With household incomes being squeezed on all sides, it is more important than ever to work at maintaining good standards of both physical and mental health. Without good health you are more likely to succumb to the worry and anxiety of struggling with increasing daily challenges, which in turn will lead to ill health.
The trouble is, as winter sets in, households all over the world are facing the stark choice between heating or eating. In the first six months of 2022, global food prices have surged by 12 per cent. Even more worrying, compared to pre-pandemic figures, increases in food costs have increased a massive 65 per cent.
A truly global crisis
More and more families are visiting food banks and having to cut back drastically on what they put into their shopping baskets. As a consequence, struggling communities in developing countries are witnessing a worrying trend in the reduction in food donations as Western families cut whatever costs they can. Unfortunately this is the compounding effect of how a global crisis can criss cross continents.
As an individual there is little you can do to stop this trend as you work at keeping your own house in order. The most important thing is to keep as healthy as possible, so we have highlighted key areas to help you produce good, nutritious food on a budget.
1. Cook from fresh
Cooking meals from scratch. Buying packaged and processed food adds to the overall cost of the final product, and actually strips out much of the nutrition value too. Ny cooking from scratch not only do you have more control over the costs, but you have greater input into the nutritional value of the dish as well.
2. Avoid eating out
Or at the very least, make it a monthly treat! Much as we don’t want to destroy the hospitality industry, eat out is an expensive luxury. And we’re not just talking about expensive restaurants – even cheaper fast food can soon add up! Cutting out fast food completely will have an immediate effect on your monthly outgoings.
3. Swap red meat for fatty fish
Wherever possibly, swap out red meat for cheaper proteins such as fish, which will also reduce your saturated fat intake. ‘Fatty’ fish such as mackerel, salmon, herring, anchovies, tuna and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids that are crucial for brain function and heart health.
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4. Become a coupon collector
Supermarkets are always running special offers to entice people into their stores. During tough economic conditions these campaigns are even more prevalent as they battle for a bigger slice of a smaller cake. Becomes a smart and savvy customer. Come out of the routine of sticking to one supermarket and learn to play them off each other.
5. Grow your Own
Remember the famous UK sitcom from the seventies – The Good Life? It was about a couple who opted out of the rat race and turned their suburban home into a self sufficient ‘farm’. You don’t have to go quite so far, but maybe planting a few potatoes, cabbages and other favourite vegetables will help to fill the fridge without emptying the bank balance.
6. Buy ‘off’ brand
For some of the staples such as tinned tomatoes, canned or dried beans and pulses, stock up on own brand items. Once you have used them in cooking there is very little to differentiate them from more expensive brands, which can often cost two or three times more!
7. Batch cook
It is more economical to batch cook, but you don’t want to be eating the same meal several times in a row. Make enough to freeze for the following week. It’ll save you pennies AND give you an evening off the following week when all you need to do is take your evening meal out of the freezer.