4 tips on how to eat healthy on a budget in 2023

Pick a theme for the week. Picture: Pexels/She Eats

Pick a theme for the week. Picture: Pexels/She Eats

Published Jan 30, 2023


The rising cost of living has been depressing news for months now, and it seems like it's not going to get better any time soon.

Food is more than just fuel for our bodies – it can have a profound effect on our health and well-being. Quality, fresh food gives us important vitamins and minerals that support our immune system and development.

It helps protect against non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, as well as certain types of cancer and skeletal conditions, says the World Health Organisation.

However, when it comes to choosing the food we eat, the cost is often the biggest consideration. Fast food is quick, cheap, and accessible, so it’s often easy to opt for takeaway over a home-cooked meal.

Fortunately, healthy eating and sticking to a budget are not mutually exclusive. With a little planning, you can eat well and stay healthier without breaking the bank. Below the team at Herbalife share some of the things you can do to eat healthier on a budget this year.

Meal prep your healthy lunches. Picture: Pexels/Lisa Fotios

Meal prep your healthy lunches

Let’s say it’s nearing lunchtime and you plan on swinging by the shops to pick up a salad or something hearty that heats up quite easily.

Depending on where you buy, a simple meal like this could set you back a couple of hundred rands, whereas if you pre-make meals at home you would be able to make it for much cheaper (and would probably have leftovers for the following day’s lunch too).

Convenience food is exactly what the word suggests, but just remember that you’re paying hard-earned cash for the convenience of not making your own food at home. The secret lies in planning, prepping, and making it yourself. And yes, it’s as simple as it sounds. Invest in good quality lunch boxes that will keep any air out and set aside some time on Sundays to plan, buy, make and pack your lunches for the week. But first, scan your cupboards before making your list and eat everything before it expires to reduce wastage.

Whether it be a salad on Monday, a piece of chicken breast with steamed veggies on Tuesday, or a chickpea curry and cauli-rice on Wednesday, buy only what you need and don’t entertain the idea of other foods that didn’t make the week’s menu.

Pick a theme for the week. Picture: Pexels/She Eats

Pick a theme for the week

You’ll usually find that buying ingredients in bulk works out much cheaper than buying a single serving. Foods like broccoli, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, butternut, eggs, and even tins of tuna frequently get sold in bigger quantities, allowing you to save more in the long haul.

Setting up a menu with these types of foods can save you quite a bit each month. For instance, you could make a chilled butternut soup, butternut spaghetti with a marinara sauce, or a roasted veggie wrap without ever getting tired of eating the same vegetable every day. It’s time to get creative in the kitchen and find clever ways to use ingredients in multiple different ways!

The same goes for meat. Look out for bulk meat packs or switch out your go-to protein for a cheaper cut. When prepared properly, you won’t even be able to tell the difference.

Canned foods in particular can be a good R10 cheaper than other premium brands. Picture: Pexels/Julia M Cameron

Buy store brands

Store brands don’t get half the recognition they deserve! Canned foods in particular can be a good R10 cheaper than other premium brands! One thing to know is that just because these foods are cheaper, doesn’t mean the food is of lesser quality. It only allows you to get more food for what you pay.

Stock up on store-brand cans of tomato and onion relish, beans, anchovies, frozen veggies, and even milk to save more. Just avoid any processed store-branded foods as these might come at a lower price too but won’t do anything to help you stick to your balanced, healthy lifestyle.

Online shopping makes it so easy to find what you’re looking for, check out and wait for the delivery guy to pull up on the driveway. Picture: Pexels/Photomix Company

Do all your shopping online

The best part of living in 2023 is that online food and grocery stores are popping up all over the country. This has many benefits but the one that surely stands out is that temptations are reduced.

How many times do you find yourself veering from your grocery list to add something to the cart that you don’t necessarily need but can’t resist the urge to buy?

Online shopping makes it so easy to find what you’re looking for, check out and wait for the delivery guy to pull up on the driveway. No more walking up and down the aisles searching for something that might be out of stock anyway.

It lets you quickly run over to the kitchen to take stock of what you have and adjust your menu accordingly.

Another budget saver is to shop for snacks online. Whether you’re dashing around town or are in between meetings and need something to keep you going, many companies now sell their wares directly to the consumer.

A quick protein bar or shake is perfect to keep the munchies at bay and keep you out of the shops. Again, it all comes down to planning and turning your balanced diet into a sustainable lifestyle.

Don’t let Janu-worry get you down and lead you astray. Shop smart and prepare your meals ahead of time to not only save money but stay consistently with your diet.