So today I had the chance to present with several 2016s at the London Youth Action Centre on the topic of healthy eating and fitness. During the discussion it was mentioned a number of times that one of the largest challenges perceived along the way of eating healthy is that it costs too much. While the thought that healthier foods are more costly and less convenient is a common obstacle that stymies the efforts of many people who make the effort to eat healthier. Certainly many students can relate to this, operating off narrow budgets, and pressed for time, all the while stressed with studying.
So the thought just ruminated in me for a while this evening (food makes up a very big part of my quality of life) and I’ve (attempted to) created a list of tips that can help provide nourishment in a more affordable manner.
In no particular order:
Plan in advance. Probably the most fundamental tip. Make a shopping list and browse coupons or sales before heading out. Structure around specials events (10% Student discounts Tuesdays at Loblaw’s for example)
Buy local and in season. Particularly this is directed for vegetables and fruits. Saves on the cost of production and transportation. You can always freeze a bunch of these produce for later as well.
Bulk up. Stop at the bulk aisle, it’s cheaper, the items there are usually more storable, and the options there are generally healthier than prepacked or processed items anyhow.
Eat ahead. This could be seen as “Plan in advance 2.0”. The recommendation is to prepare your meals in advance for the next day so you don’t have to buy something at the Timmies or bring your own coffee instead of overpaying at Starbs. It could also apply to making a large amount of foods that can be stocked and stored for a long time and then reheated later (soups, chilis, sauces, etc).
Switch up your protein. So yes, I enjoy eating meat, but it’s often pretty pricey. So there’s always the option to substitute with other sources of protein such as beans, lentils, peas. These sources are tasty, high in fibre, low in fat, and easy on the wallet.
Avoid name brands. Generic store brands are cheaper than their brand-name counterpart, and the quality difference is negligible.
Involve your friends. Food is fun! It’s an experience that should be shared with others. So go ahead, grab that super large pack and split the costs with some friends or roommates. Another option are potluck nights. After all, the origins of the word ‘company’ means ‘sharing of bread’.