National Eating Healthy Day, proudly sponsored by the American Heart Association, shouldn’t be the one day a year when you eat more healthily, but if you are wanting to learn about proper nutrition it is a great place to start. Today, November 7, is that very day; so put in the extra effort, go the extra mile, you will feel so fantastic for having done it (those cookies and chips can wait another day). But if you are determined that National Eating Healthy Day should be more like National Eating Healthy Forever then read on, because we have found 10 inexpensive ways to help get you on your way. Not only are the below tips designed to make eating healthier easier for you, they will also make it the cheaper option too!
- Don’t go shopping empty-handed. It may seem really old-fashioned to trawl around the grocery store with a shopping list in your hand, but it’ll help you stick with your food goals (and your budget) if you go prepared. That’s not to say you can’t make impulse purchases if the mood takes you, but you will be far less likely to just buy junk food because it seems the ‘easier option’. For the more tech savvy among you use apps like Grocery IQ or shopper to help you stick to your list.
- Never go shopping hungry. School boy error! All your willpower and determination to eat more healthy will go straight out the window when faced with aisles of tasty snacks and yummy looking sandwiches. Just don’t do it. Take an extra 5 minutes before heading out the door to eat a healthy and nutritious snack or meal.
- Eat your greens. Do as your Mama told you and eat your greens. Not only are they good for you (think superfoods), they are so cheap and easy to prepare and can be squeezed into any meal. Seriously, the health benefits are just amazing!
- Make the right choices. When it comes to fresh or canned always go fresh. You’ll be avoiding unnecessary sodium, excess sugar and unnecessary costs. Plus fresh just tastes better anyway.
- If don’t know what it is or you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. So many chemicals and highly refined (and bad for you) ingredients are pumped into processed foods; everyone knows high fructose corn syrup isn’t natural, or good for you. It’s so simple: if you couldn’t grow it in your own backyard, put it back. (Or buy the original, pick potatoes over fries!)
- Avoid refined. Refined sugar or refined flour are a big no-no. The refining process removes any goodness from the food. When they turn whole grain flour into white flour the bran and the germ are removed – these are the parts that we want! These guys are packed with the nutrients that our bodies need: the fibre, the vitamins, the healthy fats (yes fat can be your friend). Pick whole grain every time.
- Avoid anything with added sugar. Your drink doesn’t need to be packed with sugar to make it tasty, why not make your own by simply mixing 100% fruit juices with water? Similarly your food doesn’t have to be sugar laden either. Sugar is the number one cause of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. If you still have to go sweet, choose foods that are naturally sweet like beets, carrots, corn or sweet potatoes over those with added sugars.
- Save money by buying and cooking in bulk. Not only will it save you shopping time, but it will save you cooking time because you can prepare your meals in advance, what could be easier (and cheaper) than that?
- Make grocery shopping day ‘food prep day’ too. You know what you have to buy to make your meals so keep the momentum going and prepare your week’s meals as soon as you get home. It will really help you stick to your goals and control what you are eating if you have your food ready to go.
- Don’t be drawn into the centre of the supermarket. Once you start exploring they have you. Stick to the edges, it’s a known fact that grocery stores typically place fresh produce around the outer edges.
So there you have it: 10 inexpensive ways to eat healthy. Good luck!