There is a common myth that leading a healthier lifestyle has to be super expensive and not budget friendly. Let’s face it, the supermarkets don’t help by adding fuel to the fire with their heavily discounted junk food and snacks. These are perfectly fine as part of a balanced lifestyle, however, it does annoy me when I see a packet of crisps cheaper than a pack of apples, making eating well seem less accessible to many.
Of course, if everything in your shopping trolley is labelled organic or piled high with exotic superfood powders, things are bound to become expensive. For me, protein powders, maca powder, lucuma powder and all the rest of it do have a place in a healthy lifestyle – I think they’re great and use them myself. Nevertheless, I don’t necessarily think that they’re essential to lead a happy and healthy life but are added extras to give you a boost.
Simply eating good well-balanced food that includes all the food groups is enough. This should include all the foods that you enjoy, including chocolate, pizza and cupcakes – life would be a chore without them! Yes, organic grass-fed meat and dairy are better as it’s more natural and hasn’t been enhanced in any way but it’s not going to suit everybody’s budget. The wellness brigade with their shiny halos shouldn’t feel more superior because their kitchens are stocked full of the stuff. It’s just the reality of life that these types of foods are higher priced and people have other more important priorities. I tend to stick to buying organic meat and dairy when the budget allows or when it’s on offer, but realise it’s OK when I can’t afford to do so.
Again, I stress that you don’t need these fancy food stuff to live well and feel great, which is why I’m sharing some budget- friendly store cupboard ingredients that you can add to your every day to make it that bit healthier.
I’ve really made a massive push recently to include more turmeric into my every day eating. This golden-yellow powder has many incredible medicinal and healing properties that are great for your healthy and wellbeing. Since it’s such a nutritional powerhouse, it’s well worth trying to get your dose of turmeric and one of the easiest ways increase your turmeric intake is to blend it into your smoothies – try my Turmeric & Coconut Smoothie, it’s one of my favourites!
Such a simple food but full of so much healthy goodness. Nut are especially high in lots of healthy fats and protein to help nourish your body. They make a great snack for when the hungry monster comes calling. Almonds, pistachios and pecans are my personal favourites that I like to add to a homemade trail mix or granola.
I do think seeds are often overlooked and viewed as bird food. You can buy a large mixed bag of seeds relatively cheaply and it lasts for ages. Like nuts, they’re full of healthy oils, protein and high in fibre. They’re great as a topping on smoothies, yoghurt, porridge and stir fries.
Rather than adding caster sugar to my food and baked goods I like to use natural alternatives because they keep my blood sugar more stable and are less processed. Maple syrup is one of my favourite sugar alternatives and I always look out for real maple syrup as opposed to the flavoured ones. Some maple syrup brands can be pricey, but you can pick up some great cheaper versions in the supermarket.
I’m a nut butter addict, what can I say! There are so many varieties on the market these days and they can even be picked up in your local supermarkets instead of independent health food shops. Great as a snack with veggies and fruit, on toast, in smoothies or straight up from the jar.
Another budget-friendly way to sweeten up your food is with dried fruits instead of using refined sugar. A little goes a long way so a big bag of mixed dried fruits or raisins will last a while so they’re a great addition to your healthy store cupboard set up.
Tinned Oily Fish
Full of gorgeous healthy fats and oils, fish is incredibly good for you and a nice lighter alternative to meat. Fresh fish can be a little pricey, so I think it’s well worth picking up some tins of mackerel, salmon and tuna when they’re on offer to add to meals like salads and pasta bakes.
Chopped Tinned Tomatoes
The humble tinned tomato is one of those ingredients that I use so much in my cooking. Their healthy star component, lycopene is better absorbed by the body when heated especially during cooking. They are also a fantastic source of vitamins K, E and C.
Dried Legumes, Wholegrains & Pulses
Keeping a well-stocked store cupboard should include a nice selection of dried pulses, legumes and wholegrains. You get more bang for your buck if you buy them dried instead of pre-prepared, just cook up a batch when you need them. High in fibre and protein, they’re great for bulking out meals or as a less processed meat alternative. Watch this space, I have a recipe coming up on the blog using red lentils soon!