Eating balanced does not have to be expensive. The key is to first arm yourself with a solid meal planning system that works for you and your household. Saving money starts with mapping out your meals for the week, then effectively navigating the grocery store. Here are a few tips to start with:
- Make sure to plan your meals and create a grocery list containing the items that you need for the week
- Shop on a satisfied stomach: It is much more likely that you will stick to your grocery list if you are not starving
- Go shopping when you are alert with energy: This will help keep decisions logical and reduce risk of impulse buys
- Give no-name brand items a chance: They are cheaper versions of brand name items and can be just as nutritious and delicious! (With any item, be sure to read the ingredient list to assess quality, not judging the product by its alluring label.)
Easy Low-Cost Meal Ideas
Breakfast: Try buying large flake oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and spices from the bulk food section! You can mix up your own oatmeal creation for a fraction of the cost of typical pre-packed oatmeal.
- Apple Crumble Oatmeal: Combine in a container—large flake oats, dried apple pieces, chopped walnuts or pecans, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Chocolate Peanut Oatmeal: Combine in a container—large flake oats, peanuts, and mini semi-sweetened chocolate chips.
- Chia Cranberry Oatmeal: Combine in a container—large flake oats, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and dried cranberries.
Lunch: Throw together a simple salad with lettuce and cheese that you shred yourself! Pre-cut lettuce and already shredded bags of cheese are more expensive than taking the time to shred it yourself.
- Try tossing together a homemade taco salad with ground beef, home-shredded romaine lettuce and cheddar cheese with crushed tortilla chips and chopped bell peppers. Top with salsa and plain Greek yogurt!
Supper: Slow cooker meals using dried legumes is a simple and cost-effective way to put together a balance meal! Dried beans and lentils pack your meal with fibre and protein. Simply soak the beans and rinse them off before tossing them into your slow cooker soup, stew, or chili! Here are a few ideas to snowball off:
- Lentil Vegetable Soup
- Curry Chickpea Stew
- Vegetarian Bean Chilli
By Susan Sommerville – Registered Dietitian (Nutritionist)
Revive Wellness Inc.