For some, cooking is a joy. For others, it’s an annoying slog. Prepping. Chopping. Baking. (And sometimes, your fingers.) And then the inevitable cleanup. But just because you’d rather avoid cooking doesn’t mean you’re doomed to live an unhealthy lifestyle of pizza delivery and ramen noodles. It’s possible to eat cheap and healthy, even without cooking.
Here are a few budget-friendly ways to get healthy foods into your diet without spending hours each day in the kitchen.
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1. Lean on Pre-Packaged Meal Kits
Obviously, one of the easiest ways to achieve the above goals is to let someone else do the cooking for you. But we’re not talking about unhealthy takeout, here – we’re talking pre-made meal kits designed by certified chefs to be delicious, nutritious, and easy to prepare.
For example, Protein Chefs’ selection of healthy meals is made with natural ingredients, locally-sourced foods, seasonal vegetables, all free of fillers or preservatives. Meals can be customized by your nutritional needs as frequency, ensuring you always have healthy dinner options on hand.
Best of all, these meals are surprisingly affordable when you stack up the cost-per-meal against the costs of grocery shopping, cooking, and cleanup. If your goal is to eat cheap and healthy, this is by far the easiest way.
And whether you’re looking for grilled chicken breast or red meats and fish, there are a lot of dishes to choose from.
2. Control Your Portions
An easy way to reduce your food bills is to better control portion size. From over-buying foods that go bad to throwing away leftovers, food waste is a huge problem. According to the National Zero Waste Council, nearly 2.2 million tonnes of edible food is wasted each year, with avoidable food waste costing the average Canadian household over $1,100 annually.
As a society, we can do better than that.
Of course, it’s not always easy to know exactly how much food to prepare, especially for bigger families with young eaters whose preferences seem to change by the day. In our view, this is another area where pre-packaged meals can pay dividends.
With meal options designed around your nutritional needs (such as keto, gluten-free, Halal, and more), you’ll have standardized lunches and dinners laid out without any need to plan your meals.
3. Go With Frozen Fruits and Veggies
Most of us believe that fresh fruits and vegetables are essential to any healthy eating plan, but did you know that frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as their fresh varieties?
Both options lose vitamins and minerals over time, but frozen options give you much more time to enjoy them than fresh varieties. That said, frozen foods will lose their texture and taste to some extent, so it’s not quite the same thing as eating fresh.
4. Avoid Shopping While Hungry
We’re all guilty of it. We plan our meals, head to the store, and start checking off our shopping list.
But hang on… that bag of stir fry looks pretty good. Maybe white rice would go better with dinner than this brown rice. And won’t that new flavor of potato chip make a nice side dish?
Before we know it, our carts are half filled with things we didn’t intend to buy. (And the grocers know this, which is why they fill their stores with the smells of roasted rotisserie chicken and baking bread.)
Don’t fall for their tricks. Avoid shopping while hungry, or as an alternative, avoid shopping at all with direct-to-your-door meal kits that let you skip the store entirely – an always-responsible choice in our era of social distancing.
5. Pack Your Lunches
Lunchtime can be tricky when you’re at work. You don’t have time to cook during your lunch break, leaving many to turn to potato wedges and tomato sauce from the Tim Hortons next door. Of course, these rich foods leave much to be desired in terms of nutrition and costs.
We’d recommend packing your lunch whenever possible, but we don’t need to tell you that brown-bagging it with peanut butter sandwiches gets old fast. Why not turn to a meal prep option that lets you enjoy delicious foods without any of the hassles of cooking? You’ll be the envy of everyone in the office.
Best Way to Eat Cheap and Healthy
You may notice a theme here: You can’t beat Protein Chefs’ pre-made meals when looking for tasty, nutritious, and cost-effective meal options. You can always find more strategies online (the Reddit Eat Cheap and Healthy board is a good place to start).
But if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, our chef-prepared meals will help you save money, avoid the grocery store, and reap all the health benefits that come with foods prepared to suit your lifestyle.
Visit our menu page and view our meal options under the Order Now tab!