In these uncertain times of COVID-19, many people are feeling a sense of fear, hesitancy, and perhaps frustration. Our access to multiple information sources often results in confusion as to what path to take going forward. Can we eat cheap foods and still stay healthy? Who should we listen to? How can we avoid getting sick? The best thing we can do right now is to nurture and nourish our nervous system (and relieve stress), as well as our immune system (to build resilience.) If life has thrown you an unexpected curveball and you are watching your pennies right now, here are some cheap and healthy options to get you thriving through the Winter months ahead:
These little pulses include lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans and are packed full of energy! I regard them as a little vitamin pill as they are full of fibre, folate, protein and minerals such as iron. They are a great replacement for meat and may even lower cholesterol levels.If you’ve never used legumes before, you can start with the tinned varieties, but ideally, you should buy dried ones and soak for 7-8 hours prior to use. Remember that one cup of dried beans can make up to 3 cups of cooked ones. Make your own hummus, mung dahl, or add them to soups and stir-fries. One of my favourite recipes for Winter are brown lentil pasties; enjoyed by meat-eaters as well as vegetarians.
Contrary to popular belief, not all carbohydrates are evil! Whole grains provide fibre and nourish the nervous system, so they are perfect for those that experience seasonal depression and provide calm for those who feel anxious. Try using brown or white rice as a base for stir-fries, risotto or curries, rolled oats for porridge or biscuit making, or barley to bulk up a vegetable soup. Quinoa is a fabulous grain that contains additional protein and can be used in soups, salads or as a rice substitute. These slow release carbohydrates also provide energy for all of the body’s cells, especially the brain. They add warmth to the body, so enjoy them in moderation.
3. Frozen Vegetables:
Unlike supermarket produce, frozen veggies are usually picked ripe and immediately snap frozen, preserving all the nutrients. They keep longer than fresh produce, so you can save money by only using as much as you need at any one time. Add them to any dish to ensure you are eating your quota of 7-8 vegetables per day. Use broccoli, peas, beans and corn in soups, curries, pasta dishes or casseroles. There are even organic varieties available. Too easy!
The humble potato is ideal for topping a shepherd’s pie, roasting, or simply baked with lots of healthy toppings. Add baked beans, sour cream and sweet corn and chives, or even coleslaw for an easy mid-week lunch or dinner. Use any extra for a potato and leek soup. If you have any old ones left in the panty, bury them in the garden and start your own veggie patch! They are easy to grow and are ready to be harvested when the foliage starts to die back.
5. Cheap cuts of meat:
Buy meat when it’s on special, or choose cheaper cuts such as chuck steak which becomes tender in a slow-cooked casserole at low heat. Bulk buy healthier sausages containing herbs; you can freeze the excess for meals later in the week. Or use mince to make healthy hamburgers or chow mein. We have so much quality cheap food available, Bon appetit!
Need some Help?
If you need some guidance and would like a review of your diet, I’d love to help! An online assessment is available, which includes a report on appropriate nutrient recommendations for just $40. Full meal plans are available too (additional cost). Choose from 3 meals per day or just evening meals for 7 or 14 days.