Eat healthily without blowing the budget


There’s a common misconception that it’s expensive to eat healthy food. 

An while it is true that lean meats, vegetables, and fruits cost more, a little can go a long way and there are many creative ways to make sure that you eat delicious, nutritious meals that don’t cost a fortune.

Eating healthy foods consistently is less expensive than the disease that comes with eating unhealthy foods and having to use costly medications.

The cost outlay is also not just financial, we pay with reduced quality of life when we choose to eat unhealthy foods consistently.

Also, if we eat the wrong types of foods, we become nutritionally deplete and can then crave more of the wrong types of foods to compensate.

A varied, balanced diet is the healthiest type of diet to follow. If our food is all one colour, we miss out on the nutrients and antioxidants that are necessary for our bodies to thrive.

Here are some ways to make sure healthy eating is less expensive: 

Planning is key

Cook meals in bulk to save on electricity. Bulk meals can be frozen for later use. Also, having a meal plan for a week at a time can be helpful and can prevent you from having to shop more frequently, which inevitably results in us buying more than we would have had we just done one shop. Each meal should have a slow-releasing carbohydrate, such as brown rice, pumpkin, or sweet potato, a form of protein, either plant-based or animal, and some healthy fats.

Buy seasonal and locally sourced fruits and vegetables 

Foods that are in season are cheaper and they keep for longer periods of time. Some supermarkets mark their produce down towards the end of the day or if they have surplus stock. There are also several fruit and vegetable sellers who set up stalls with fresh produce for very reasonable prices.

Use canned or frozen vegetables as alternatives where necessary

The nutrient profile of many frozen or canned vegetables is about the same as that of fresh vegetables and these can be added to soups and stews. Cans of beans, lentils, and chickpeas are also great additions to dishes. Adding these increases the nutrient value and can make a meal go much further. If you add a can or two of lentils to a mince dish you can almost double the amount of food available. It is important to be careful that unhealthy preservatives and sauces have not been used in the packaging process, but if they are in brine or vegetable oil, they should be good to use.

Substitute meats for plant-based options

Meats can be mixed with plant-based options, otherwise, they can be replaced completely. Beans, lentils, and chickpeas make great substitutes and can be used in stews, curries, and soups. Dried forms of these will be cheaper than canned varieties but will take some planning and preparation before they can be used. Again, these can be prepared in bulk and frozen for use later.

Keep a stock of non-perishable items

Oats, whole grain pasta, rice, legumes, maize products, whole grain flour, and cans of tuna or pilchards, and tomatoes can be pantry staples that can be used as a foundation for just about any meal.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 20 October 2022 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am