How to Eat Healthily on a Budget

If you’re watching your pennies, it can be all too easy to pick up a cheap bag of instant noodles and call it dinner. But eating this way comes at a cost: you may find that being treated for scurvy is actually quite expensive! On a more serious note, while you may not think so, eating nutritiously can be done on a budget. To help you on your way, we chatted to Amanda Weber, a registered dietician based in Cape Town, who offered some words of advice:

Shop smart

“Keep your eye on special offers and always buy what’s in season,” says Amanda. Fruit and veggies are often discounted as they near their sell-by date, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be eaten – or thrown into a juicer or a blender. Avoid shopping at convenience stores that offer overpriced, poor-quality foods.

Plan ahead

Plan your weekly menu in advance and pack yourself some lunch every day. “This will limit the last-minute, expensive take-outs you buy just because you forgot to pick up the basics,” explains Amanda. Also, make sure you buy food that you’re sure to use to help you minimise wastage.

Stock the basics

Speaking of the basics, there are a few items that Amanda always recommends you have on hand:

  • Eggs are the ultimate nutritious budget-friendly option, and are super versatile. Scramble them for breakfast, whip up an egg mayo sandwich for lunch and try your hand at shakshuka, a delicious Middle Eastern tomato-based stew that uses poached eggs, for dinner.
  • Sardines are a winner, from price to protein profile. It’s a good idea to keep them in your cupboard for super-quick, super-healthy snacks.
  • Soups are affordable and dead easy to make. Combine cheaper meat cuts or soup meat with some veggies and legumes and you have a high-protein, fibre-rich and filling meal.
  • Lentils in meat dishes can give you more munch for your money: think lentil bobotie and lentil curry. Legumes are very good for you, and they’re inexpensive and quick to cook.
  • Peanut butter is protein-rich and full of magnesium and potassium. Add peanut butter to your breakfast oats or smoothies to up the ante, or throw together that old peanut butter and banana toasted sandwich favourite.
  • Stir-frying vegetables like carrots, celery and cabbage is affordable, tasty and good for you. Add egg noodles, rice or scrambled eggs and you’re good to go.

At the end of the day, you simply can’t expect to have a healthy wallet or a healthy body if you’re buying junk food all the time. It’s expensive and, apart from that flimsy piece of tomato on your burger, offers very little nutritional value. Rather plan and prepare your meals in advance, and you’ll have money in your pocket and a spring in your step.

Sources: Healthline:

Choosing the right medical aid is no joke, but we’ll leave you smiling.