower the risk of developing cancer by protecting the cells from damage.
Better Mood: There is a significant relationship between diet and mood. Healthy food keeps you happy all the time. The diet also helps you to control the blood glucose level and immune activation that affects your mood. In this way, you can be mentally healthy.
Improved Memory: Healthy food can help you to have better cognition and brain health. Healthy food contains the following beneficial ingredients:
- vitamin D, C, and E
- omega-3 fatty acids
- flavonoids and polyphenols
Weight Loss: When you eat fast or junk food, you gain weight and feel insecure about your appearance. But healthy food can help you in getting weight loss. Obesity can lead to some serious diseases which can make your life shorter. Maintaining a healthy diet can help you to stay within your daily limits without monitoring your calorie intake.
Diabetes Management: A healthy diet can help you to get the following benefits:
- manage your blood glucose level
- keep your blood pressure and cholesterol within target ranges
- prevent or delay complications of diabetes
- maintain a moderate weight
Many food items contain added salt and sugar, but when you eat healthy food, you can stay away from all these things and save yourself from diabetes.
Although there are many benefits of healthy food, the problem occurs during the phase of buying that. People have a tight budget, but the ingredients are costly, which they can only afford sometimes. The only solution to this problem is to adopt tips that save money and help you with a nutritious diet.
Here are some tips to make healthy food choices on a tight budget
Plan your meals: Planning everything is necessary for your life. Similarly, it is usually better to plan your whole week’s meal list. In this way, you can save money during grocery shopping because you will not pick unnecessary things and invest that money in buying something healthy. While planning the grocery list, do not forget to check the following areas:
- The refrigerator as there can be some food hidden behind the things
- Food whose expiry dates are near
You can also decide a day of the week every time and plan your meals for the upcoming week.
Cook at home: Ordering food from the food outlets is a significant way of spending your money unattentively. Online food outlets have hiked prices compared to take out or dining, which is also expensive. So, the best choice is to cook food at home. When you cook at home, you will always know the ingredients in your meals.
Also, when you cook food with your hands, you fill it with love and respect for your loved ones, forming better relationships.
Buy canned or frozen products: It will be good to buy frozen or canned products as they are less expensive, and even you can enjoy the fruits unavailable in a particular season. Some canned or frozen products are resealable packaging that allows you to use them again and again as fresh as it is the first time.
While buying them, remember to take those that come in water, not syrup, because they may contain added sugar or salt that is unhealthy for your body. Also, avoid those who have butter and cream sauces.
Cut costs with coupons: Coupons are the best way to cut costs and save money, and it would be best if you had your shopping list ready. You can check the coupons available on your ingredients and use them while shopping for your groceries.
Many coupons are available on the websites every year. You can check them online, and it would be best to save a lot of money if you find coupons for every ingredient on the list.
Cook a large portion and save it for later: If you want to restrict yourself from eating outside, the best solution is to cook a large part of the meal and use the leftover in the following days. It will save both time and money. You can use the reserved portion in your lunch or any other recipe. You can also freeze the leftovers in single quantities to use quickly without wasting time.
Always stick to your grocery list: It is a natural behaviour that when you go out shopping, you pick the things that are needed or bad for you. This lead to unintended expenses in your life. So, when you plan your meal and make a grocery list, always stick to it. You can try the below-mentioned tips while shopping:
- Always try to shop at the outer edge of the shopping store because whole food ingredients are located there.
- Then, you can move ahead to the middle border, where processed food items are placed but always watch towards the bottom or upper shelf because the most expensive one is placed at eye level.
You can also try a grocery list app that can help you in shopping even if you forget the list at home.
Never shop when you are hungry: When you go shopping while hungry, you always take the unimportant things. You will likely stray away from your grocery list and impulsively buy things you do not need. When you are hungry, you always go for processed food that is not good for your health. Also, not being on the list, they are not suitable for your budget either.
Kitchen Gardening: Start growing some fruits and vegetables at home. In this way, you can have organic food to eat and save money with fresh products at your fingertips. You can plant your vegetables and fruits in a yard or on balconies if you don’t have a yard.
Kitchen gardening can be an excellent hobby and the best way to relieve boredom. Also, growing food with your hands will give you a bucket full of happiness that is good for your mental health.
Buy whole food: Always try to buy less processed food than fully processed food because fully processed food contains additives and other artificial substances, which prevent the food from being healthy. Moreover, less processed food comes in large quantities and provides more servings per package. In this way, you will save good money.
Stock up on sales: Many sales take place annually, which can benefit you the most. You can shop on those days when the deal is going on and stock up on all your favourite healthy food. Also, shop all those items you find you will surely use later again and again and save your money to buy them when they are out of stock at home. While shopping on sales, remember these points:
- Check the price and compare it with the original one.
- Check the expiry dates of the products.
- Check the originality. It should not be a duplicate one.
Shop for seasonal products: The local products that are in season are cheaper than when they are not in season. So, remember to invest in these products wisely. Moreover, seasonal products are rich in both nutrients and flavour. The products are stored in cold storage to use in the off-season time, damaging their nutrients.
Moreover, buy the bag of the product if you can because it is much cheaper than buying a piece. You can use the required amount and save the rest in the refrigerator for later use.
Buy in bulk: It would be best to buy the food in bulk quantities as it can save you a lot of money. Many items, such as brown rice, millet, barley, and oats, can be purchased in large amounts. You can store many things in airtight containers, such as dry fruits, nuts, lentils and many more. These foods are inexpensive and rich in nutritious value, and they are used in various meals.
Pack your lunch: Do not think you are late, and eat your lunch out. It is the big mistake you make when you want to save money. Eating out is not affordable when you are on a tight budget. Moreover, you will not eat healthy food. Packing your lunch, snacks, drinks, and other meals is less expensive than dining out. Homemade food is rich in nutrients and beneficial for your health.
The Bottom Line
You do not have to break your piggy banks or cut your dreams to eat healthily. You need to use wise methods to eat healthy food that is rich in nutrients and healthy for your body. All this includes some tips like planning the meal, smart grocery shopping, cooking on your own, and many more.
Remember to avoid highly processed foods as they can lead to many cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other health conditions. If you eat them, you have to spend double the amount on medication and care instead of saving money.
A nutrient-rich diet is indeed expensive but not more than your health. So, give priority to your fitness instead of the mood of eating junk or fast food regularly.