The average person aspires to eat healthy. And…why not? There are so many benefits to eating healthy: more energy, improved health, healthy weight, fresh skin, stabilized mood and sense of wellbeing e.t.c. Unfortunately, eating healthy can be expensive and many who opt for it give up before they even begin.
Think about it: the average cost of broccoli (100g) in a Nigerian grocery store is about NGN 1,500; cauliflower as well. Asparagus is worse – N3, 000 for just about 3-5 sticks. You haven’t even calculated the cost of the meat and oil you would need to prepare the meals, e.t.c. It can really be discouraging, especially if you are on a tight budget.
The good thing about eating healthy though is that, there are many ways to go about it, and some of the possible methods will have you actually spending less on food.
Maximize your refrigerator
Ignore the myth of frozen food not being as good or healthy as fresh food. Quick-frozen produce is actually just as nutritious. The refrigerator is your number one asset if you are determined to be prudent about eating healthy. They keep your fruits and veggies fresh for a longer period. Also, you can buy food and vegetables in bulk and freeze them, then use them bit by bit. Buying some foods in bulk quantities can save you a lot of time and money. So also, cooking large meals. You can store the leftovers in Ziploc bags or containers and freeze them to be enjoyed later, or used to make new meals. You can buy frozen foods that usually will not be available at certain periods of the year but are cheaper and store them properly.
Buy from the local markets
Most of the food in shops is infused with chemicals and preservatives. You find fresh and organic foods in the local markets and they are so much cheaper! You are not just limited to certain food items. Meat is cheaper and healthier, as sometimes you even get them by point-and-kill. Also, you can get many cuts of meat that cost way less. You save yourself some money and eat even healthier.
Prepare your own meals
It is a whole lot easier having your food delivered to you from a health store or restaurant as it will save you from all the blending and chopping or grilling, also you are sure the number of calories written on the food pack is what they say it is, and the food is healthy indeed, but doing that will cost you so much more! Cooking at home is much cheaper than eating out. It is actually worth the effort, as it ensures you are in control of what you eat. You have the benefit of knowing exactly what is in your food. and measuring it accordingly. You just need to plan your time properly. You may cook one meal at a time or in bulk and freeze, but basically, you end up realizing that the money you spend eating one plate of healthy food at a restaurant will be the same you will spend making about 4 plates at home.
Keep things simple
Another way to eat healthy without going broke is by ensuring you keep your meals as simple as possible. Forget all the elaborate meals you see on Instagram or Facebook, you don’t want to complicate your life and discourage yourself like that. You don’t need to eat Cavatappi with Browned Brussels Sprouts and Buttery Breadcrumbs in the morning, Caramelized Onion Burgers with Root Veggie Fries and Creamy Slaw in the noon and Salmon with Lime-Hoisin Glaze with Crunchy Bok Choy Slaw for dinner. Elaborate meals will stress you and your pocket. Go for simple combos that will save you time and money, such as green salad and chicken, fish and okra soup .e.t.c. And you can eat the same meal until it is exhausted. You are not trying to impress anybody. You may decide to replace meat with other protein sources, such as eggs, legumes, e.t.c they are cheaper, even more, nutritious and easier to prepare.
Grow your own food
Depending on how much time you have and how determined you are, you can go a step further and grow your food items yourself. It is as easy as buying the seeds, digging up a hole in the soil and planting it. It cheaper to buy the seed and the fruit, vegetable or food itself. You can grow herbs, sprouts, and some other delicious crops. All you need is time and effort. You will save yourself the stress of having to always run to the store and there is guarantee that it is not infused with chemicals or preservatives. There is the fulfilment that comes from know that you actually till the ground and harvest your own food.
No matter how expensive healthy food may seem to be, it is worth every dime; and you really can’t put a price on good health.