Last year, I started my adventure with healthy eating. After figuring out that some of my symptoms were caused by gluten and lactose intolerance, I had to redefine most of my favourite habits – from pizza to ice-cream.
Eating gluten- and lactose-free can be challenging for many reasons. I had to master new cooking skills, learn to read labels and to stay vigilant at all times, especially in restaurants, where the staff is not always well-prepared or sufficiently informed.
Last but not least, my new healthy lifestyle has had a significant impact on my monthly budget. Lets face it, buying healthier and preferably organic ingredients – not to mention the power foods and supplements – costs more than bread and cheese.
So this year, I’ve committed to making my healthy habits more budget-friendly. These 10 tips help me stay on track and and reach my financial goals, while still enjoying my favourite foods and dishes.
- Set a weekly budget. After tracking my spending for a few months, I understood how much I need in order to support my lifestyle and am learning to deal with the amount I’ve decided upon. Doing so on a weekly basis makes me more accountable and accurate.
- Plan and prep. Whether it’s veggies for the week or tomorrow’s breakfast, having a bunch of quick, easy and available options is crucial for making healthy, everyday choices. Also, I like spending my Sundays preparing snacks and dinners for the week ahead.
- Reduce waste. I freeze food if I know I won’t use it in time and periodically go through my freezer and pantry to use the leftovers. Storing food in small, ready-to-use portions really helps to save time, too.
- Look for sales. Instead of shopping for specific ingredients, I grab whatever fruit or veggies on sale. So, instead of apples, I might buy pears, or spinach instead of kale. This also forces me to get creative and try new, different flavours.
- Shop online. Some online retailers offer healthy foods much cheaper and, by registering, you get access to even more special deals. From probiotics to matcha tea, most of my super foods are sourced online, at a much better price.
- Limit plastic consumption. I always make sure to carry a reusable canvas bag to the supermarket and keep one in my handbag – just in case. For more tips on making your life plastic-free, check this great article by Vilda Magazine.
- Stay organised. I love a clean fridge and a pretty pantry. Before, I would buy the same ingredient twice or more, not able to find it when I actually needed it. Knowing exactly what I have and where really helps in the long run.
- Watch the portions. While buying in bulk is great for spices, baking supplies and other dry goods, cooking for one can be tricky. I’ve learned to buy less more often, making sure that I keep the amount of food in my fridge under control.
- Shop with a list. This is perhaps the easiest and most effective way to stay on track with whatever budget you have available. Knowing exactly what you need and avoiding potentially tempting aisles means I stay in control and on track.
- Treat yourself. While my everyday diet is pretty simple and mostly plant-based, I like to indulge in something a little special every know and then. Usually it’s fish and fresh berries bought at the local market – or whatever else I fancy that day.