Five ways to eat well on a budget

·3-min read
AGE FOTOSTOCK

It's no secret that the cost of living has risen in recent months, with food and electricity bills jumping up enormously.

But while it seems there is no quick fix for the issue, there are some ways to get a little more nutritional value for money. Vitaminology nutritional therapist Caroline Hind offers up some top tips for eating well on a budget.

Stock up on protein

While protein-rich foods aren't the cheapest out there, if we price up the nutrients they give us ounce for ounce, they are actually better value for money. In addition, protein is filling and has beneficial effects on blood sugar levels, making meals more satisfying and reducing cravings for snacks.

"Eggs are a nutritious way to ensure you are eating some protein and healthy fat and have the added benefit that they don't go off quickly. Or try tinned fish such as mackerel or sardines. These are rich in Omega-3 fats that are essential for the brain and nervous system and appear to have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body, including on the cardiovascular system," she explained. "When buying meat, look for cheaper cuts of beef or chicken that stew well, and consider topping up meals with beans, lentils, and peas."

Stock up on veggies

Rather than just buying fresh vegetables, look to buy some frozen options, which are just as nutritious and convenient. And make sure you always have useful staples like garlic and onions as they make a great base for stir-fries, soups and stews.

"Choose seasonal and local vegetables if available, for example, 'spring greens' usually cost less and have a sweeter flavour than kale and spinach," Caroline explained. "And consider growing a pot or two of herbs such as basil or parsley on your window ledge to pep up plain iceberg lettuce, a cheaper option compared with buying bags of mixed salad."

Don't skimp on fruit

Frozen berries are cheaper than fresh and still contain antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory and anti-infection effects on the body.

"Buy apples when they are in season. Not only will they be cheaper but they are richer in vitamins, having spent less time from tree to table," the expert also noted.

Flavour your food

Home-cooked food can sometimes seem boring compared with more expensive takeaway or packaged food, so don't skimp on your seasonings. Consider adding fresh or dried herbs where possible, and a little salt and pepper to homemade meals.

"A dash of soy sauce, or a dash of fish sauce, can bring out the flavours in a range of foods, from stir-fries to gravies," she continued.

Plan, plan, plan

Buying only as much fresh food as you are going to eat can be a challenge without a clear plan of how you are going to use what you buy.

"Before you start your shopping list, draw up a rough plan of your week's eating. When times are hard, it can be difficult to find the energy and motivation to plan ahead, so ask someone to help you," added Caroline.

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