A high supermarket bill has discouraged many people from adopting healthy eating habits. There is a belief that high-quality food is more expensive, which leads many people to replace fresh produce with ultra-processed ones in their shopping cart.
Nutritionist Irani Gomez dos Santos Souza, Nutrition Course Coordinator at Faculdade Santa Marcelina, in São Paulo, ensures that it is possible to eat well and healthily and without spending too much. To do this, she recommends making simple adjustments to the routine.
“If we consider that healthy eating is associated with consuming less processed food, preferably fresh, from the harvest with easy access to it, we will be able to get healthy and cheaper food,” says the professor.
See five tips from a nutritionist for healthy, inexpensive eating:
What plan to buy
When we buy on the spot, we tend to take in more than we really need, and put less healthy products in the cart, with lots of salt, fat, artificial spices, and extra sugar.
Try making one Shopping list before leaving home. Include fruits, vegetables and vegetables from the harvest, that is, those in the production period. In addition to being healthy, oversupply reduces the value of the food.
“Fiber is always welcome, but if whole foods seem pricey, consider the option of including oats, flaxseeds, quinoa, wheat bran, and chia, among others,” Irani suggests.
Less processed foods
Studies on food and quality of life show that the more natural a diet, the healthier it is. The proof of that is Mediterranean diet.
Therefore, avoid eating ultra-processed foods, such as sugary drinks, snacks, chocolate, and instant soup, and prefer fresh foods.
The best choices are: fruits, vegetables, and green vegetables and a few that are processed, including lean meats, beans, pasta, rice, milk and dairy products with low fat content.
When we cook at home, we control all the foods we put on our plate, ensuring the nutritional quality of the meals.
“However, we need to be careful about the food we buy to produce recipes. Avoid processed spices, fatty foods, and foods high in salt and sugar,” warns the nutritionist.
Replace the proteins
A varied diet is essential for health, and this includes protein consumption. They are responsible for the structures and formation of cells intended for vital processes. However, the high cost of red meat has caused many Brazilians to remove the main source of protein from their shopping list.
Some foods of plant origin and rich in proteins can be included in the daily menu to avoid nutritional losses, such as all types of beans, lentils, soybeans, chickpeas and peas for example.
“To avoid anemia, we can consider dark green vegetables, and beans consuming with foods rich in vitamin C to enhance iron absorption, such as tangerines and oranges, for example,” he explains.
Prefer whole foods
Whole foods preserve nutrients better. Although it has the highest value, the nutritionist explains that it offers better value for money.
“The cost of food cannot only be measured by the value on the shelf. What I mean by this is that the cost of brown rice may be higher, but it will be lower on your plate and will bring more satiety. So, in fact, it will be cheaper because the person will consume less, plus receive more health benefits,” he explains.
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