Eating

How to eat well on a budget

How to eat well on a budget

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It’s really not all that difficult to eat healthily within budget.

It’s really not all that difficult to eat healthily within budget.

How to eat well on a budget
Well, well, well. If it isn’t the most anticipated January in the history of Januaries.  Finally, 2021 is here and, if you’ve been keeping an eye on the self-help infographics, you’d know that we are no longer participating in the whole New Year’s resolution thing. No more rigid diets that last until the 21st, no more shame associated with food or eating.

This year we’re focusing on eating food that makes us feel good inside and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It’s really not all that difficult to eat healthily within budget. Here are just a few guidelines from me to you to get you through!

Buy actual food

You’ve probably heard the statement: “Eat foods that your great grandmother would recognise as food.” Or something along those lines. I cannot stress the importance of this. If you’re going to be strict about anything this month, let it be this. Keep the food in your trolley as fresh and unmanufactured as possible, or in other words, keep it predominantly plant based. So, fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains. Also, this rule will help you steer clear of anything unnecessarily snacky and unhealthy (and expensive). Snacks are pricey! The good ones, at least.

Make things in batches

This one seems obvious, but it isn’t to everyone. Especially those who live alone and don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen to begin with. Get some freezer bags and freezer-friendly containers and make an extra big pot of bolognese or an easy vegetable soup and freeze in batches. Or try my amazing falafel recipe (which you’ll find at the end of the article) which can be prepared in bulk and fried straight from frozen. Curries also freeze really well and are a great bail-out during that dreadful final stretch before pay day.

Eat less meat

I know everyone hates to hear it, but meat doesn’t always have to be the star of the show. There are so many great alternatives that are friendlier to your budget and kinder to the planet. Tinned fish (pilchards, tuna, salmon) is not only delicious, but great for you and an amazing source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids, which are vital for your brain’s functions. Eggs are also amazing and there are so many delicious main dishes to be made with eggs: think a frittata full of dark leafy greens, or a Dutch baby (a kind of fluffy, savoury pancake), even homemade pasta! If you must have meat, ensure that you’re getting the best quality for your hard-earned bucks.

Feeling hungry? Have a glass of water first

This is also a popular one, but I’m sharing it because it works! This is not even a dieting hack, it’s a saving food hack. Lol. YOU CAME HERE FOR ADVICE! Whenever you feel hungry, start with a glass of water. If you still feel hungry, then eat something.

Get creative

Avoid constantly shopping by having a look at what you have in your pantry and getting creative with the ingredients you have at your disposal. Before going on a veggie run, have a look at the scraps in the fridge. Halved onions, forgotten garlic cloves, carrot halves, celery stubs. This is the beginning of a great dish! Organise your refrigerator and make sure whatever can be used is used and not thrown away.

Little bits of cheese can be combined into a sauce for pasta, veggies can be chopped into a stew, overripe tomatoes can be used to make a delicious, sweet relish.

Did someone say POTLUCK?

Sure, we’re operating under strict lockdown regulations right now, but it won’t be forever! Keep this one for when we can all hang out again. Nothing saves money like a good bring-and-share dinner party. It’s sneaky and underhanded and so much fun! Everyone brings a dish and there is always so much food!

Make your own cordials and juices at home

Drinking juice with every meal is a common habit – and also a very expensive one. My totally unsolicited advice would be to try and replace your usual glass of juice with a glass of water – it’s free! Or if you’re feeling up to it, make some freshly squeezed lemonade at home or if you’re fancier than the rest of us, press your vegetables and fruit to make delicious and nutrient-packed juices.

Incorporate more grains in your diet

Bulk up your stews and turn side salads into main meals using things like buckwheat and barley, or dried beans. They not only give more mileage to your meals, but they also give such great texture and add enormous food value. Think chilli con carne with red kidney beans, salsa and a dollop of fresh guacamole.

Eat with the seasons, people!

It might not mean a lot to you on paper but eating with the seasons can save you literal hundreds of kroners. Take for example the cost of strawberries, their price varies depending on season, and you will have a hard time finding Norwegian strawberries these days. A simple internet search can help you find out what fresh produce is currently in season and keep you from overspending. Also, buying in-season fruit and vegetables (when possible) helps to keep local farmers in business. Yay!

Don’t be afraid of frozen

Be open to the prospect of buying frozen food. With a bit of creativity it isn’t bad. Frozen sweetcorn is great for chilli, mielie and coriander fritters. Frozen peas are good stirred into fried rice just before serving. The chunky mixed veg varieties are highly nutritious and are great for throwing into a curry.

These hacks aren’t life-changing, you may be doing some of them already. If so, bravo! If not, it’s never too late to start incorporating some of these into your day-to-day eating and shopping habits. Everyday is an opportunity to start over and learn from the previous day!

Falafel Khanya's Way

Ingredients

2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in plenty of water for 24 hours

30g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 T garum masala

Salt

1/4 cup tahini

Vegetable oil, for frying

Drain the chickpeas and place in a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blitz until smooth but still textured. You may need to do this in batches. Roll into balls. Heat the oil to a medium heat and fry the falafel balls until golden brown and cooked through. Serve hot with your choice of dips, in a sandwich, a salad, or shape the mixture into patties for delicious burgers!

