Eating healthily is a great thing to achieve for your family and it really doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Once you know all the short cuts and hacks, you won’t just be reaping the benefits of a healthy diet, you’ll be enjoying saving cash too. From creating a meal plan and coming up with healthy lunch box ideas, to smart shopping and the power of smoothies, here are 10 top tips.
1. Plan your week
Planning is a huge component of family healthy eating, and it’s a great way of keeping your costs down too. Sometimes all you need is to write stuff down. Do that, and you’re more likely to see it through.
In terms of healthy eating, 10 or 20 minutes of jotting down a meal plan can lead to huge nutritional benefits and plenty of money saved too. The more targeted and focused you are, the less likely you are to employ a scattered approach and end up buying items that don’t get eaten.
2. Pack lunches
One of the best ways of making sure that everyone, particularly your little ones, are eating well in the middle of the day is to make your own lunches. Grabbing something in a shop or choosing a bite to eat from a menu isn’t always the unhealthy option, but you can’t guarantee what is going into it. Put together your own!
Healthy lunch box ideas that include ingredients like whole grains, lean proteins and fresh produce are not only going to give you and your kids the nutrients you need, they’ll also provide everyone with the energy required for the rest of the day. It’s cheaper than buying premade food, too.
3. Cook in batches
Batch cooking helps you save a lot of time! And when you pack out your meals with goodness, it’s a lot easier to be consistent with healthy eating.
In addition to cooking in batches, effective storage is a skill well worth learning too. Store in airtight containers and use labels to write down the date meals were cooked. Less waste, more tasty goodness for everyone.
4. Use leftovers
Just like batch cooking, utilising leftovers can play a huge part in cost-effective healthy eating. Rather than force food down or tell your kids that they can’t leave the table until they finish, store your leftovers for another time.
Whether it’s a filling for a healthy sandwich at lunch, a hearty afternoon snack, or just to go in your freezer to eat on another day, the less you throw away the more money you’ll save in the long run.
5. Audit your cupboards
Not knowing what you’ve already got in your cupboards, fridge and freezer is high on the list of money wasting when it comes to food shopping. Take a little time to go through each one and jot down what you need – it’s all too easy to just keep buying your favourites, whether you need more or not.
On the flip side, you might well think that you have plenty of a certain food or drink only to find there is none when you need it. A simple check can save a lot of hassle in the long run.
6. Pack out meals with pulses
Beans and lentils are perfect for bulking up meals. Not only are they full of fibre, protein and other healthiness, but they’re also cheap too, and last for a long time. So, the next time you’re making a curry, casserole or stew, chuck in some pulses for a hearty addition to your meals.
They soak up and take on a lot of the flavour of the cooking sauce too, so there shouldn’t be much resistance when it comes to getting the kids to eat them.
7. Try a meat-free day once a week
The idea of having a meat-free day once a week has been a hot topic in terms of its positive impact on the environment, but it can also play its part in helping you stay healthy whilst keeping costs down.
Meat can be pricey, and educating your kids about alternative choices can help with their openness to trying new foods – the more variety the better. Think about how creative you can be together and how many extra pennies you can put in the bank over the course of a year.
8. Shop smart
Again, a little time invested here will save plenty of cash in the long run. Browse the aisles, whether virtually on your computer or in the actual shop, and cast your eye over the variety of options. You’ll soon find plenty of deals that’ll save you a few pennies.
You’ll also quickly figure out where you can pay a little less without sacrificing nutrition and where compromise just can’t be made. This may take a while the first few times you do it, but smart shopping will soon become a routine that’s quick and effective.
9. Shop seasonally
This one carries on from smart shopping. When items are in season they are often far more available and this can make them a little less expensive. On top of that, you’ll have more choice and the quality will be better too.
All it takes is a little research to find out what’s in season and then you can employ your smart shopping skills to get the best for less.
10. Smoothies and soups
Finally, the beauty of soups and smoothies! Both can be a meal in themselves, as well as being a healthy snack or drink. They’re great to make when you have fresh fruit and/or veg that’s coming to its end.
They’re also perfect for masking the flavour of certain items that aren’t, shall we say, child favourites – broccoli and spinach spring to mind! But once they’re in a smoothie or soup, amongst other more flavoursome ingredients, the kids won’t even know.
Put these 10 tips into action and you’ll be able to save money whilst keeping your family healthy!