5 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

Advanced Clinical Weight Loss Practitioner
Advanced Dietary Supplements Advisor

It’s common these days to hear that eating healthily is expensive. But is it, really?

A Healthy Diet

The truth is, no single food has it all. No one food has all the essential nutrients the body needs on a daily basis. That is why having a healthy, rounded diet is important, because you need a variety of different foods to help you get all of the nutrients that you need.

Achieving a healthy balance of 5 main food groups is the key to healthy eating. These are:

Whole grains - such as oats, rye, and quinoa.
Fruits and vegetables - rich in vitamins, fibre, and minerals.
Protein - this helps repair body tissues. It usually comes with high levels of minerals such as zinc, magnesium, and iron.
Dairy - this helps improve bone and teeth health and is a good source of calcium.
Unsaturated fats - some are essential for brain health, energy, as well as for skin, hair, and joint health.

Does achieving this balance come with an insurmountable cost?

The Real Cost

Truth be told, healthy eating doesn’t have to be drastically expensive. In fact, you can get your fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains, dairy, and fats at very reasonable prices (but it might require some shopping around!).

Being healthy doesn’t need to you need to buy expensive organic or gluten-free produce, both of which come with a hefty price tag. Nor do you need to buy exotic and expensive imported products. If you shop smart, you can obtain delicious, nutritious foods for less than you think!

Unless you have a medical condition (such as coeliac disease) that means you need a speciality diet, you can achieve a healthy eating pattern without having to break the bank.

The Psychology Behind Eating Healthy and Its Cost

One of the reasons why some individuals misconceive healthy foods as being expensive is that because they tend to associate healthy eating with specialised health-food stores and food co-ops. These stores tend to have fancy displays and high prices. In many cases you’re buying a “label”, rather than a vastly superior product.

You’ll also find costly, imported “superfoods” that claim to give health benefits. Whilst many of these can provide a vitamin, phytochemical and mineral boost, you’d be surprised by how much local, cheaper fruit and veg can also provide.

So, before you give up the ghost and buy a bag of oven chips, we’ll give you 5 handy tips to shop smart and get your vital nutrients!

1. Bulk Buy for Value

Bigger packets usually mean that each individual item is cheaper. Take a look at the sell-by or use-by dates and think about whether you can use all of the items by this date. The trade-off between buying more for better value and minimising food waste is crucial.

2. Plan Ahead

One of the reasons we overspend at the store is because we don’t plan ahead. With so many options out there that you can easily put in your cart, it’s so easy to get carried away! So, plan first at home. Make a list of the things that you need to buy. It can also be helpful to have a menu planned for the next three days, week, or even month! This means you only buy the essentials, saving on unnecessary items.

3. Save on Protein

Since you’ll want some protein in your diet, you’ll want to stock up on some protein-rich foods. However, many animal sources of protein can be really expensive! However, there are cheaper, protein-rich foods available, such as quinoa and lentils, that can be used as the base of any dish. You can also try going to a local butcher or store and asking whether they have any cheaper cuts of meat available. You can often buy tougher meats (such as shoulder) relatively cheaply and slow cook them. This also means you can bulk buy for even more value, and make a casserole that can last for days!

4. Frozen Foods

There’s a stigma about buying frozen fruits and veg. But did you know that most frozen veg may actually have a higher vitamin and mineral content than packaged veg? The freezing process locks in these nutrients. This makes frozen fruits and veg a cheaper, nutrient-rich option.

5. Buy in Season

Take advantage of fruits and vegetables that are in season. With this, you will not only buy them at their best, but you will also get them at lower costs! If you have a local fruit and veg market, you may be able to get even better deals there (but bear in mind they often won’t last as long in the fridge!).

In a Nutshell...

When it comes to a healthy diet and its cost, do remember that healthy foods don’t have to be expensive. It all comes down to you and your knowledge on healthy eating. That’s why it’s important that you do your research before you spend on foods!

Advanced Dietary Supplements Advisor
Advanced Clinical Weight Loss Practitioner

What If You Don’t Go To University

It’s August, which means it’s that time of the year again: A Level Results Day.

