Eating healthy on a budget has been a challenge for most people and it is one of the biggest complaints amongst people trying to lose weight and keep fit in Nigeria.
While Nigeria is a country known for the delicious meals in its cuisine, some of the ingredients that make such dishes so tasty can be unhealthy. Luckily, there are ways to eat healthy while in Nigeria without breaking your bank.
Eating healthy on a tight budget
Eating healthy on a tight budget is possible. It’s not always easy, but it’s doable. If you want to save money on groceries and eat healthier, it helps to first figure out how much money you can reasonably spend each month on food.
Once that number is established, you can start working towards your goal of eating healthy at home by following these simple tips:
1. Look at your price range
It is advisable to look at your budget and determine how much you can spend on food each week. The next step would be to analyze your grocery bills and see how much you have been spending on food. If this figure is more than it should be, then you need to look at ways of cutting back. Ways we will expatiate more on in this article.
The best way to examine your price range is first by making a list of all the items that are needed in the kitchen and writing down their prices before going shopping for them. This helps control impulse buying which often results in overspending on unnecessary items or even missing out on items that are needed in the kitchen, as well as those categorized under luxury items or non-essential items like soda pop or ice cream!
2. Plan your meals ahead of time
Planning your meals ahead of time is an important part of a healthy diet. You’ll be able to shop efficiently, avoid wasting food and stay on track with your diet.
Planning meals can save money because it helps reduce waste in two ways: by allowing you to buy foods that are on sale when they’re at their cheapest; and by reducing wastage from spoiling before they can be eaten (this is especially important in Nigeria’s hot climate). Planning allows you to make sure that you have the right ingredients and enough food for the week. This will also help you avoid temptation and impulse buying in the supermarket or market.
3. Use what you already have
You can save money by using ingredients you already have in the pantry, kitchen, refrigerator, and freezer. For example:
Use up your leftovers. Leftovers are always a great way to cut costs on food because they’re usually cheaper than making something fresh from scratch every time you need it! If possible, make extra portions when cooking so that there is some leftover after dinner and lunchtime (and breakfast). This will allow for more meals later on in the week or month without having to spend too much money at once on ingredients needed for new dishes again and again.
4. Learn to cook better
Many people in Nigeria live on a tight budget and often rely on instant noodles to get through the week. This is not an ideal situation because these processed foods are high in sodium, low in nutrients, and can be very expensive. A much better option is to learn how to cook healthy meals for yourself using fresh ingredients.
There are many ways you can prepare your food so that it’s both nutritious and cost-effective:
Learn how to cook with bulk ingredients like beans, lentils, and other legumes instead of meat because they are cheaper but just as filling (and healthier). You will also cut down on waste if you buy only what you need for each meal or recipe rather than throwing away leftovers after each meal because there was too much meat in the pot when making chili or stewed chicken again the next day. By preparing all dishes this way, you may find yourself eating less meat overall which means even more savings!
5. Cook meals in bulk and freeze them for later use
Cooking in bulk saves time and money. Buying in bulk is the best way to cut down on costs, especially if you have a large family or group of friends that can help eat it. If you’re cooking for one or two people, buying pre-made items from the grocery store will usually be cheaper than making everything from scratch.
When you cook multiple meals at once, they each need their pans and pots. This means that you might end up with a lot of dirty dishes after cooking every meal separately instead of just making one big batch at once! It’s easy to avoid this problem by simply freezing each dish after it’s finished cooking so that all your dishes are ready whenever you want them without having any extra work involved (i.e., no washing).
6. Visit the farmer’s market
Another great way to find delicious and healthy food on a budget is by visiting your local farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets are a great way to meet the people who grow your food, and they’re also an excellent opportunity for you to learn about new foods and new ways to prepare them (since there are probably some things at the farmers’ market that you’ve never tried before).
They are in most cases cheaper and healthier. When you buy local products, you are reducing the cost of transportation that comes along with importing foods from other countries. This will also help to reduce your carbon footprint by not emitting CO2 into the environment from transporting goods across seas or air.
