7 simple changes to help you eat smarter

Healthy eating, besides helping you lead a healthier lifestyle, can also be cheaper. With a few simple tweaks to your eating and shopping habits, you could eat better for less.

7 simple changes to help you eat smarter

1. Healthy diet, healthy wallet

  • Make meat go further by cooking it in casseroles or stir-fries bulked out with cheaper ingredients, such as beans, legumes or seasonal vegetables.
  • Basing meals on starchy foods such as rice, pasta, potatoes and bread is not only good for a balanced diet, but offers excellent value for money.

2. Five to ten for less

  • Doctors agree that we should all eat five to ten portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Your daily intake can include fresh, frozen, dried and canned foods
  • The health properties of some produce (like tomatoes) are even better in a canned form, and often cheaper.
  • Save more by buying the supermarket's own brand — it's just as nutritious.
  • One of your portions of fresh fruit can be juice.
  • Eat fresh fruit and vegetables as soon as possible rather than storing — or use frozen.
  • Don't cook vegetables for too long. Steam or boil them, then use the water as a nutritious stock for making soup.
  • Cover and chill cut fruit and veggies and don't soak them.

3. Gardening for fun and savings

  • You can also save money by growing fruit and vegetables in your garden. Go for those that are sold at a premium, take up little space, yet are simple to grow.
  • Green beans, tomatoes, sugar snap peas and loose-leaf lettuce will net you the biggest savings, especially if you grow them from seed.
  • In a 23 to 25 centimetre (nine to 10 inch) pot you can grow one eggplant, pepper or tomato plant; four climbing green bean plants; 32 carrots; or three strawberry plants.
  • Grow the herbs you use most frequently in a window box so you can harvest them as needed.

4. Get essential fats for less

Replace at least one meat dish a week with oily fish.

Top up your omega-3 oils by scattering a handful of pumpkin seeds on a salad, or eating a few walnuts.

5. Water on tap

  • Aim to drink two litres (eight cups) of water a day.
  • Tap water is just as good, and your cheapest option is to drink chilled tap water from a bottle in the fridge.
  • If your water is supplied by a well on your property, make sure you test it regularly.
  • If buying bottled water, buy in bulk from any of the discount stores or supermarkets.
  • Invest in a water filter jug or install a filtered drinking water system.

6. Best buys

  • Bulk-food stores can be cheaper for healthy alternatives.
  • Legumes such as kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils work out to be about 50% cheaper if you buy them dried rather than canned.
  • Add carbonated water to unsweetened fruit juice and save on soda pop (and sugar).

7. Vegetarian alternatives

  • Consider dropping fish or meat from your diet for at least one day a week. A recent study revealed that vegetarians visit hospital 22% less often than their meat-eating friends.
  • Reducing your meat intake can be healthier and can net you big savings on your food bill.

A healthy diet helps to keep you healthy and reduces the risk of serious illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. But with this advice, you could eat healthy and within your budget.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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