How to save £ without compromising nutrients

How many avocados does it take to buy a house? This excellent BBC article published today highlights one of the most important aspects of wellbeing - and a topic that is increasingly cast aside by the glamorous wellbeing bloggers of Instagram- that is FINANCIAL WELLBEING. Finances are one of the top reasons for stress and suicidal ideation (Shin et al. 2017). Most of the earnings of my 20s were frittered away on food - from organic to superfoods to the latest shakes and supplements, without a thought on the health impacts of an empty wallet. So, here are some of my quick tips on how to save on your food buying without compromising your nutrients:

1. Buy in bulk e.g. Boxes of veggies rather than one at a time (also saves on packaging)

2. Buy direct from local farms - more common and accessible than you might think. All it takes is a question to the farmer to see if they'd be willing to sell you products direct 

3. Choose local wild/line-caught fish rather than organic sourced from (e.g.) Norway where the fish will probably be organically farmed rather than wild anyway

4. Having a day a week of just veggies means you reduce waste and the cost of one meal's expenditure of meat/fish 

5. Avoid "Whole Foods" store and other "health food" shops which will sell you all the latest, most expensive health fads you don't need.

6. Buy online - where deals and bulk buys can be easier to see.

7. Avoid the latest superfoods - if it's been in the papers recently then you can guarantee you'll be paying extra (the past 8 years has seen the cost of blueberries, quinoa, kale and avocado double and more). Some ways of avoiding superfoods are:

- Choosing a range of green leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage instead of kale will mean you get a similar range of nutrients 

- Choose kiwis or peaches or other low-sugar, whole, soft fruits to replace the expensive berries 

- Avocados are great but don't have to be on/with everything! Replace your mashed avocado on toast with homemade nut butters, normal grass fed butter or cream cheese, drizzled olive oil with rocket, mashed veg (celeriac/carrot/sweet potato/courgettes) with olive oil

8. Choose the darkest chocolate (72%+) you can to get the most bang for your buck in terms of nutrients, taste, satisfaction and cost 

9. Bake in batches - "paleo" bars, granola or "fatbombs" are now all the rage at farmers markets and supermarkets. But just because they are in the organic section or wrapped in brown paper doesn't mean they are any better for you. Instead you can easily make your own in bulk and refrigerate or freeze for the week. 

Some baking staples I always buy to replace shop-bought baddies are:

Dates - cheaper, sweeter and more nutritious than raisins

Mixed nuts - grind them at home for your own nut flour/butter rather than spending an average of £5.25 on nut butter!

Flax seeds - grinding them at home is cheaper than shop bought ground. Chia seeds are slightly higher in omega 3 content than flax however for the cost you are just as well going for flaxseeds 

Dessicated coconut (unsweetened)

Jumbo oats - choose original oats which haven't been played with and they tend to be the same cost as other oats

Coconut oil - I go "cold pressed" on this to ensure it hasn't been heated and made "bad" in its manufacturing

Cans coconut milk - they don't have to be organic but check the ingredients - you want one without additives, just coconut milk and water

Natural ground stevia leaf - a great sweetener as you only need a pinch and it doesn't spike insulin. I got a tub 6 months ago that has lasted me.

Black strap Molasses over maple syrup which is a fortune. (My husband has the sweet tooth so need this as an extra sweetener!).

Checkout the health benefits of Blackstrap Molasses vs maple syrup:

Molasses, blackstrap Nutrient Units 1 tbsp ------- 20 g Proximates Water g 5.740 Energy kcal 47.000 Energy kj 196.600 Protein g 0.000 Total lipid (fat) g 0.000 Ash g 1.640 Carbohydrate, by difference g 12.160 Fiber, total dietary g 0.000 Minerals Calcium, Ca mg 172.000 Iron, Fe mg 3.500 Magnesium, Mg mg 43.000 Phosphorus, P mg 8.000 Potassium, K mg 498.400 Sodium, Na mg 11.000 Zinc, Zn mg 0.200 Copper, Cu mg 0.408 Manganese, Mn mg 0.522 Selenium, Se mcg 3.560 ----------------------------------- Syrups, maple Nutrient Units 1 tbsp ------- 20 g Proximates Water g 6.400 Energy kcal 52.400 Energy kj 219.200 Protein g 0.000 Total lipid (fat) g 0.040 Ash g 0.120 Carbohydrate, by difference g 13.440 Fiber, total dietary g 0.000 Sugars, total g 12.740 Minerals Calcium, Ca mg 13.400 Iron, Fe mg 0.240 Magnesium, Mg mg 2.800 Phosphorus, P mg 0.400 Potassium, K mg 40.800 Sodium, Na mg 1.800 Zinc, Zn mg 0.832 Copper, Cu mg 0.015 Manganese, Mn mg 0.660 Selenium, Se mcg 0.120 (Source: USDA NUTRIENT DATA LABORATORY)

12-18 Eggs - I load up on these for cooking/baking and most breakfasts too! I source them from our local farmer for 4pm/egg

Butter (kerrys gold is one of the cheaper and mostly grass fed options) 

Cacao - better than cocoa in terms of nutrients and cost as you only need a pinch with some stevia to flavour a whole chocolate bake

Read more: BBC's avocado toast index: http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170530-the-avocado-toast-index-how-many-breakfasts-to-buy-a-house Depression and finances: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/28378560/ 

USDA nutrient data laboratory: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/cgi-bin/nut_search.pl

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Health is the soul that animates all the enjoyments of life

Lucius Annaeus Seneca