Eating Healthy on a Budget

At MindMate, we’re huge fans of the ‘Mediterranean Diet’. It’s long been proven to be effective at promoting good brain health and fighting age-related conditions like Alzheimer’s and memory-loss. Other health benefits the diet can bring include a healthier heart and a more effective metabolism. It sounds like a ‘no-brainer’ that we could all make the change in our eating habits, but the cost of diets like this are a concern for many of us. Nevertheless, it is certainly possible to follow the Mediterranean diet without breaking the bank. Read on as we show you how:

Learn to Love Canned Beans What’s not to love? Beans are cheap, they last for a long time, they cook in next-to-no-time and you can add them to almost any dish! They boost the protein, fiber and bulk of any meal and they’re also incredibly filling, meaning they help you keep snack cravings at bay. Use Eggs for Every Occasion Who needs meat? Eggs can be just as good, both as a source of protein and the base of a dish. They’re so versatile, you can use them at any and every mealtime. Try a quick and easy Mediterranean vegetable omelet, or a mouth-watering frittata and serve with a simple side salad for a meal that’s tasty, filling and best of all – cheap!

Buy Frozen When it comes to vegetables, it’s often said that ‘fresh is best’. But while fresh veggies might be better looking on your plate or on your kitchen countertop, nutritionally they are almost identical to their frozen counterparts. That’s because frozen veggies are frozen whilst at its freshest which locks in the nutrients and keeps the veggies at its peak until they are needed for cooking. Plus, frozen is usually cheaper and certainly longer lasting, so if you’re not put off by appearances, you can save yourself some pennies and keep all the nutritional value of your fresh produce.

Buy in Bulk The Mediterranean diet is fairly straightforward, and often uses the same few staple ingredients as a base for meals. This makes it easy to save money by bulk-buying some essentials knowing that you will use them regularly. Nuts, pasta, flour and rice are a few of the most basic ingredients you should stockpile. You can pick these up at co-ops, or even Costco for much cheaper than buying in smaller quantities at large grocery stores. It might be more difficult to store your items, but the potential savings are huge! On the other hand, though, you can also often save money by buying items, loose by weight, in-store rather than pre-packaged items. This allows you to just buy as much as you need for a couple of meals worth and minimizes waste and excess cost.

Cook in Bulk In Mediterranean countries, they tend to get together to make their meals in bulk using huge pots and pans so that they can produce the freshest dishes for a low cost and enjoy the meal for days to come by saving and storing the leftovers. Examples of this include stews and pasta dishes that can easily be reheated. For this strategy, there are two important things to remember: 1. Buy all your ingredients at once: This will always work out cheaper than ‘spur of the moment’ trips to the store. Buy everything you need at the start of the week and you will definitely notice the savings. 2. Fill your freezer: Storing items in your freezer to reheat another day is a great way to keep your costs down. It preserves all the nutritious elements of your meal and locks in freshness. Once you have made a meal and frozen the leftovers, it is quick and easy to reheat meals each day.