Hello everyone, this week is all about how eating healthy does not have to cost you a fortune. I have found that the key to sustaining a healthy lifestyle is to shop around and think logically about how many meals you can prep out of the ingredients on your list.
I first got into healthy eating towards the beginning of my second year at college in 2014 (was college seriously that long ago?!) and it was at this point that I had my own shelf on the fridge, my own cupboard and I cooked and prepared my own meals. I absolutely loved this independence and I think this made it a lot easier for me when I moved to university because by then I was fully submerged in cooking healthy meals and had become really good at it. I went from being the worlds worst vegetarian living off of carbs, carbs and more carbs as a young teen to being self educated on what my body needs for fuel, how much and when my body needs it.
I love cookbooks and although I’m not a vegan, I always go for vegan cookbooks, my favourite being Deliciously Ella and Deliciously Ella Everyday (I’m obsessed!) I now have my own cookbook where I experiment with flavours, cheaper ingredients and take cut out inspirations from other supermarket catalogues. I find that the Asda ‘Good Living’ free catalogue give great healthy meal ideas that usually give you an estimated cost per meal. These are a great little starter if you are just looking for some healthy inspiration and don’t want to pay out for a 300 page more expensive book.
As a university student I try and save as much of my money as possible and therefore try and get my food shopping as cheap as I can. Now that I am back home for the summer I am continuing the good habit. Below is my shopping list for this week and also my meal plan to put into perspective the cost of my ingredients and how many meals I will make out of them.
X2 Sweet Potatoes £0.90
X2 Courgettes £1.59
Mixed Peppers £0.79
Lemons Pack £1.29
Bunched Carrots £0.79
Crispy Mixed Salad £0.89
X2 Chopped Tomato Cans £0.62
Butter Beans £0.35
Wholewheat Wraps £0.69
Quorn Pieces £3.00
Quorn Tikka Fillet Slices £2.65
Sundried Tomatoes £0.99
This super cheap shop came to around £16 and will last me one week to a week and a half. I like to shop in Lidl for all my basics and then I head to Asda for my vegetarian supplements and loose vegetables that Lidl do not provide. I visualise my meal plan for the week whilst I am shopping to make the most out of what I buy and then log what I eat each day in a notepad mainly for my health reasons to take to my therapy sessions but also to keep track.
For breakfast I always start the day with a green tea as soon as I wake up, it’s like a health freaks version of coffee (that’s what I imagine although I’ve never tried coffee). My favourite flavour for the morning will always be lemon and later on in the day I like to have a mango or cranberry flavour. The brand I buy is either Clippers or Tetley. Around an hour later in the morning at about 9am I will make myself either a green or mixed berry smoothie. Luckily I did not need to buy the ingredients for these this week as I already have what I need in the fridge and freezer. You will find these two smoothie recipes on the ‘Food and Drink’ section of my website.
For lunch I usually have a salad wrap which are one of my favourites or crackers/ corn thins/ rice cakes with Philadelphia and cucumber. This week I decided on salad wraps which include Quorn tikka slice fillets, cucumber, tomatoes, salad leaves, feta cheese and mayonnaise. Wraps are my favourite alternative to starchy bread and keep me feeling much lighter. Usually I do not snack and just stick to my three meals per day but as I train 6 times a week sometimes I do need a snack later in the day and this would either be a coconut yoghurt or the new Lemon Drizzle squares by Fibre One. However this week I decided to buy the ingredients to make my own homemade red pepper hummus with bunched carrots.
Then finally for dinner this week I have bought ingredients to make Vegan Chilli and Carrot, Courgette and Halloumi salad with ginger and sesame. The salad serves 3-4 portions and the chilli serves 5-6 so I will alternate between the two meals throughout the week whilst freezing 3 chilli’s for another week.
I always make my meals in bulk because I love to store them in the fridge and freezer to pick and mix as I go. This is what gets me through at uni when I am constantly busy with lectures, hockey, dance, studying and work especially during revision when I am constantly at the library. When I have a late start at uni or an evening free I will prep my meals for the week and then be able to easily judge what I will need the following week and what I will have left over. This makes shopping a lot cheaper too as my freezer will 9/10 have at least two meals already prepared in there.
Many healthy meals look ‘fancy’ and complicated or like they take long time to prepare but from my experience, none of my meals have taken me longer than an hour and I always enjoy doing it. I hope this blog has inspired you to cook something bright and colourful too and if you like the sound of any of the meals I have mentioned so far, keep an eye out for the recipes that will be up on my website as and when I cook them.
Happy Monday and start your week right with a healthy meal that’s cheap as chips!
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