Don’t use being broke as an excuse to abandon any attempts at being healthy. Eating well isn’t limited to those who can afford to shop in the pre-made salad aisle of Woolworths. The next time you’re reaching for the multi-pack of two-minute noodles while you wait for payday to come around, grab these ingredients instead. They’re cheap, will last you for a number of meals and, most importantly, will nourish your body:
If you’re looking to get bang for your buck, cabbage is the answer. You get a huge amount of it for a relatively low cost, it’s high in vitamins and minerals (like calcium and vitamin K) and low in kilojoules. It’s also easy to make it taste delicious (simply boil it and throw on some balsamic or sesame0seed oil) and is good for bulking up other dishes to make them more filling (like a soup).
When trying to save money on food, it’s a good idea to eat meals that leave you feeling full because no one deserves to go to bed feeling hungry. Don’t reach for empty kilojoules (like white rice or pasta), though – fill yourself up with whole-wheat alternatives like brown rice. This will make you feel satisfied after your meal, fill you with energy, plus it contains vitamins, minerals and some all-important fibre.
These have a really long shelf life so you can buy them in bulk (which is always a good money-saving move). Sweet potatoes trump white potatoes because they contain more fibre, give you more energy and provide you with loads of vitamin A. A sweet-potato roast is so easy and mashed sweet potato tastes just as delicious as regular mash.
Protein is crucial in any diet, but meat is pricey and so not in your budget right now. Beans are crazy-cheap in comparison and are an excellent source of protein too. They also won’t affect your cholesterol and aren’t as fattening as meats so it’s a no-brainer, really.
Another easy and cheap way to get your protein in is through eggs. Buy them in bulk and they’ll last you the week. Buying lots of one ingredient is risky but it’s less likely you’ll be sick of eating them because they’re so versatile and can be used in many different ways. Eat with whole-wheat bread, dress up your noodles with some poached eggs, or whip up some egg- fried (brown) rice.
A bag of oats can be stretched really far. If you’re feeling flush, make it with milk and butter. But if you’re really trying to save money, then it also works with just water (as long as you add honey and cinnamon, it tastes almost as good). Oats will make you feel full for a long time and are a great source of fibre.