A tight budget and healthy eating don’t seem to be two compatible notions as you look at your options – whether in supermarket aisles or online. However, with a little knowledge and experience, you can make the two a reality. Even if your nutritional demands are high due to an intense workout regimen, you can still learn what and how to cook in order to maximize your gains while keeping expenses at a decent level.
1. Keep the freezer full
Rely on your freezer to store the seasonal foods you buy. First, focus on the season’s fresh produce and consume it fresh as much as you can. Then, do your best to store some more in the freezer, for cooking at a later date. Usually, seasonal food comes with cheaper prices, due to its perishable nature.
2. Buy or make spreads
Spreads of various kinds are easy to make, taste great and can be combined in many ways. Think of guacamole or peanut butter and the new nut butters, such as those made of almonds. You can load on protein and good fats but also enjoy a healthy, delicious and fulfilling snack if you opt for crackers, whole grain bread, pita and so on as base. Minced tuna also makes for a tasty and affordable spread.
3. Go cheaper on meat cuts
Some meat cuts are known as ‘fancy’ – they’re nice as a restaurant meal, but not necessarily better from a nutritional point of view. Such is the case with filet mignon, which provides protein but also a worrying amount of fat. Start buying cuts with bones and skin. Even if you throw away those parts, it will still be cheaper in the end. Also, instead of chicken breasts you can opt for chicken thighs.
4. Become a fan of the crock-pot
The crock-pot allows you to throw in and cook together a lot of foods that otherwise would not be too appealing. You may put in leftover pieces of meat or bits that aren’t usually tender. This will make them juicy and tasteful. It is the ideal cooking method when you buy only the cheapest cuts (pork shoulder or belly for example for non-halal eaters).
5. Befriend the beans
Beans are easy to cook, rich in protein and minerals and can successfully replace meat. These can fill you up and help you stay healthy. Focus on black beans, as these are nutrient-dense.
Our final but very important tip is… planning ahead
Nothing can mess with your budget as not thinking ahead about what you are going to eat. You don’t want to be in a situation when you are missing a key ingredient and you have to buy it from the nearest store, which turns out to be a very expensive one or stock only on premium brands.
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