Small Changes, Big Difference: Simple Steps to Better Nutrition
Nutrition plays an important role in our day-today health and our mental wellbeing. Making the smallest of changes in our daily eating habits can have a huge impact on our wellbeing.
Here we look at some simple and budget-friendly ways to improve nutrition, even when we’re trying to be cost-effective.
✅ Plan meals ahead
✅ Shop smart
✅ Batch cook food
✅ Buy frozen fruit & vegetables
✅ Cook at home
✅ Get creative with leftovers
✅ Grow your own produce
✅ Prioritise nutrient-dense foods
✅ Understand your body’s needs.
Plan your meals
Planning your meals ahead of time helps you make smart decisions about what to buy (and what not to buy!). Planning meals puts you in the driving seat and helps you to control and balance your diet. It also helps you to avoid picking up impulse buys, reduces food wastage and saves money.
Look for sales and discounts on healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Buying in-season produce can also be more affordable. Don’t forget to compare prices and consider generic or store brands, which often have similar nutritional content at a lower price. See this link for saving money on grocery shopping and eating healthily on a budget.
Batch cook food
Cooking food in batches and eating or freezing leftovers is a great idea to help keep food costs down without it having an impact on your health. Batch cooking can save you money because you’re buying ingredients in bulk rather than buying smaller amounts more often. It also means you can cook things once and then use less energy to reheat things you’ve already cooked. Source: Age UK
Buy frozen fruit and vegetables
Fresh fruit and vegetables can be expensive and don’t always last as long, so it can be easy to avoid buying them. But it’s important that you’re still getting enough nutrients in your diet. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals, but it’s usually cheaper to buy frozen fruit and vegetables and they’re just as good for you. Source: Age UK
Cook at home
Cooking at home allows you to have full control over the ingredients in your meals, helping you make healthier choices. Try incorporating whole grains, lean proteins, and plenty of fruits and vegetables into your meals. Where possible, think about using microwaves and air fryers to reduce energy costs.
Get creative with leftovers
Instead of letting leftovers go to waste, repurpose them into new meals. For example, turn leftover vegetables into a stir-fry or use leftover chicken for tacos or salads. Creative ways to use leftovers.
Also see: Cooking on a Bootstrap.
Grow your own
Have you considered growing your own fruits and vegetables? It’s a cost-effective way to manage your budget, and requires a lot less space than you’d think. Seeds can be bought from budget high street shops, and with some care, you can grow your own herbs, sprouts, tomatoes, onions, and more tasty plants. It doesn’t have to be a large space to start your own; window boxes and containers can do the job!
Prioritise nutrient-dense foods
Focus on foods that provide the most nutrition per calorie, such as whole grains, lean proteins, and fruits and vegetables. These are the foods that will help you feel full and satisfied while also providing essential nutrients.
Understand what your body needs
Each adult has a different set of needs and basic requirements when it comes to nutrients. Click here for a standard guide to what your diet could be made up of to maximise your intake of good stuff.
Links to more nutrition information:
To learn more about the impact of nutrition on health and well-being, check out these podcasts and links for more information:
Podcast: The Doctor’s Kitchen by Dr. Rupy Aujla
Book: Eat better, live longer : understand what your body needs to stay healthy / Sarah Brewer, Juliette Kellow.
Documentary: Forks Over Knives
News article: How Diet Can Affect Your Mental Wellbeing, BBC
NHS Eat Well (National Health Service): The NHS offers general healthy eating advice, including tips for eating on a budget.
BBC Good Food: BBC Good Food provides a range of budget-friendly recipes and meal ideas that are both healthy and delicious.
Change4Life (Public Health England): Change4Life offers tips, recipes, and advice on healthier eating habits for families on a budget.
Love Food Hate Waste: This website is dedicated to reducing food waste and offers practical tips for meal planning, smart shopping, and creative ways to use leftovers.
NutritionFacts.org by Dr. Michael Greger
Remember, making small changes to your diet can make a big difference in your health and well-being. By focusing on affordable and accessible ways to improve your nutrition, you can enjoy better health without breaking the bank.