This doctor-approved hack can help you boost your nutrition and curb spending

meal prep - women's health uk
A simple + healthy way to slash your food spendwmaster890 - Getty Images

Paying close attention to your nutrition: it’s good for pretty much everything apart from your wallet.

In fact, healthy food spending is so much of a concern for women in the UK that 80% of those aged between 25-34 surveyed by insurance company Aviva said that, while they were interested in eating healthily, the cost of nutritious fare prevented them from doing so.

So how do you nail your nutrition while keeping your food spending in check?

Meal prep maestro Dr Hazel Wallace and Emelie Bellet, former financier-turned-founder of Vestpod - a digital platform and community that aims to empower women financially through education, workshops - came on the show to share their expert advice.

The broad consensus was that taking the time to plan and prepare meals - rather than trying to eat healthily on the hoof - was the key to maintaining a nutritious diet, consistently, whilst being sensible with food spending.

Can you slash food spending if you're too busy to meal prep?

Yes! As Dr Wallace explained, meal prepping isn’t an all or nothing game - and reaping its stress-relieving and food spending reducing benefits doesn’t require you prepping whole meals that are aesthetically pleasing enough to be uploaded to your IG grid.

‘Try buying chopped-up veg or packets of lentils and brown rice - things that can streamline your meal prep process,’ she suggests. ‘While it’s not the best from a plastic point of view...sometimes there are incredibly busy weeks in your life and you just have to make those sacrifices.’

True say. Dr Wallace also encourages stocking your cupboards with non-perishable but seriously healthy items. ‘Things like cans of lentils, chickpeas and mixed beans are incredible; they are really good sources of plant-based protein, are high in fibre and good carbohydrates, plus they have a really long shelf life so it’s not like you need to go out to the supermarket to pick up sweet potato [to get those same nutrients] - you’ll always have those [tinned pulses] there as back-up’.

The food spending case for utilising your freezer

Even if you’re not cooking and storing five portions of vegan chilli, Dr Wallace is a serious advocate of making use of your freezer. ‘People tend to shun frozen and tinned foods as something that’s less healthy [than the fresh equivalents] when really they’re not,’ she explains. ‘There is some evidence to say that frozen fruit and vegetables might theoretically be healthier because they are frozen at source, meaning that they retain all their nutrients.’

The bottom line? Basically, food prepping is about more than having food to eat. It’s a tool that helps many busy women feel like they’ve got their shit together and every little helps. So, in order to get it done, don’t be afraid to take those short cuts.

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