The cost of living is rising and a question I often get asked as an Intuitive Eating Coach is can you save money on food and eat intuitively? Well, yes of course you can. In this post I explain that having no restrictions around food, that is intuitive eating, allows you to eat food that is more cost effective. Let me explain.
Table of Contents
- What is intuitive eating
- How to save money on food
- Cook from scratch more
- Try something different
What is intuitive eating
If you haven’t heard about intuitive eating you can learn about it in 3 easy steps here or click on the image below to complete my FREE 3 part video training.
Intuitive eating is basically learning how to eat all over again like our bodies were instinctively designed to. To eat when we were hungry, to stop when we were full, to get adequate physical activity to use up the energy consumed by calorie rich food.
The diet industry, manufactured foods and a sedentary lifestyle have all contributed to people becoming more obese and wanting to go ‘on a diet’ to resolve their weight issue. Eating what nature provides for us during particular seasons is just one way of saving money on food. Let’s find out more.
How to save money on food
Meal planning is a great way to save money and know exactly what you’re eating each day. I know things come up, especially with children, and your meal plan can go out the window but having it in place is a great starting point.
It will also help you create your shopping list so you will avoid wasting that food you’ve already bought.
Eat natural foods
Once manufacturers started taking out the ‘bad fats’ from foods and replacing it with synthetic or processed ingredients or more sugar to make it taste nice, we don’t know what we’re actually eating half the time.
If all of these light, no fat, low fat, low sugar, low GI, fat free foods were designed to help us keep slim, why are there so many people overweight?
They are often higher in price to the more natural counterparts. Think of yoghurt, cheese, bread, milk etc. All of the basics that should be readily available and at a reasonable price.
Eating foods in their most natural state and least tampered with by the manufacturer will often be more cheap.
Grow your own food
It might be higher in price to set up initially, but setting up a home garden or keeping chickens for eggs, for example, is a great way to reduce the cost of living and the high price of food.
Start off small by growing fruit or vegetables that you eat a lot of so you know it won’t go to waste. Even starting a small herb garden is a great trial run through and relatively low cost to set up. Fresh herbs added to meals adds so much natural flavor. Excess herbs can be frozen or used in a pesto so none are wasted.
Find out what grows best in your climate at certain times of the year and research when to plant seeds or seedlings. You could be eating your own crop of tomatoes or zucchini next summer.
Buy foods in season
When you start buying foods that are out of season, you have to expect to pay a higher price. They need to be imported from another country which adds to the cost.
Research your local area’s seasonal foods and buy them fresh from the supermarket or green grocer. If you are lucky enough to find a lot on special, can or freeze them for use later on. Tomatoes can be made into passata sauce, other vegetables can be pickled or fruits pureed and frozen.
Buy canned or frozen foods
You might be mistaken that canned or frozen foods are less in quality but that couldn’t be more from the truth.
Foods that are frozen or canned are done so at their freshest, that is usually as soon as they are picked. They will sometimes be cheaper than fresh and the best part is they will keep in your pantry or freezer for a lot longer than fresh will in the fridge.
Go meat free
Although lean meat contains protein and amino acids the body needs, it can be very expensive. Besides beef and chicken, foods that contain complete protein include fish, eggs, dairy, soy, quinoa and buckwheat.
Tofu is an excellent source of protein and is a wonder product for women. Check out the range of tofu recipes I have here.
Only if you’re going to use them and have the room available to store the products, buying bulk can save you money on food. If you’re wanting to cook more from scratch, buying flours, rice, pasta, whole grains, spices etc will be much cheaper in bulk.
Stick to your budget
Even though you have the freedom to eat what you want, remember to stick to your budget. If this means stocking up the freezer on chicken this week and not buying your family’s favourite ice cream bars but a cheaper alternative, so be it.
The restrictions around personal finances are there so other bills can be paid and your financial obligations met. When you don’t follow a diet, when you allow yourself to eat what you like when you’re hungry you’ll find there’ll be plenty of foods to satisfy you in your house.
Find new recipes
If you can find a few new recipes that become your favourites, you’ll know how to cook them without even thinking about it. It’s a great idea to find a recipe that isn’t too restrictive with the ingredients that can be changed easily enough based on what you have on hand.
For example, if it’s an Asian Chicken & Vegetable stir fry, change it up to lean turkey, beef or tofu. Or a banana bread recipe that can be adapted to use the fruit you have in abundance like peach or pear. You can only try to see how it goes. Google is your best friend when it comes to finding recipes.
All foods are on the menu
Remember, all foods are ‘on the menu’ that is, nothing should be restricted. If you like popcorn, buy the popping kernels so you can make popcorn whenever you feel like it. If you like cookies, buy a packet and savor every mouthful when you’re eating it. Remember you don’t have to eat the whole packet in one sitting because they will be there whenever you feel like one.
Check labels for better nutrition for less
If you are worried about getting the biggest nutritional bang for your buck, read the nutritional label carefully on foods. I have an excellent guide that makes sense of all the information on a nutritional label. You can check it out here.
Add protein at every meal to keep full
You’ll eat less and therefore buy less if you can include a protein option every time you eat. This could be an egg at breakfast, yoghurt or cheese at snack time, fish for lunch or quinoa as a side for dinner. Nuts are also a great snack and can be bought cheaper in bulk and kept in the freezer to avoid spoiling.
Cook from scratch more
Eating out can really put stress on home finances and also, you don’t have control over the nutritional value of the food you’re eating. Restaurants use short cuts, a lot of salt to flavor food and who knows how fresh it really is.
Find recipes for your favourite eating out meals and have a go at recreating them at home. You’re not missing out on anything and you have total control over the ingredients.
Try something different
Some of the most poor countries in the world have the most delicious food. The ingredients are cheap and fresh and taste delicious. Cuisines like Asian, Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern and Northern African (Moroccan) are just some that rely on very basic ingredients and a range of fresh herbs and spices served with a low cost carbohydrate like rice or pasta.
Eating well doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You don’t need to sit down to a meal of the finest caviar or lobster every night. Learning to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full is one of the fundamentals of intuitive eating. It doesn’t matter what you eat but try to stick to fresh, in season ingredients that don’t cost a lot and you’ll also be practicing gentle nutrition without even thinking about it.
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