Following the mediterranean diet on a budget
The Mediterranean diet has been promoted as one of the healthiest eating patterns around the world. However, due to the recent economic recession, more and more people resort to less healthy food choices, because they consider it as too expensive to be followed. By taking into consideration some simple tips, such as shopping wisely and planning in advance, as well as by embracing the principles of the Mediterranean diet, we can incorporate it in our everyday lives and still save money! The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest eating patterns existing around the world. This nutrient-rich type of diet includes a healthy amount of fish, olive oil, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables. However, due to the economic recession and the continuous rising of prices of various food products, it may seem a bit difficult to maintain a healthy diet.
The preparation of a meal doesn't have to be costly, complicated, or unhealthy. There is a way to incorporate the Mediterranean diet into your meal plans; it simply takes a little bit of advanced planning. Following simple tips, you can enjoy healthy food on the cheap:
- Make a list
Plan menus and write a shopping list for the whole week. This way, you will avoid overspending by buying whatever looks good to you at the moment.
- Don’t shop hungry
Have you ever visited a super-market or a farmer’s market when you were hungry? Have you noticed that you bought food products that you would otherwise not have chosen? Having eaten beforehand can help you choose wisely and spend less money on less healthy food items. This way, you’ll be less tempted by junk food and impulse buys.
- Buy seasonally
In-season items are generally less expensive than out of season food products due to their availability. Visit a local farmer's market to get fresh, seasonal food. Strolling through the stalls may also help you get creative with the recipes you will create with these fresh products.
- Review and compare prices
Compare prices per 100g or 1 kg to make sure you really are getting a deal. Don’t choose the first item you see on the shelves or stalls.
- Consider canned or frozen produce
Canned and frozen vegetables have just as many nutrients as their fresh counterparts, and they’re often less expensive. Just look for “low sodium” or “no salt added” on the label.
- Choose legumes as a protein source
Legumes are vegetarian sources of protein and iron. By adding legumes to your dishes instead of meat, you get plenty of protein, and it costs you less than buying a meat product. Just make sure to eat them along with whole grains to increase their nutritional value.
- Freeze leftovers
If you cooked too much, have leftovers or bought a greater quantity than what you needed, put them in the freezer. Freezing is a great way to preserve items and lengthen their life. Just make sure that your freezer’s temperature is 0 degrees or below to retain the foods’ nutrient content, color, and flavor, as well as to keep them safe.
- Eat out less.
Although it may seem that fast food is cheaper, preparing a home-made meal can cost far less and leave you leftovers as well.
By embracing the principles of the Mediterranean diet, such as portion control and taking time to savor your meals, you may discover that you can eat just as economically on the Mediterranean diet and reap the benefits of being healthier.