Every day millions of Nigerian families face a choice between eating well and eating on a budget. However, contrary to a popular belief, you can still eat healthy without wasting lots of money on food every month. With our 7 helpful tips your family will be able to afford a healthy and balanced menu that won’t break the bank while being nutritional and substantial.
1. Skip the junk food
If you look over your monthly food budget, you’ll be surprised by how much of it is taken by junk food. We all eat different types of junk food: some of us can’t live without sweet soda drinks, others love deep-fried stuff, while many people buy potato chips and other snacks every day.
Without wasting money on junk food your family will be able to afford much healthier and more nutritional foods. Just imagine how much more vegetables, fruits, protein, dairy, and healthy snacks your household will be able to afford if you all cut your consumption of junk food. Remember: if you want to save money without sacrificing the quality of the food, eliminating junk food from your menu should be the first thing you do.
2. Keep a grocery list
If you do the majority of your food shopping in large supermarkets and grocery shops, it’s very easy to get distracted while shopping if you don’t have a list to stick to. When aisles of food are filled with beautifully designed, attractive packages of food, you can forget what you came for and buy unhealthy and expensive food instead.
To avoid wasting money on useless food products, never go food shopping without a list. You don’t always have to bring a piece of paper and a pencil with you – nowadays there are so many great shopping apps like Out of Milk and Our Groceries that all you have to do is launch an app, fill in the products you want to buy, and then just cross out the ones you already bought.
3. Buy and cook in bulk
Cooking individual portions or a separate dish for every breakfast, lunch, and dinner, can not only be exhausting, but also a waste of your time and money. Buying products in bulk can save you a lot of cash: purchase grains, flour, oil, frozen produce, canned food, and everything with long shelf life, and store them at home to avoid going food shopping every other day.
Cooking large portions of the food is another money-saving trick. Prepare a large batch of soup, stew, casserole, or other dish, and simply refrigerate or even freeze the leftovers in a freezer – they will make a great lunch or dinner if you use a microwave oven to reheat them.
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4. Opt for cheaper protein
It’s no secret that while carbohydrates and fats are very important for our health, digestive system and energy, it’s protein that is responsible for building muscle, regenerating the body and making you feel great, which is why any meal isn’t complete without a good serving of protein. However, proteins can cost quite a lot.
There are several solutions to this problem. First, you can go from more expensive cuts of meat to cheaper ones, and from expensive fish to affordable poultry. Second, you can try vegetable sources of protein. Some vegetables, like beans, corn, potatoes, mushrooms, and broccoli, are a great source of protein, taste wonderful, and don’t cost a fortune.
5. Make food look better
When money is tight and you’re forced to buy cheaper groceries, the look of the food you prepare can slightly change, which may seem unappealing to the picky eaters in your family, especially children. It’s important to spice up your table from time to time.
One of the easiest things you can do to make your meals look more appealing is add color to the plates. For example, if you’re serving mashed potatoes with a piece of chicken, you can improve the plating by adding a few pieces of colorful vegetables and greens. Additionally, don’t forget about table setting, which can make a great difference in the way your food looks.
6. Try homemade desserts
Life without sweet things would not be fun at all, which is why we often indulge in sweet treats. However, store-bought and restaurant-made sweats can cost quite a lot and they’re not always good for your health. Many families begin wondering: is there an alternative to these treats?
Luckily for you, modern cuisines offer lots of alternatives to store-bought treats that will help you eat healthy and save money. For example, you can try eating more fruit – here are 5 best banana recipes for you. Plus, homemade ice cream, cookies, pies, cakes, and even sweets and candy not only tastes wonderful, but also helps you stop wasting money on sweet food.
7. Explore new cuisines
Nigerian cuisine is largely based on meat and other expensive proteins, which can eat up a lot of your food budget. If you want to cook substantial meals for your family without having to overpay for food, try exploring world’s famous cuisines. For instance, Indian cuisine is famous for being nutritional and good for your body while being based mostly on vegetables and dairy products, which cost a lot less than meat and poultry.