Eating healthy is generally thought to be an expensive option. Even if this were true, I would argue that it is an investment, but that’s an entire post for another day. The idea that a healthy diet is expensive is not entirely true and there are many ways to reduce the cost of food. Today I will share a few simple ways to reduce your food bill so that you can afford to eat well.
Buy in bulk only when it makes sense
Buying in bulk is a good option as long as you actually eat the food. Don’t buy 50 tins of tuna if you rarely ever eat it. Items such as nuts can cost over $100/kg when bought in small packets, in bigger quantities this cost will go down to as low as $10-$20/kg. There are many online vendors that will sell food items in bulk and these can be a great way to stock up on staples. You can also consider buying big amounts of items at these online stores and splitting the cost between friends or family.
Reduce meat consumption
Meat is one of the most expensive parts of the Western diet. Whilst meat can be a healthy part of our diets, the truth is most people eat far more than is needed for their health. You do not have to completely eliminate meat from your diet, but reducing your portion sizes each meal will go a long way to saving money. Also look into buying cheaper cuts of meat, often they taste just as good or better when cooked correctly and are up to half the price per kg.
Take Away food is not a cheaper option
Fast food often seems cheap but when taken in context it can be very expensive. Most fast food is nutritionally void and you are not getting much for your money. A cheaply sourced home cooked meal will always come out on top. If you are out somewhere consider shopping at a supermarket for a cheaper snack or meal option.
Buy in season
Modern supermarkets and supply chains mean that we can get any type of food any time of the year. You may notice there are big changes in the cost of different vegetables at different times of the year. Broccoli can be as cheap as $1/kg or as much as $10/kg depending on the time of the year. You can generally tell the season of vegetables by noticing this price change. Food out of season has travelled a long way and as a result you will be paying a high price for a lower quality item. If you really want a particular vegetable then opt for the frozen variety.
Use unit pricing labels
Supermarkets and most online stores now have unit price ticketing systems. This will show how much a product costs for a certain size so that you can compare them. For example, there may be 5 brands of rolled oats all of varying package sizes. With the different sized packages it can be confusing to compare the true cost of each item. Luckily these labels can cut down the confusion. On the oats it may vary from 20cents/100grams up to $1/100grams. These labels are a great way to easily compare items and see how much they cost, just ensure that the units are the same.
Frozen vegetables are a good choice
Fresh foods are generally the best choice where possible but frozen vegetables come a close second. They are superior to tinned goods from a nutritional perspective and will taste better too. Frozen vegetables and fruits are picked and frozen almost immediately meaning that they will be healthier and cheaper than fresh vegetables that are not in season or have been in storage for long periods as is common in supermarkets.
Skip the supplements
While supplements can have potential benefits for some people they are generally very expensive and not needed. If you need a specific supplement for a condition then continue to take it but shop around online to find the cheapest price. Supplemental vitamins and minerals are often poorly absorbed by the body and carry hugely inflated costs. If you are eating a variety of foods then you likely have no need to be taking any unless a doctor has told you that you have a specific deficiency.
Don’t waste food
This would seem like an obvious one but the average person still throws about 20% of all their food straight into the bin. If your weekly budget on food is $100, you can cut that down to $80 just by not throwing out the perfectly good food you paid for. Only buy what you actually need at the supermarket and don’t be tempted by sales on perishable items. Every time you throw some food away remember how much it cost to buy to begin with, it is throwing money into the bin.
Take food with you
Whether it be going to work, going out for a daytrip or going to a movie, taking your own food is always a cheaper option. Spending a few minutes to pack in some snacks will mean that you are not going to go hungry and can save on buying overpriced food items. Often people forget to include these food purchases as part of their total food bill but can actually form a large part of their overall food costs.
Thanks for reading
Do you think that healthy food is too expensive? Do you have any tips of your own for reducing your food costs? Please leave any comments or questions below.