One of the common misconceptions about health, wellness and nutrition is that it’s only for people who have money to burn and healthyeating is not for those on a budget.
While this can be true in some instances — like dining out at the trendy plant based cafe in your town may not always be budget friendly — there are a handful of tips and tricks you can follow to make shopping, cooking and enjoying delicious and healthy food work within your budget.
One of the first things I am always eager to teach my clients is component cooking. What this means is instead of worrying about meal prep in the traditional sense and finding one recipe, buying all those ingredients and then eating that same meal four or five days in a row, I teach them to cook one or two base ingredients. These ingredients are typically veggies + quinoa. I suggest buying three – four veggies that are in season (sweet potato, corn, broccoli, kale, etc.) then cooking them on the stove top with olive oil, salt and pepper. While that is going, cook one cup of quinoa. I suggest storing these two components in big tubber-ware containers in the fridge, and then during the week you use these ready to-go, precooked foods to create various meals. I like making scrambles, frittatas, layered quinoa veggie bowls, hearty salads, healthy soups, and veggies wraps (I love these tortillas), to name a few. Component cooking saves time, energy, money and makes assembling healthy but yummy weekday meals that much easier.
Specifics on healthy eating on a budget:
1. A recent Vox article lists out 11 practical tips on how to eat well while still keeping costs down. From how to fully utilize your freezer to how to stock a pantry, this piece lays a great foundation for setting your kitchen and wallet up for success.
2. Want more specifics around what foods to buy on the cheap? This article from Clean Eating maps out the 17 cheapest and healthiest foods you can buy.
3. When it comes to batch cooking a specific recipe, I am a HUGE fan of easy, veggie loaded soups, then storing them in the freezer. With a few modifications, this creamy split pea and potato recipe is my go-to, regardless if it’s hot or cold weather outside. I make it in big batches with a few modifications (I swap potatoes for sweet potatoes, add heaping handfuls of spinach and grate fresh ginger + turmeric). Once cooled, I freeze the soup in mason jars and then defrost a container when I want a quick and delicious meal. If you’re feeling extra hungry, I love cooking a side of protein (chicken thighs, fried egg, veggie burger, etc.) and having that on top of the soup. I always garnish with a couple of fresh avocado slices and a squeeze of lime!
(Looking for more healthy and hearty soup ideas? Check out the soup goddess, Rebecca Katz for more recipes)
I hope these tips and insights around making food more accessible and available to all kinds of consumers with various budgets is leaving you feeling inspired and ready to shop and cook!
Do you have a favorite meal to prepare or a cooking hack that is budget friendly? Comment below!