And whether it’s your friends or your grandma, there’s one question on everyone’s lips…

Are you going to university?

You might be heading back from college to the tune of ‘Did you get the grades?’

Or maybe you never wanted to go to uni in the first place.

Whichever boat you’re in; what happens when your friends are prepping for freshers’ week, but you’re not?

No fear – we’re here to help! The first thing you need to consider is:

Are you sure about your decision?

It’s difficult to aim for your goals if you don’t know what they are, or how to reach them. This means that if you have a particular career in mind, you might want to see a careers advisor or thoroughly research alternative routes into the field you’re passionate about before making a final decision.

But then what? Well, first, it’s important to know…

There are a ton of careers that don’t require a university degree

It’s true! You may have considered some of these options: hairdressing, beauty, personal training.

But those aren’t the only choices – many careers have a variety of pathways into them, from accountancy, to journalism, to nutritional therapy.

Read on to see what you can do instead of going to university:

Take a Gap Year

Fondly known as the ‘gap yah’ among millennials, many teens take a year out to decide what they want to do before continuing their education. This often takes the form of travelling, learning a language, and gaining lots of experience of different cultures – but it can also involve volunteering in a mix of industries to help you make a more informed decision about your future. While this kind of break provides a temporary solution, it’s common for people to head back to school once they complete their gap year, but many teens also open doors to careers they never knew existed!

(Pssst… Looking for the latest work experience opportunities? GoThinkBig is a good place to start).

Find an Apprenticeship

Becoming an apprentice is a great way to get straight into work AND gain a qualification while you earn. From farming, to hospitality, to law, you can choose your apprenticeship from a huge selection of fields and levels, from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) right through to Level 6/7 (degree equivalent). Depending on the level, an apprenticeship can take between 1 and 5 years to complete, but you’ll be learning loads of job-specific skills along the way.

If you’re in the UK, you can click here to find an apprenticeship.

Get an Entry-Level Job

While a large number of entry-level jobs will attract applications from students and recent graduates, many employers offer roles aimed at school-leavers – including training schemes. The obvious benefit of heading straight into work is that you’ll be earning right away.

A great way to find entry-level jobs is to keep an eye on websites that advertise vacancies in specific fields. Mediargh is a great example for media-related careers (publishing, science – whatever).

Become an Entrepreneur

Ever wanted to start your own business? Now might be your chance! This can be an exciting option for those not looking to go to university, but it’s wise to first consider the funding, support, and advice you’ll need along the way. If you’re in the UK, check out these government guidelines for new businesses.

For an extra boost when it comes to marketing your business effectively, check out Google’s Digital Garage for free digital marketing training.

Study for an Online Diploma

A huge barrier for many prospective students is the possibility of getting in over £50,000 of debt for a qualification in an area they’re not entirely sure about, or wasn’t necessary for their preferred career.

Whether you’re looking to boost your entrepreneurial endeavours, or you want to get a feel for a subject before jumping into a degree, an online diploma can be a great way to go! Loads of platforms offer you the chance to study via the web and many don’t require specialist technology, so you can get going with just a laptop and a cup of tea.

If it’s nutrition you’re into, we at The Health Sciences Academy® have a whole host of certifications and short courses for you to explore.

Nutrition not your thing? Not to worry – there are loads of other great providers out there. Check out Coursera and Lynda for an array of online courses on a variety of subjects.

They’re called options for a reason…

It’s important to remember that choosing to not go to university isn’t something that sets your career in a permanent direction. You may try one of the above and decide you want to go to uni after all! Perhaps you want some work experience, maybe you’re looking to boost your know-how before embarking on a degree, or you might even decide to do both an online course and an apprenticeship – the point is: the sky’s the limit.

What you’re doing this September doesn’t necessarily define the rest of your life, but it CAN boost it. Do what’s best for you and remember: it’s quite natural to need a little bit of extra time to work out where you want your career to go.

The Health Sciences Academy® is the UK’s largest online educator in nutrition science.

We are home to a variety of Level 5 online diplomas, in addition to a range of accredited short courses in nutrition topics – ready to help you ignite your career.

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