7. Buy seasonal products
Buy seasonal produce whenever possible since it tends towards being less expensive than imported fruits/vegetables during off-season months – therefore saving money while still getting good nutrition from nutrient-dense foods like leafy greens which tend not to be as tasty when grown elsewhere but do grow abundantly here year-round!
8. Buy generic brands over name brands
Generic brands are usually cheaper than name-brand foods. They may look similar, but there’s a good chance that they’re made using the same ingredients by the same company and in the same factories. These products tend to be less expensive than name brands because they contain the same ingredients at a lower cost. And since many generic foods are made from identical recipes, there’s no reason why they should cost more than their name-brand counterparts!
This means that generic brands are often just as good as their name-brand counterparts, even though they cost less. They can be found in the same aisle as name brands, so you don’t have to go searching for them either!
9. Buy affordable protein options
Eat less meat and dairy products if you don’t need them in your diet or if their prices have gotten too high for your budget (for example milk). Meat has been known for being one of the most expensive items on sale at supermarkets–even though its nutritional value is low compared with other foods like beans which offer more nutrients at a cheaper price point! Consider finding alternatives such as tofu (a soy product) or wheat gluten instead; these plant-based options are healthier than red meats like beef while offering almost identical taste profiles when prepared properly in our favorite dishes.
10. Shop the store’s sales and clearance sections.
One of the easiest ways to save money while grocery shopping is to shop for in-season produce. You may be able to find the same fruits and vegetables at a lower price at another time of year, but they won’t taste as good or be as fresh.
You can also save money by buying items that are on sale. The store often posts signs advertising these sales and does so for several days to get customers in their doors more often. This means you can always pick up some great deals if you’re paying attention!
Another way to save money at the grocery store is by buying clearance items from either their warehouse or clearance aisle (or both!). Doing so will give you access to many great bargains that would otherwise be unavailable for purchase until after their expiration date has passed
Check out what’s on sale at grocery stores near where you live & buy those items instead of ones that aren’t discounted but are still priced higher than usual prices across Nigeria – even if these places aren’t as convenient compared with other stores nearby.
Take advantage of coupons, discounts, and deals. Coupons are a great way to save money.
You can find coupons online, or in print at the grocery store. Some stores will offer a discount on your first time shopping there, and others may have loyalty programs that give you special discounts if you shop there regularly. Stores often offer student discounts and senior citizen discounts as well.
Grocery List for Eating Healthy on a Budget
The following is a list of foods to buy in bulk and then freeze. These are good buys because they’re usually cheaper than buying them fresh, and they last longer once you’ve frozen them (which means you can use them for several months). They’re also great because they’ll help keep your grocery bills down in the long run!
- Grains (such as rice or oats) that aren’t already prepackaged in individual servings
- Beans: Beans are another inexpensive source of protein that also happens to be full of fiber and other nutrients
- Eggs (they’re cheap and full of protein)
- Peanut butter (also high in protein and good for you)
- Carrots and celery (cheap vegetables that are good for you)
- Leafy vegetables like spinach, pumpkin (ugu), efo riro, etc., but have a refrigerator to preserve them.
- Whole wheat from local markets, and processed to make flour for different food types. Or you can buy the already milled type and use it.
- Fresh fruits like oranges, avocados, bananas, pawpaw, watermelon, etc.
- Fresh tomatoes and pepper and the list go on.
Eating healthy can be done without breaking the bank
Eat more vegetables, you can buy them from your local market. Vegetables are usually very cheap, and they’re full of nutrients that your body needs. Try to include at least one or two kinds of vegetables in each meal.
Use less meat, fish, and eggs. Meat can be quite expensive if you buy it at the supermarket (especially if it’s frozen), so try to limit your intake or buy cheaper cuts of meat like chicken thighs instead of breast fillets. You can also replace some or all animal products with beans, lentils, and tofu for protein sources as well as soy milk as an alternative to cow’s milk (and leave out the sugar).
What we’ve tried to do in this post, is to explain how you can eat healthy on a budget. These are all general guidelines and tips that can be applied anywhere in the world. You don’t need any special knowledge or equipment either. Just follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to eating healthy without going broke!