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Eating Healthy: Is It Really That Expensive?

I see and hear a lot of talk about how eating healthy is expensive. Personally, I’ve always thought that eating healthy is a lot cheaper than eating takeout or out at restaurants all the time. I know a few people who do this and then moan that they are broke and have gained weight. You could quite easily put a meal together at home for half the cost that you would pay at a restaurant and you would also know what was going into your meal, which means you will have better success for the long term if you are trying to lose weight.

I often see people eat out and choose the healthy option – e.g. Baked Potato with grilled chicken and salad – and while that usually would be a healthy option you don’t know if that chicken has been drowned in oils and salt before being cooked.  I actually know a place around here that soaks their potatoes in oil overnight before cooking them. Which is where I make my point of how eating at home is far more healthy than eating out; also, if your excuse is that you eat out for social reasons then there’s nothing wrong with inviting a group of friends around to your home for a nice meal; each person or couple could bring their own course and you could have a pleasant evening in good company for more than half the cost. It’s the little things that can add up. Although, there is nothing wrong with eating out, every now and again.

I also see and hear people talking about how they don’t know what to buy when they visit a supermarket and they need help with putting a meal plan together, in order to eat healthily. I have actually been asked numerous times to write down what I eat for someone else to follow, although it isn’t quite as easy, as that. I was flattered.

So with all that in mind I thought I would try and cover both of these topics in today’s blog post as best, as I can.

Firstly, when it comes to my food shopping I try to not spend a small fortune. I buy mostly own brand foods because they are usually cheaper and they also have better ingredients than most popular brands and I also try to steer clear of anything that’s not going to be useful to me.  I wouldn’t call myself ‘tight’, but I would say I am careful when it comes to money and I would prefer to spend what I save on certain food items, on something that will last me longer than a week.

The Three Main Food Groups:

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are tricky, as there is so much debate over whether they actually prevent weight loss or make you fat,  but from my experience they can definitely be eaten and enjoyed as part of a healthy and balanced diet, even when trying to lose weight; as they are good for your heart and digestive system. The carbs I tend to use daily are; wholemeal bread, rolled porridge oats and lately I’ve started incorporating lentils into my diet too, but don’t forget that fruit and vegetables are considered carbohydrates and they should always be the base to all of your meals since they are full of fibre, nutrients and antioxidants that will keep you and your immune system nice and strong. So make sure you fill up on these. Bread and oats can be bought for around £1 each and bread can obviously be frozen.

Protein 

As I am a pescatarian I find it really difficult to eat enough protein, as fish, both fresh and frozen is fairly expensive, but I’m also not that into fish so when I do have it, it ends up going to waste. Instead, I eat a lot of Quorn products – which are soy free – and made from a mycoprotein, plus supermarkets usually have some nice deals on these products too. Other foods that contain moderate amounts of protein are carbohydrates, dairy, eggs, fruit and vegetables and don’t be afraid to eat tinned fish either: Tuna, salmon, sardines. If I am going to use a tin of food then I make sure it is BPA-free and with fish, I also make sure the fish were caught in a dolphin-friendly way.

Fats 

Fat’s such as; olive oil, coconut oil, eggs, and grass-fed butter are all healthy fats and are good for your heart and metabolism and they can also help keep you fuller for longer, but when trying to lose weight it is recommended to keep them moderately low, just don’t cut them out completely.

I don’t have to buy fat’s very often as I eat them in moderation, a bottle of olive oil can last me from anywhere up to 6 months or longer; I have had my jar of coconut oil for over a year and as for butter, I buy it maybe once a month and it is always full-fat, since margarine is not good for you and has no health benefits unlike the oils I have listed. Nuts have a lot of healthy fats and protein and are great for snacking on, but should be eaten with caution if you’re trying to lose weight, as they are a very calorie rich food because of the fat (0.9 calories per g) Nut butters are also considered as healthy fats, but should also be eaten in moderation like nuts. And if you can afford fresh fish then oily fish such as; salmon and sardines are packed with healthy fats and omega 3s, which are needed to obtain healthy skin, hair, and nails.

The foods you buy can be as expensive or inexpensive as you chose, all you have to do is look around the stores to find the cheapest products and deals  and don’t forget that supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi are great for selling cheaper fruit and vegetables too, it’s not always about the major supermarkets. Also if you have a smartphone then you can download the mysupermarket app and compare prices before you go shopping. And don’t forget you can always grow your own food, which is what I’ll be starting to do within the next week because it’s fun and therapeutic, but also if you’re strapped for cash then it can help you out too. I’ll definitely be blogging about it. So stay tuned.

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I’d also just like to say that I am in no way a nutritionist or dietitian, I have just based the above on my own experiences and knowledge from my own health and weight loss journey. All opinions are my own and I am also not in any type of affiliates program with any of the brands or supermarkets in which I have mentioned.

If you have any questions then please comment below and I will try and help you as best, as I can.

The Hungry Welsh Girl.

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