Dear Academy Q&A…
Dear Academy is where we invite you to tell us what is on your mind and ask us any questions related to food, cooking, nutrition, growing your own, smart shopping and sustainability.
Q. Can you eat healthy without spending lots of money?
Peter Wallace, London
HKA: Yes, we believe it is possible to eat healthy without spending a fortune!
The best way to stick within your budget is have a plan. Figure out the kind of ingredients and foods you eat regularly and those things that you just use occasionally. It is not necessary to have the cupboards stocked with everything, just in case. A great way to cut costs is to buy wholesale or in bulk, the items that you tend to use a lot.
Once you have a clear idea of your budget and your priority items, you can prepare your shopping list. If 100% organic is not possible then do what you can. There are lists online that tell you the foods to prioritise as organic.
Avoid the gimmicks, trends and fancy packaging, and be aware that health foods are now another industry and big business. Much of what you can buy you can make yourself, for a fraction of the price.
If you are just transitioning then things can seem confusing and overwhelming at first, as there is so much choice and endless products to choose from. The key is to look at fresh fruits, vegetables and whole foods as making up the basis. Be selective when it comes to animal products, if you eat them, and make them a priority when it comes to quality.
Some items are expensive and shopping organic is still unfortunately out of reach for many people. Taking care of the food you eat and where it comes from does require effort, but the results are well worth it. Quality over quantity is generally a good rule to follow.
Make as much of your food as possible yourself and find time to cook. You will soon discover where any excess spending on food goes when you strip it down to the basics and essentials.