Eating healthily doesn’t need to be expensive. Hear it from our experts about how to save money on healthy food: Jane Freeman, a dietitian and sports nutritionist at Food Equation, and Susie Rucker, a nutritional therapist at Body With Soul.
Superfoods can be expensive, but you can save money by choosing alternative ones.
Instead of kale, for instance, which can cost as much as $8 or $9 a kg at supermarkets, you can opt for chye sim, kang kong or kai lan, all of which cost well under $2 a kg at supermarkets, possibly less at wet markets.
Jane says these dark-green leafy vegetables are equally deserving of superfood status as they are high in vitamins and minerals, so you can eat them without feeling like you’re missing out.
And instead of salmon, Susie suggests sardines and mackerel, which are also rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
NEXT: Avoid packaged foods →
Instead, make your own. It could be as simple as grating your own cheese instead of buying pre-grated cheese and tearing up leaves from a whole lettuce instead of using pre-packed salad kits, or using your own recipes, for instance, making muesli from inexpensive and easy-to-find ingredients like rolled oats, honey and dried fruit.
Best of all, because you’ve made it yourself, you know it’s free from preservatives and other additives.
What you should stock up on: Packaged foods that are healthy and inexpensive, like tuna, kidney beans and black beans, corn kernels and tomatoes.
NEXT: Buy budget cuts of meat →
Give cheaper cuts of meat a go. The best-value beef cuts include brisket, skirt, flank and shin, while good-value lamb cuts include the shoulder, chump and breast. If you’re buying pork, go for spare ribs, cheeks, chump and neck.
Susie says that slow cooking is a great way to make the most of these cuts. Place the meat in a crockpot or slow cooker with some water, herbs, onions and carrots, and cook it for a few hours over low heat, until the meat is super tender and falls off the bone. The result is a hearty stew packed with flavour and nutrients.
NEXT: Buy red meat that’s close to its sell-by date →
In some cases, you can save up to 50 per cent, says Jane. The meat is still edible so you don’t have to worry about food poisoning – just be sure to freeze it once you get home if you don’t plan to use it right away.
“Don’t try this with fish, though,” Jane warns. “Fresh fish is always the best, but you can get away with eating red meat that is close to its expiry date.”
NEXT: Or, be your own butcher →
Buying a large cut of meat and sectioning it yourself is cheaper than buying pre-cut meat, says Susie. If you don’t have the knife skills to do this, you can still buy a larger cut and ask your butcher to portion the meat for you. “A large boneless beef roast, for instance, can be portioned into small steaks. This will end up costing less than buying individual steaks,” says Susie.
The same goes for chicken. It’s cheaper to buy a whole bird and cut it into smaller sections at home, rather than buying a tray of already-sectioned parts. Then, simply freeze the individual portions and take them out whenever you need them.
NEXT: Plan your menu ahead of time →
“If you know what you want to cook, you’re less likely to buy ingredients you don’t need, which will probably just end up in the trash,” says Jane. “When you go shopping for groceries, bring along a shopping list and stay focused. Buy only those items you need to prepare the meals you’ve planned.”
To save even more, browse the weekly specials at the supermarket and plan your menu around those ingredients, she adds.
NEXT: Make two or more dishes out of one →
Susie says it’s easy to make several tasty and nutritious dishes from one cheaper dish or ingredient.
For example, you can prepare a big batch of chicken broth and divide it into three small batches. Blend one batch with cooked pumpkin and herbs to make a hearty soup, serve the other with spaghetti, diced chicken and vegetables for a comforting chicken noodle soup, and use the last batch as a base for congee.
NEXT: Grab healthy meals to go →
Healthy is hip – protein-packed meals, raw food, poke bowls, and well-balanced meals are all the rage in Singapore’s food scene, so there’s really no excuse to not eat healthy.
NEXT: Know your cheap superfoods →
By Sasha Gonzales, Shape, last updated April 2017
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