Well, well, well. If it isn’t the most anticipated January in the history of Januaries.  Finally, 2021 is here and, if you’ve been keeping an eye on the self-help infographics, you’d know that we are no longer participating in the whole New Year’s resolution thing. No more rigid diets that last until the 21st, no more shame associated with food or eating.

This year we’re focusing on eating food that makes us feel good inside and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It’s really not all that difficult to eat healthily within budget. Here are just a few guidelines from me to you to get you through!

Buy actual food

You’ve probably heard the statement: “Eat foods that your great grandmother would recognise as food.” Or something along those lines. I cannot stress the importance of this. If you’re going to be strict about anything this month, let it be this. Keep the food in your trolley as fresh and unmanufactured as possible, or in other words, keep it predominantly plant based. So, fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains. Also, this rule will help you steer clear of anything unnecessarily snacky and unhealthy (and expensive). Snacks are pricey! The good ones, at least.

Make things in batches

This one seems obvious, but it isn’t to everyone. Especially those who live alone and don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen to begin with. Get some freezer bags and freezer-friendly containers and make an extra big pot of bolognese or an easy vegetable soup and freeze in batches. Or try my amazing falafel recipe (which you’ll find at the end of the article) which can be prepared in bulk and fried straight from frozen. Curries also freeze really well and are a great bail-out during that dreadful final stretch before pay day.

Eat less meat

I know everyone hates to hear it, but meat doesn’t always have to be the star of the show. There are so many great alternatives that are friendlier to your budget and kinder to the planet. Tinned fish (pilchards, tuna, salmon) is not only delicious, but great for you and an amazing source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids, which are vital for your brain’s functions. Eggs are also amazing and there are so many delicious main dishes to be made with eggs: think a frittata full of dark leafy greens, or a Dutch baby (a kind of fluffy, savoury pancake), even homemade pasta! If you must have meat, ensure that you’re getting the best quality for your hard-earned bucks.

Feeling hungry? Have a glass of water first

This is also a popular one, but I’m sharing it because it works! This is not even a dieting hack, it’s a saving food hack. Lol. YOU CAME HERE FOR ADVICE! Whenever you feel hungry, start with a glass of water. If you still feel hungry, then eat something.

Get creative

Avoid constantly shopping by having a look at what you have in your pantry and getting creative with the ingredients you have at your disposal. Before going on a veggie run, have a look at the scraps in the fridge. Halved onions, forgotten garlic cloves, carrot halves, celery stubs. This is the beginning of a great dish! Organise your refrigerator and make sure whatever can be used is used and not thrown away.

Little bits of cheese can be combined into a sauce for pasta, veggies can be chopped into a stew, overripe tomatoes can be used to make a delicious, sweet relish.

Did someone say POTLUCK?

Sure, we’re operating under strict lockdown regulations right now, but it won’t be forever! Keep this one for when we can all hang out again. Nothing saves money like a good bring-and-share dinner party. It’s sneaky and underhanded and so much fun! Everyone brings a dish and there is always so much food!

Make your own cordials and juices at home

Drinking juice with every meal is a common habit – and also a very expensive one. My totally unsolicited advice would be to try and replace your usual glass of juice with a glass of water – it’s free! Or if you’re feeling up to it, make some freshly squeezed lemonade at home or if you’re fancier than the rest of us, press your vegetables and fruit to make delicious and nutrient-packed juices.

Incorporate more grains in your diet

Bulk up your stews and turn side salads into main meals using things like buckwheat and barley, or dried beans. They not only give more mileage to your meals, but they also give such great texture and add enormous food value. Think chilli con carne with red kidney beans, salsa and a dollop of fresh guacamole.

Eat with the seasons, people!

It might not mean a lot to you on paper but eating with the seasons can save you literal hundreds of kroners. Take for example the cost of strawberries, their price varies depending on season, and you will have a hard time finding Norwegian strawberries these days. A simple internet search can help you find out what fresh produce is currently in season and keep you from overspending. Also, buying in-season fruit and vegetables (when possible) helps to keep local farmers in business. Yay!

Don’t be afraid of frozen

Be open to the prospect of buying frozen food. With a bit of creativity it isn’t bad. Frozen sweetcorn is great for chilli, mielie and coriander fritters. Frozen peas are good stirred into fried rice just before serving. The chunky mixed veg varieties are highly nutritious and are great for throwing into a curry.

These hacks aren’t life-changing, you may be doing some of them already. If so, bravo! If not, it’s never too late to start incorporating some of these into your day-to-day eating and shopping habits. Everyday is an opportunity to start over and learn from the previous day!

Falafel Khanya's Way

Ingredients

2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in plenty of water for 24 hours

30g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 T garum masala

Salt

1/4 cup tahini

Vegetable oil, for frying

Drain the chickpeas and place in a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blitz until smooth but still textured. You may need to do this in batches. Roll into balls. Heat the oil to a medium heat and fry the falafel balls until golden brown and cooked through. Serve hot with your choice of dips, in a sandwich, a salad, or shape the mixture into patties for delicious burgers!

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