Eating Healthy on a Budget

You can’t deny that your body craves things that taste better. When there are few differences among brands, marketing takes over and you gravitate towards brands that you are more loyal to or ones that caught your eye with sexy packaging or a great price. To get the most bang for your buck when you buy food, it comes down to nutrition, flavour, and price. From low budget foods to fancier options, I will help you navigate a menu or grocery isle to maximize taste and nutrition and spend less.

 

One of the most essential nutrients that you pay for is protein. Protein is the most important nutrient for building and maintaining muscle. Foods that are higher in protein tend to be more expensive than foods that are primarily carbs. Meat is usually more expensive than produce and vegetarian proteins usually have lower amounts of protein, so you have to consume more of it. Fibre is the next most valuable nutrient that is usually in low to moderate amounts because brands don’t want to be associated with bathroom time. It is important for ridding your body of waste, lowering cholesterol, and making your metabolism function more efficiently. You should always try to choose versions of food with the highest protein and highest fibre per serving.

 

Don’t be fooled by a package that appears to have high protein or fibre, but the serving size is larger than a competitor. If the amount of protein and fibre are similar in more than one version or there is little-to-none in all versions, other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals become the deciding factor.

 

Carbs, sugars, fats, cholesterol, and salts are not always the enemy. Cheaper foods might have slightly higher values of these; however; if other nutrients are proportional, they are still okay in moderation. These should be monitored more for weight loss, people with health risks, or those who are doing competitions where those kinds of macros are more relevant. For the average person who stays active or for those building muscle, you do not have to be as concerned about these “fun” nutrients. Once you get the right amount of protein and fibre and get sufficient vitamins and minerals, listen to your body for when it needs the rest. It will tell you when you’ve had enough.

 

If you are on a budget, making your own food is healthier and more affordable than fast food and processed packaged foods. Look out for deals when items are in season, bought in bulk, or near expiration dates. Sometimes products go on sale when they change packaging or when coupon codes expire. These products are otherwise perfectly fine. These can be optimal times to grab high-end items that you might not always come by. Question discounted products, but don’t make up conspiracy theories for why you are saving money. Know how to spot a good deal on healthy products. Read labels and be an informed consumer.