When you’re running low on money, your diet can be one of the first things to be affected. It’s like suddenly the need to nourish our bodies properly goes out of the window; we know that we can survive on other foods which probably aren’t as good for us, but other bills and necessities come first.
But what does this actually mean for us? What are the implications? And what can be done to revise our eating habits and ensure we’re getting what we need?
Skip Fast Food and Buy in Bulk
It is cheaper to buy in bulk and then batch cook. No matter how thrifty you think you’re being by getting fast-food at a lower price, it’s just not economical. For the amount that you’re getting compared to how much of it is actually good for it, it’s better to buy a few core ingredients for something like a stew, casserole or curry which can be set into portions and frozen for use on another day. Meal prepping is another great way to save money.
Unhealthy food is bought more out of convenience — it’s easier to go and pick up something on your way home or when out and about that is loaded with saturated fats and sugars than getting something like a salad. And, truth be told, we don’t actually want a salad — the smell alone from fast food is enough to get your tastebuds tantalized.
Why is Fast Food Bad?
Weight gain is an obvious side-effect to not eating well, with other symptoms rearing their heads gradually over time. Your skin breaking out can be an indicator that it’s not getting the water it needs to thrive (and no, drinking soda is not a substitute for the real stuff!), and on the other end of the scale, changes to your diet and what that means for cataracts, diabetes and a whole host of other conditions is enough to try and keep these foods at bay. You don’t want to exacerbate anything that you may already have, but the chances of you developing new things that will always need keeping an eye on multiply dramatically.
But I just don’t have the money!
Shopping around for deals is a given. There is no point in trying to be thrifty and frugal with foods that aren’t beneficial to you when this could potentially have a negative effect on your life in the future. Aim for markets — farmers’ markets are great for finding cheap cuts of meat — and team up with a buddy who will steer you away from the restaurants or drive-thrus. Sometimes it can feel like you have been ‘good’ for a while and need to treat yourself, but you’ll soon realize that the amount that you are spending on just one meal could potentially get you three or more meals if you make them at home.
See if there are any friends or family who are growing their own produce — quite often they will have overgrown and be giving various things away to save on waste. As long as you keep focused on finding healthy food for cheaper than you think, you’ll start to turn it into a way of living.
How do you eat healthy when you’re on a tight budget? Let us know in the comments below!