The body needs ‘good food’ for proper functioning, to gain the energy to carry on its daily tasks. Health eating bloggers might make meal plans look expensive and hard to maintain, however, you can actually keep your meals healthy on any budget. This is how:
Emmy Ntamanga, a Kigali-based nutrition consultant, says that you should do away with junk food (for example, burgers, chips, pizza, among others) because that is expensive and not healthy.
He recommends doing away with processed and unhealthy foods; just spend more of your budget on higher-quality, healthy foods. According to Healthline, try replacing meat once or twice a week with beans, legumes, eggs or canned fish. These are all cheap and nutritious sources of protein.
Ntamanga says that cooking at home is less expensive than eating out. “Many foods are accessible in bulk for a much cheaper price. The food can be kept in containers for a long time and eaten with a variety of other dishes,” he says.
Ntamanga says that if you have a garden at your home, consider planting your own vegetables, like onions and tomatoes. You don’t need that much space.
Alternatively, Private Kamanzi, a dietician at Amazon Wellness Centre, Remera, says packing your own lunch for work reduces the expense of eating out. The money one plate of food can buy in a restaurant, can instead be used to buy raw food and cooked at home. Cooking for yourself gives you the chance to prepare what you want, though a balanced diet should be maintained.
“Making a meal plan helps you to eat healthy under a fixed budget. It is also advisable to plan your meals ahead of time, make a list of the kind of food that will take you through a specific period of time and stick to it. There is a possibility of spending more, if not planned,” Ntamanga emphasises.
He adds, cooking and eating at home not only reduces costs but it is healthy. Include making a choice of healthy snacks with fresh fruits and vegetables because they contain vitamins and minerals which are essential to health and cost-friendly.
“Whole grains like maize, rice, wheat and many more are high in iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, B vitamins and dietary fibre, choosing whole grains over refined grains has been linked to lower risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, in addition to being cheap,” Kamanzi says.
Beans are one of the healthiest foods to eat, and cheap. Both dried and canned beans are very cheap. Beans are rich in iron and are one of the best sources of plant-based protein, he adds.
Kamanzi, however, warns against eating when hungry, as often, a person craves food that is not good for them or their budget.
Healthline states that there are many foods available that are both inexpensive and healthy. By making some adjustments and using ingredients that you may not be used to, you can prepare many delicious and inexpensive meals. For example, through increasing the use of eggs, beans, seeds, frozen fruits and vegetables, cheaper cuts of meat and whole grains. These are not only tasty but also cheap and nutritious.
Kamanzi supports the idea of buying food from local markets because you can bargain on certain products, unlike supermarkets where prices are fixed.
He also points out that instead of buying food in bars and restaurants, got to local markets and stock up on avocado for good fats, groundnuts for proteins, bananas for carbs and other green leafy vegetables for nutrition and vitamins.