14 tips for healthy and cheap eating

For many people, healthy eating seems like a luxury – we here at Dahna want to debunk this harmful myth. On the contrary, there are many ways you can make sure your daily diet is friendly to your body and heart as well as your wallet.

Today we’re going to give you 14 tips to make sure you eat healthy without breaking the piggy bank!

What is healthy eating?

In simple terms, a healthy diet is one that provides you with all the nutrients you need to survive in the optimal amount. Here we are talking about the 3 essential macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) but also micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), all equally important for your health and your body.

14 tips to follow to stay healthy on a limited budget

Below are Dahna’s recommendations for a heart-healthy diet that doesn’t require a lot of money:

Cook at home

The best way to save money and still eat as healthily as possible is to replace meals out with home-cooked food.

When you cook your own food from scratch, you can be 100% sure what’s in it and make sure it’s as healthy as possible.

Plan your weekly menu

We’ve all had the experience of going shopping and buying excess food, which we throw away at the end of the week. Wasted food means wasted money, so it’s important for your budget to make sure you only buy the bare essentials.

We recommend planning in advance a weekly menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, such as those found in the Dahna app. Planning ahead not only saves money, but also time, as you won’t have to decide what to eat every day.

If you use the Dahna app for inspiration when it comes to menus, you can also generate a complete shopping list in the app to make sure you only buy what you need, avoiding waste.

Ensure a healthy diet with Dahna menus

In the Dahna app you can find hundreds of daily menus like the one above, based on the Mediterranean diet considered the best diet for your heart.

Take inventory in your kitchen and pantry

Before you go shopping, always take stock of the ingredients you already have in your home. Often, you’ll find forgotten foods in the fridge or pantry or foods that are about to expire, only good for quick use in a healthy menu.

Cook large portions in advance

If you have limited time in your daily life for cooking, it can seem impossible to maintain a healthy diet. The perfect solution is to pick a day or two a week to cook a larger amount of food in advance, which you can eat the following days without extra cooking. Meals such as soups and stews are great sources of nutrients, and are easy to make in large quantities.

If you want to save money, having leftovers for the next few days will also help you resist the temptation to buy food or pastries in town. Not only that, but cooking a lot of food at once will also save electricity or gas.

Avoid processed foods

Processed foods, such as sausages, semi-prepared products, pâtés, margarine, commercially available sauces or ready-made salad dressings are generally expensive, nor do they have much nutritional value. Foods such as sausages are actually harmful to health, being a well-known cause of cardiovascular disease.

As much as possible, avoid these foods, and try to prepare healthier versions of them at home.

Try generic food brands

When you go to the hypermarket, you will notice that many products are sold either by well-known brands or generic brands. Although the big brands are recognisable and have a good reputation, their products will be even more expensive.

All food producers have to follow the same rules and production standards, so you can be sure that these foods will be of comparable quality and nutritional value to those sold by big brands.

Take advantage of discounts

The easiest way to save money is to take advantage of store discounts. If there are essentials in your diet and you find them on sale, buy a larger quantity and save the excess for days when you can’t afford to shop big. Make sure these products have a long expiry date – if they go bad quickly, you won’t have saved money, quite the opposite.

Replaces refined grains with whole grains

One of the best changes you can implement in your diet is to replace refined grains in your diet with whole grains. Wholegrains are not only cheaper, they also bring with them many benefits to your health.

Refined grains are found in foods such as cakes, biscuits, pasta, cornflakes, etc. They can have negative effects on your health and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Instead, studies show that whole grains (brown rice, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, barley) significantly reduce the risk of these conditions.

Choose cheaper versions of your favourite products

For products you consume often, you can look for cheaper alternatives.

For example, if you eat chicken on a regular basis, opt for skin-on and bone-in chicken instead of boneless, as it is generally sold at a lower price. For healthy eating, be sure to remove the skin before cooking chicken, as it contains saturated fats, which are harmful to heart and body health.

If you prefer fish but find fresh fish too expensive, you can choose to buy it frozen. Look for frozen fish fillets that contain no added salt, sauces or semi-prepared crusts.

Replaces meat with other sources of protein

Many benefits of plant-based diets are now known. It’s true – eating less meat helps your wallet, but also your heart.

If you’re not ready to give up meat completely, introduce a day or two a week where you replace meat on your menu with other, healthier and cheaper sources of protein, such as:

  • Beans and other leguminous plants
  • eggs
  • tofu

Buy seasonal products

In general, seasonal products such as fruit and vegetables are much cheaper than out-of-season products. Not only that, but when you buy seasonal produce, you’re buying it at a maximum level of nutrients and taste.

Buy frozen fruit and vegetables

An even cheaper option to ensure your daily vitamin intake is to buy frozen fruit and vegetables. Contrary to some opinions, they are just as nutritious as fresh fruit and vegetables, and can be stored for a long time in the freezer, avoiding waste.

Grow your own products

A novel way to secure an inexpensive source of healthy produce is… grow them yourself!

Vegetables such as tomatoes or onions, or herbs such as basil or rosemary are easy to grow even in your own home, and can provide you with a rich source of nutrients. Gardening can also be a relaxing hobby, beneficial in combating stress that can affect our mental and physical health.

Choose healthy snacks

We all need a snack from time to time. Instead of products like commercial chips, cakes, pastries or chocolate, choose healthier snacks like:

  • fruit and vegetables
  • low-fat yoghurt
  • nuts and peanuts (unsalted and unroasted)
  • humus

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive or boring!

As you can see, there are many ways you can stay healthy even on a limited budget or in a time crunch. Healthy eating can be cheap, exciting, easy to maintain and convenient.

The Dahna app is your faithful ally in the fight against cardiovascular disease and is with you to help you maintain a healthy diet. Download the app today and start your journey to a healthy heart!

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