How many times has it crossed your mind this year to start eating healthier, but the dreaded food shop and the costly shopping bill has held you back? Well you’re in luck because today I dish out my best top tips to help you to eat well on a budget!
There’s no way to soften the blow with this one. I’m sorry boo, but you are just going to have to suck it up. I know you don’t hide your card as much on a night out, so let’s put it to good use! Bad news is, that first healthy food shop you do is going to get crazy and yes, it will seem a little more expensive. That’s just because you are stocking up on all your pantry items ready to rustle up some Gordon Ramsey style dishes in the kitchen. The good news is that it’s pretty much only the first one that is expensive and it gets so much cheaper after that!
I get it, that first food shop is a little daunting. I’ve been there, really! But here’s something that got me to see the bigger picture and I hope it will help you too. Before my healthy lifestyle, I would stock up on so many unhealthy foods and drinks when shopping which was costing anything between £60- £100 a week. It just depended on whether we had any gatherings at home or not. Then I would be having a night on the town at least once a week (clearly this was before motherhood), which after the drinks, paying to get into places, taxis and obligatory kebab stop on the way home, this would usually cost around £50… That’s based on the fact that I hadn’t bought myself a new outfit for the event.. Which sometimes I would. Then there was the takeaways… Hey, hear me out first, I never learnt to cook until I knew that I was going into motherhood!! Me and my partner would averagely get between 1-2 a week. Eating out in restaurants and fast food places another 1-2 times a week. Coffee’s, petrol station meal deals, a quick cone of chips on my lunch break. This could easily add up to another £50+ a week!!!
Whereas now, I enjoy cooking homemade meals for me and my family more than I do eating out. Our weekly shop for a family of 3 comes out to £30. Which is why you should also shop more locally. Get your fresh produce from your local farmers market.
Also, I now don’t go out every weekend.. But you know… Motherhood. We very rarely have takeaways. Only really the night before going on holiday because I don’t want to cook or make a mess in the kitchen!! We still eat out a couple of times a month. We have a decent balanced lifestyle and enjoy it. But this time it’s for fun or special occasions, rather than I couldn’t cook, don’t have the time or just sheer laziness. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise the savings that have occurred between me and my husband since switching to a healthier lifestyle. So in other words.. Cut the junk out!!! If you are being honest with yourself, like I have just been with you, you could even just cut down and not eliminate it completely and still be saving a fair amount each month.
Waste not want not
My favourite tip that I tell all of my customers and anyone who is wanting to eat healthier and on a budget. When cooking, I don’t weigh out just the right amount of ingredients for the people that I am cooking for. I overcook so that 1. I can have seconds, because YOLO. And 2. I tupperware the rest and stick it in the fridge to have for lunch the next day. The best thing about this tip is that it is a complete life hack!! You just don’t know when those days are going to sprout on you where you can’t be bothered to cook, or you are so swamped with work and Mom life that you desperately need a quick meal choice because you have no time. When you have healthy leftovers in, you tend to not derail from your new lifestyle choice because it’s quick and easy just to grab the leftovers! Leaving you with less excuses and less splurging.
Make a plan, write a list, never go shopping whilst hungry!! All three are equally as important as the other! Planning your meals for the week ahead will help you come up with a shopping list purely of ingredients that you only need. This will eliminate any excessive and random purchases that you would usually make when you haven’t a clue what to cook for the week.
Since living a healthier lifestyle, I once heard a quote that has stuck with me since;
“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”
That’s why I am such a huge fan of leftovers! It’s little effort and saves your ass more times than you could count! But also, if your biggest excuse is time and not having enough of it, you might want to start scheduling in a day where you can peel, chop, prep any veg or other and pop it in the freezer to help you on your busiest days.
Keeping it simple
If you’re a meat eater (I get that not everyone is going to be full blown veggie/vegans like us), try and have one or two days a week where you don’t eat meat at all. Not only will this be good for your gut and heart in the long run, but it will also save you a pretty penny.
Not every meal needs to be an organic, gourmet banquet! Have a look over at the recipes on my blog, or on my food pinterest board for ideas. At least once a week I will create a bean chilli. My point is, stock up on beans! All kinds of them!! Many are packed with nutrition and you can find them pretty much anywhere for a really small price! Most meals that I plan for me and the family during the week are really simple recipes that take me no longer than 30 minutes, sometimes even less! I tend to save the special cooking for the weekend when I have a little more time. I post a lot of the healthy meals that I eat on a daily basis and everyone thinks that I’ve spent hours on them. But the truth is, I do exactly what I have told you today.
How serious are you about your health?
If after all that, you still feel like that is too much effort… Then the truth is, your health is not your priority. You’ll find money for takeaways, meals out, take away coffees, nights out, meal deals. That are quite frankly leaving you broke, miserable, tired, overweight, irritable and downright unhealthy. But one big, healthy food shop to start you on your brand new healthy lifestyle routine, that will eventually have you lifting all of those negative feelings seems “too expensive”. Do you know what is expensive? Being sick. Losing out on a days wage because you’ve had to call in sick, and forking out money on medicines and comfort food.
It’s not expensive, you just haven’t made it a priority. I get it girl, I really do. You forget that I started my health journey when I was just 21, after years of hiding behind the misery of eating junk food and not looking after myself. Change is scary, but it’s also the most empowering feeling you will ever witness yourself go through!! Make it a priority, remind yourself why you are doing it. On the bad and the good days. If you slip up, so what? You’re only human! Just don’t let that one slip up turn into a whole day. Because that whole day turns into a weekend, which then turns into a week, then a month, then a year. Before you know it, you’re ordering a family bucket for 1 and wondering if the washing machine has “shrunk” all your clothes again.
I hope these tips were useful to some of you! If they were, let me know in the comments below. Share it with your friends, because starting a healthy lifestyle is always made easier when your gal friends are all in the same boat… Just offered you another life hack there! Ha! If you have any tips or hacks of your own, make sure to leave them in the comment section too for others to make use of! Just remember, we can only do the best we can with what we have. So don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do everything “perfectly” right now – every little positive change you make can make a huge difference!!