The 3 Easiest Ways To Eat Healthily When You’re On A Budget

Here's how to shop WAY smarter.


Amy Hopkins |

How often have you done a food shop and left the grocery store with a huge bill, but only enough products to make about two meals for two people? I used to do this so often and, as a consequence, exceeded my monthly budget on a regular basis. So, I learnt to shop smarter.

As the food editor for Women’s Health, I often hear from readers that “healthy food is so expensive”, but this doesn’t have to be the case. With these handy tips, you’ll be able to make healthy food that’s well within your budget.

READ MORE: 12 Nutritionists Top Tips For Losing Weight… And Keeping It Off

1. Plan

Before heading to the grocery store willy-nilly, spend a few minutes planning your meals for the week and think of ways that those meals can “share” ingredients. For example: you buy a large purple cabbage (full of fibre and antioxidants), which can be shared among two dishes, such as a stir-fry and a fresh Mexican-style salad or slaw.

If you’re making tomato pasta one night, bean stew another night and vegetable curry a third night, how can you be more budget conscious with ingredients like tinned tomatoes and are they more affordable to buy in bulk?

Shopping on a whim (or when you’re hungry) often leads to wasted ingredients because you’re just thinking about what’s needed now and not how you can incorporate all the ingredients into a few meals. The last thing you want is bits of veg going off in your fridge. (When in doubt, throw all your leftover veggies in a big wok with some ginger, garlic, chilli and soy sauce and whip up a stir-fry!)

READ MORE: 4 Things That Make You Think You’re Hungry (When You’re Not)

2. Don’t Have Meat At Every Meal

There are multiple sources of protein and meat is the most expensive. Try cut down your intake to once or twice a week and include fish or chicken instead of red meat. You’ll naturally be cutting down on cholesterol and saturated fats, which can lead to heart disease.

Affordable sources of protein include: lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans and tofu. You can easily incorporate these items into salads, curries, stews and stir-fries.

READ MORE: 9 High-Protein Vegetables That Will Fill You Up Fast

3. Go Fresh

Find happy, fresh vegetables and don’t cook them to death. If you treat them with care, you won’t need to drown them in cream and salt to make them taste good. Clean and store them correctly in the fridge so that they last the week.

I buy my veggies from my local food market, the Oranjezicht City Farm Market, or if for some reason I didn’t get to the market at the weekend, I order fresh vegetables and salad ingredients from veggie delivery companies, like The Herb Trader. In Joburg you can try companies like Freshly Grown and Farm Fresh Online and in KZN, The Veg Box Company.

READ MORE ON: Healthy Eating Tips Nutrition Nutrition Advice