Eat whole foods
Eating whole foods tends to be better for you. As a general rule, the more ingredients, the more processed the food, which usually means more fat, salt and sugar. Whole grains, nuts, fresh fruit, vegetables and lean meats have very few ingredients and higher nutritional value. While these choices can seem expensive, they are almost always cheaper per serving than processed alternatives like candy bars, cakes, potato chips, processed meats and sodas. So, try swapping white bread for wholegrain; cereals (which are high in sugar) for low-fat yogurt and nuts; candy bars, cakes, cookies and chips for a portion of fresh fruit or low-salt popcorn; processed meats for lean fresh meat; and sugary drinks for water. By making these simple switches, you’ll be surprised at how much you save over time.
Plan your meals ahead of time
Looking at the week ahead and planning meals in advance can also help you manage your spending. This can minimise wastage as it prevents you from buying too much and having to throw away unused and expired food. While frozen and canned fruits and vegetables often get a bad rap for being less healthy than fresh fruits and vegetables, some – such as berries, tomatoes, peas and spinach – can be more convenient, budget-friendly, and equally nutritious alternatives to fresh produce. Make sure to check the label for lower salt and sugar options
Avoid impulse shopping
Try to avoid impulse shopping or shopping on an empty stomach, which can lead to unnecessary spending. Sticking to a list can help you stay focused and keep you away from packaged and processed treats. Supermarkets often position unhealthier snack foods and drinks in your eye-line and frequently have them on special offer, which can be very tempting if you are shopping while hungry.
Home cooking over eating out
Home cooking and packed lunches are much more wallet-friendly than eating out regularly. If the average lunch spend in Bermuda is $15 and you buy lunches 5 days per week, then your annual spend will be close to $4,000. Try making an extra portion at dinner to reheat at work or toss leftovers together in a salad with a simple, low sugar vinaigrette.
Home-cooked meals also tend to be healthier because you have more control over portion size and of how much sugar, salt and fat you use. People who prepare meals at home tend to consume fewer calories than those who cook less and also have a greater diversity and intake of healthier foods.
Eat well and save money
The bottom line on healthy eating is that if you shop sensibly, you can save money and still enjoy nutritious, high-quality meals and snacks that are lower in fat, salt and sugar. Plus, if you exercise for two hours a week and make healthy lifestyle choices – such as not smoking and maintaining a low alcohol intake – you can reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases which can be expensive to manage in the long term.