Eat clean, minimise the money machine
When hearing the rising costs of food at an annual rate of 4% and an increase of inflation prices of 2.7%, it is then not a surprise when it is stated that the average cost of a food shopping bill in Britain is £76.83 a week, an increase of £5.66 compared with last year. It is also known to be reported that at least one in every 16 parents say they skip one meal a week so their family does not go hungry, with 41% saying they have been forced to buy cheaper food because healthy food has become unaffordable. From the feedback from our Feed A Friend Network they say there has been a dramatic increase of usage from food banks alone, and over the past few years the demand for food parcels have risen . Figure 1 shows the statistics of the trend of the growing rate of food parcels according to The Trussell Trust.
In a world where food has become a burden rather than a luxury, it is a shame to see so many people eating unhealthy food as they think they cannot afford to eat healthy meals.
By reading on it will show that you can eat well without compromising on the quality and the healthy aspect in anyway shape or form. Sure, some healthful foods are more expensive, but the same rules of smart shopping apply: Price compare, be flexible about brands and choose larger sizes to save money per serving. 'Eating clean' means avoiding the processed foods and pesticides that can be harmful to your health, and cutting back on refined sugar and grains. It doesn't mean spending over the odds on fast foods.
5 Practical tips to eat the best for less!
1) Plan your meals
It makes it a lot easier when weekly plans are made. Make sure that the most perishable goods are made first during the week to maintain freshness within the products. Also when you see an interesting alternative on the shelves, list them but don't buy them there. You can always add them to next week's plan once you've completed your weeks shopping.
2) Make a list
By taking a pre made list when you shop is a good way to make sure you eat well and not to overspend on unnecessary items. This does not only allow you to keep on track of your shopping, but it also avoids impulse buys.
3) Prioritise products
Cutting down on meat and sweets is an optional part of eating clean, but it's an easy way of reducing costs and therefore giving you the financial flexibility to experiment with different products.
It's also wise to buy plenty of longer-lasting hard vegetables. Examples of these may include carrots; cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower all have relatively long fridge lives, so they're more forgiving than some of the other family vegetables. Also don’t be afraid to buy frozen vegetables such as frozen spinach as it is less than half the price and the nutritional value is identical to the fresh goods.
4) Preserve your food naturally
Fresh, organic food can perish more quickly without added preservatives, but there are still ways to avoid waste.
It's easy to focus on the fresh fruit and veg aisle for clean meals, but don't overlook all the value on offer in the dried food and cereals sections. You can often find organic, naturally preserved beans and pulses for bargain prices, and they can be stored for a long time in the cupboard. Another healthy asset will be nuts and seeds which are also good for weeks too.
Another good tip will be to freeze the leftovers of a meal, whether it being rice or a casserole. Buying in bulk and freezing portions for later is also a great way of reducing shopping and cooking costs. This will still ensure the nutritious values are still present as long as the re-heating method avoids microwaves!
5) Give yourself (some) slack
One thing that distinguishes clean eating from many other dietary trends is its realism. Many clean eaters are usually happy with an 80% success rate. Others shop for items with five ingredients or less as a guideline.
Giving yourself a little flexibility, at least at the start, will make sure you don't panic buy the heavily marketed, expensive foods that target diet trends. Most fast food is fatty, processed and expensive, so it ticks pretty much all of the fail boxes on this one.
Healthy goods for half the ‘bucks’!
• Canned salmon - Salmon is full of these healthy fats, which help lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks.
• Chicken thigh and chicken leg - chicken is full of lean protein, which helps keep you fuller for longer.
• Canned beans - Try chickpeas or black beans if you're not a fan of kidneys or pintos.
• Eggs - If you're watching your cholesterol, scramble one egg and two egg whites
• Dried lentils - Throw some in soups and stews or cook with curry powder for a quick meal
• Frozen fruit and berries - Frozen berries can be used in oatmeal or drained and baked into muffins and quick breads
• Apples - They might not keep the doctor away, but apples are actually full of antioxidants, which help slow the progression of age-related diseases
• Bananas - Slice one on your morning yogurt or oatmeal for some added fibre
• Grapes – especially the dark purple ones contain plenty of antioxidants that are known to help heart
• Carrots - Carrots are good for your eyes, thanks to the antioxidants, including beta-carotene, in them
• Frozen spinach - Spinach is full of vitamins A, C, K, plus fibre and even calcium.
• Canned tomatoes – this contains dose of vitamins A, B and C and lycopene, an antioxidant known to prevent cancer.
• Sweet potatoes - these root vegetables are a great source of fibre and antioxidants.
• Broccoli - Full of fibre, it will provide you vitamins A and C, plus fibre and a host of antioxidants. Broccoli is a superstar in the nutrition world.
• Low- or fat-free yogurt - Buy large containers of plain or vanilla yogurt, then add real fruit.
• Skim milk - Full of calcium and protein, milk can help stretch a meal
In conclusion, you can still eat and live a healthy life style whilst maintaining a tight budget. So by utilising the most of the small tips and tricks, and knowing the right products to purchase, your body will still have the vital nutritions and keep yourself fit and motivated!