For a lot of us, eating healthier feels like a luxury. Frozen microwave meals and fast food may be quick and easy in the moment, but in the long run you’re not giving your body the essential nutrients it needs to function. Not to mention, you can end up spending more money on convenient food than you would by refocusing your diet.
Delicious and healthy food doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. And everyone deserves to eat well! That’s why we compiled five ideas to look into if you want to eat well and save some money while you’re at it.
Look for ways to save on groceries
This seems a lot easier said than done. But if you know what you’re looking for, you can easily cut down on your grocery bill without sacrificing quality of food.
A good place to start can be the brands you buy. Though we all have our go-to staples for things like peanut butter and yogurt, venturing out into other brands when they’re on sale could help you save a few dollars. Even buying house or no-name branded items can see you spending a lot less each time you’re at the grocery store.
Buying in bulk is another great way to reduce your overall grocery cost. Though you’re spending more at the start, if you conserve and pace your meals right, your bulk purchases could last you months. Having a freezer helps with this as well. Freezing anything you don’t immediately need can help reduce food waste.
Coupons are another great friend to anyone looking to spend less. Though you won’t often see the same level of extreme coupon stories in Canada like you do in the US, paying attention to deals and specials can help with savings that add up fast. Some grocery stores will even have their coupons or weekly flyers at the store’s entrance for you to take advantage of.
Find free online cooking classes and recipes
Gone are the days of needing to buy recipe books or take expensive cooking classes to get some new culinary ideas. Now, free online publications and YouTube have made accessing simple and gourmet recipes and cooking instructions much easier.
Not all recipes and cooking instructions are made equally, so always investigate your source before trying something at home. Some helpful websites include Tasty and Food Network Canada and some handy YouTube channels include Epicurious and Bon Appetit. Each of these sites offer high quality and accessible recipes absolutely free.
If you’re especially brave and want to try something a little more off the wall, check out Munchies, Vice’s food channel. Munchies helped launch Toronto-based chef Matty Matheson into stardom, and they share recipes and cooking instructions on their website and YouTube channel exploring a few unconventional ingredients.
Start growing your own vegetables and herbs
Growing your own herbs and vegetables doesn’t cost much at all and is probably easier than you think! Seed packs for most herbs and vegetables cost only a few dollars, and are available at most hardware and home stores. Once the vegetables and herbs spring up, they can be used for plenty of meals.
Just like recipes, there are plenty of free online instructions on how best to grow your own herbs and vegetables. You don’t even need a full garden to start. Lots of edible plants can easily grow in your apartment or on your balcony. Pro tip: start small. Try growing a couple of low-maintenance and quick-growing herbs like mint, chives or basil. This is a fun way to start looking at food differently and find a new passion or hobby at very little cost.
Make the most of leftovers
When you’re going through your new recipes and trying out new ideas, it’s sometimes a good plan to make a little more for leftovers afterwards. Packing up what’s left from the night before can make for great lunches at work or even second dinners later on in the week. Leftovers can also be the basis for new meal ideas. Take a look through some of the recipe websites we suggested to see how your leftovers can become a whole new dinner.
If you made a big roast beef or chicken, keep the leftover meat and bones to simmer for a soup broth or cooking stock. This broth can be used right away for a soup or stored in jars and put in the freezer to be used later on. By doing this, you’re reducing food waste and making the most of what you’re already buying.