Written by Needa
Msc Nutrition and Behaviour
Trying to eat healthily can be overwhelming, given the ever-increasing amount of information out there. Healthy eating has been eclipsed by trends. There is always a new diet that can fit you in that dress faster or a newly discovered “superfood” that can transform your brain or a “detox tea” that will give you the body of your dreams in a week. And often times, it can be expensive to keep up with these trends. But, if you ask the professionals in the field (aka nutritionists and dietitians), healthy eating is simple and can be easily accomplished on a tight budget (*sheds tears of joy*). Here are my top-secret insider tips to eat like a nutritionist while on a budget:
- Say yes to frozen: No, I don’t mean ice cream. Frozen fruits and veggies may be as healthy or even healthier than fresh varieties because they are picked and packaged at the perfect time, thus preserving nutrients. Add them to soups, rice, smoothies, oatmeal or blitz them as sorbet. Frozen fruits and veggies are usually half the price of fresh, with better nutrient content- win, win!
- Can do canned: Canned foods, if chosen wisely, can be added to a healthy diet for a fraction of the prize. Read your food labels and choose options with low or no added sugar or salt. Beans, chickpeas, lentils, tomatoes, mushrooms- bring out your inner chef. Beans and chickpeas are a great source of protein. Fun fact: ½ can of chickpeas has more protein than a boiled egg.
- Snack smart: Change your regular snacks to dark chocolate and some air popped popcorn and you can keep your hunger at bay while earning some nutrients. Nuts are healthy snacks too, but keep portions to a handful. If you feel fancy, try a bit of kefir (fermented yogurt with good bacteria) with frozen berries for a delicious drink.
- Pile on some pasta: Everyone loves pasta. To make it healthy, try the wholegrain variety, which costs the same as white pasta, but gives you more fibre and nutrients. Don’t like the taste of wholegrain? Mix both up and do half-half!
- Satisfying salads: Turn boring salads into full on meals. Simply add some protein to your veggies. Some grilled chicken or canned beans or lentils are good options that will keep you fuller for longer.
- Health-ify ramen: Instant noodles are a staple in every student’s diet. Yes, it is possible to make ramen healthy (*gasp*). Throw out the spice sachet (it is high in sodium). Add in two types of veggies (try frozen broccoli with some canned peas), some protein and spice it up with some herbs and add them to your noodles- now you are a master chef who just elevated ramen.
- Make it in the microwave: Any form of cooking will make vegetables lose nutrients. To decrease the loss, food should be cooked for shorter time and in less liquid. And who can do that? The microwave! Easy, quick, healthy. Check, check, check.
Eating healthy is simple and easy- let’s keep it that way.