We all have an intimate relationship with food. Our daily lives revolve around it. Not only from a practical nourishing perspective but also the social aspect of gathering the family. A way of catching up and debriefing on the day that was over the dinner table. So how do we make this ritual healthy and affordable?
When looking at most people’s weekly budget, a big expense is made up of food.
Eating well is something most of us aspire to do but this is not always achieved. The hustle and bustle of life usually gets in the way. You can eat well and it doesn’t have it cost the earth (or make a major impact on it). Here are our top picks:
Eat Vegetarian One Night a Week
Meat is typically the main cost in most meals. By cutting meat out of just one meal, there are big savings to be had. For example, try a stir fry with tofu instead of beef steak. The compounded effect of this one strategy over a year is a saving of approximately $500. You are still getting a great nutritional meal with a some big savings.
Buy in Bulk from the Farmers
Fresh and local is best. Instead of shopping at one of the major supermarkets, shop at your local farmers market. The cost comparison is typically lower for fruit and vegetables (know your numbers though). Not only does the fresh produce tend to last longer, you know it has been locally grown and you are supporting the local community.
Plan Your Meals At The Start of the Week
Batch process at the start of each week on a Sunday when you have time. This might mean cooking up few big batches of meals such as pasta, stews or curries. These can then be frozen for upcoming lunches or dinners. Not only are the cost savings from buying in bulk, you are saving time and mental energy during the week as food preparation is already done. Just pull it out of the freezer, heat and done! One less thing to worry about.
Have a Budget For Eating Out
Let’s face it, eating out is great. Someone preparing a tasty meal for you and no clean up. But doing this on a regular basis can get very expensive. We aren’t saying don’t go out – just have a budget for it and stick to it. Where we see people coming unstuck is being unprepared for the week ahead. They get home after a long day and there is nothing in the house to eat. Either take away is ordered or the next thing you know, you are down at the local Chinese restaurant. Same goes with packing lunches for work! By being prepared, you always know what the plan is.
Keep It Simple
Avoid highly processed foods. General rule of thumb is if your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t have recognised it as food back in her day, you shouldn’t be eating it. Stick with vegetables, lean proteins, minimal fruit, and good high fats (coconut oil, nuts, fish) . By cutting out all the processed stuff in your life, you are not only cutting out LOTS of sugar but you are simplifying and only eating as someone 150 years ago would have eaten. Lean, clean and fresh. Your waistline and wallet will thank you for it as you aren’t filling the trolley full of processed junk.
Just like any financial strategy, more effort and foresight is required in the short term. The dividends are not only paid with your health but your bank account. It’s worth the investment.
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