Food shortages and increased costs – 4 tips to stick to your plan
Recent news and trips to the supermarket have highlighted that fresh fruits and vegetables are only sometimes available and that their cost keeps increasing. I can see how this can be disheartening when you are trying to follow a plan full of fresh and healthy vegetables and fruits.
Does this mean you have to give up your health goals until shortages finish, or do you get a pay rise to afford fresh berries on your morning porridge? Nope – below are some tips on keeping on including plenty of healthy foods, fibre and micronutrients in your diet without breaking the bank!
4 ways to consume healthy foods for less
Buy frozen fruits/vegetables
There is nothing wrong with them! Frozen peas, broccoli, mixed Mediterranean vegetables and berries are excellent. Many studies show that frozen vegetables actually have a higher vitamin C content than fresh ones, as those are frozen as soon as they are picked. Frozen fruit/vegetables also tend to have fewer histamines, which develop when fresh produce is left to ripen on supermarket shelves. Frozen herbs are also great – full of micronutrients, antioxidants and flavours as well as taste!
Buy in-season vegetables
Shortages and increased costs are noticeable for imported goods – cherries don’t grow in the UK in late February! Try to buy local produce which is in season: beetroot, purple sprouting broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage (red, savoy and white), carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes, rhubarb, salsify, shallots, spinach, spring greens, spring onions, squash, swede, turnips, apples and pears are all in season now in the UK.
While a rocket and tomato Italian-style salad could be what you had in mind, you can easily swap it for a yoghurt-based coleslaw with cabbage, carrots and apples – all in season and UK produced, so likely to be cheaper and easier to find. In-season vegetables are also richer in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – a win on the nutritional side!
Don’t snob “humble” fruits/vegetables
Plenty of recipes feature exotic, out-of-season or unusual fruits and vegetables – I think about beautiful breakfast bowls with passion fruit, acai berries and fresh coconut. But what about overnight oats with grated apples? It might sound less appealing, but it is nutritionally excellent! Warm up some frozen berries to add on the top, alongside nuts and seeds, and you will have a beautiful breakfast!
Vegetables such as onions and cabbages are massively underrated but are very nutrient-dense. Onions are a great source of prebiotic fibre and antioxidant quercetin (supportive and balancing of the immune system), while red cabbages are a source of antioxidant anthocyanins supportive of the cardiovascular system.
Try new recipes
Many times we just buy the same product as it is easier – we know we like it and we know how to cook it. Once per week, try to cook something different from what is available and is cheap in supermarkets. Baked onions are an excellent side, and cauliflower baked with tahini is delicious (you must try it!). Get inspired by blogs and websites featuring easy recipes with in-season produce, including BBC Good Food!
If you'd like to learn more about healthy eating on a budget, feel free to reach out to me.