Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Eating Clean on a Budget

For most of us, one of the reasons to not eat cleaner and better is that it's expensive. Quinoa is more expensive than brown rice and most healthy recipes we find have ingredients that are usually hard to find and/or need to be purchased at a health food store or organic goods store which do not come cheap. Since healthy restaurants cost more, people tend to gravitate to convenience store food or fast food or just hotdog and rice for baon (are you still eating hotdog? Please remove it from your life now).

Let our budgets and increasing taxes not be an excuse to eat healthy, because we can fuel our bodies with good, whole, real, unprocessed food that's pretty and flavorful without taking a dent in our budget.

Get good nutrition by eating whole, real food without overspending. 

Eat fruits and veggies that are in season

Not only do fruits in season are a lot cheaper, they are at the peak of flavor and nutritional value. Enjoy your guacamole and avocado toast in the summer. Mangoes are available all year round but come summer enjoy making your mango passionfruit sorbets and coconut chia pudding and mangoes. Source your strawberries also locally which cost cheaper than the imported ones or opt for frozen berries instead. In fact, frozen blueberries are picked at the peak of ripeness and flash-frozen so there's very little time for the nutrients to deteriorate (source: dailyburn.com)

Don't be afraid of the house brands

Look for the house brands in the supermarkets, which are much cheaper than the branded versions. It's the same too. I buy house brands of spices, eggs, and condiments. They have no difference from the branded ones, save for the lower price tag.

Watch out for sales

Whenever you go to the grocery, sometimes, certain items are on sale. Take advantage when there's a price markdown of your favorite superfood. I was able to get almond milk for a fraction of a price than what I usually pay for one time and I was able to save about 200 pesos when chia seeds went on sale at S&R.

Bring your own meals

Cooking your own meals and assembling your own salads come out much cheaper than buying your own health food. You are also sure that there are no additives or extenders in what you're eating. Be economical and use the leftover mushroom stalks, carrot, and other vegetables to make vegetable stock or chicken stock from scratch rather than relying on bouillon cubes and powders, which can have a lot of chemicals.

Not everything has to be organic

In the ideal world, we would be eating 100% organic diet - organic eggs, vegetables, fruits, etc. However, we all know that that is expensive. There are produce and food products which need not be organic and are just as healthy. Fruits with a thick peel like grapefruit, avocado,  oranges, melons, watermelon, and eggplant have very little pesticide residue are okay to be bought conventionally. The same goes for maple syrup. It's safer to go organic for salad greens or green leafy vegetables because pesticide residue sticks on them more.

Have water (or a smoothie) with you

Are you hungry in the mall? Maybe you want to go grab some fries or maybe stop by for some fro-yo. While it's okay to have a few snacks during the day, sometimes, we find ourselves mindlessly snacking as the hours go by. We may actually be just thirsty. Keep some water with you. This will also prevent you from buying sweet, sugary drinks.

Source local cookbooks

Most of my favorite go-to recipes are found in local cookbooks. The ingredients are easier to source locally and are in most leading supermarkets. There are only a handful of ingredients that I need to buy in specialty stores. Check the local cookbook section at your bookstore and look for healthy recipes.

Plan your meals and do your grocery shopping when you're full

Sicking to a list will prevent you from overspending or buying ingredients that you won't be able to cook for a while. Doing grocery shopping hungry sometimes makes you want to buy more. Planning your shopping would prevent you from throwing away food that has gone bad that has been sitting in your fridge until it spoil due to poor planning.

Happy Clean Eating!

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