While you may be trying hard to stick to a tight budget, there are certain foods you will want to spend money on. Certain foods are better when fresh or when organic. They don’t just taste better, but they will also be better for your overall health.
With the rest of the foods, you can stick to the cheaper options. Certain items are worth buying frozen or in bulk, so you can keep the costs down. When you save on them, you have the money to spend on the more important foods you need to put in your trolley every week.
Here are the five that you need to start spending money on every single week. You will not regret the decision.
Balsamic, Apple Cider or Wine Vinegar
Don’t just jump straight for the malt or white vinegar when you do your food shop. You want to spend a little extra money on this condiment. Choose balsamic, apple cider or even wine vinegar. These types of vinegar are better quality than your bulk-purchased options and come with a variety of extra health benefits.
You can also replace your ready-made salad dressings from the right type of vinegar. A little olive oil and balsamic vinegar are delicious over the top of a salad, while apple cider vinegar can help to add that slightly sweeter taste to your pasta dishes.
When you add better vinegar, you will add more antioxidants and other nutrients to your body. Apple cider vinegar has been used for healing for centuries. It can help to clean out wounds, support the gum health and boost the immune system. Because of the antioxidants, it’s possible to support the cell development and repair process.
These types of vinegar can be used for cleaning, with apple cider vinegar your likely best option. You get a natural cleanser that is antibacterial. It can also be added to your skin and help to remove dirt and debris from pores, reducing the risk of acne. Because of its acidic nature, it will also help to lighten the skin and tone it. Again, apple cider vinegar is your best option, but you can use balsamic and wine vinegar if you want.
The best thing to buy is organic apple cider vinegar with the mother. This will keep the probiotics and other nutrients that are lost in the processing of other types of vinegar. You’ll support your digestive health instantly, reducing inflammation and supporting the good bacteria.
One of the great things about vinegar is you won’t likely need to add it to your shopping list every week. Once or twice a month will be enough, depending on how you use it, so it’s worth spending a little extra money on. Know more about balsamic vinegar and GERD here.
Buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Like vinegar, you want to make sure you spend extra money on your oil. Many of us buy vegetable or corn oil because it’s cheaper and you can get in bulk. After all, oil doesn’t go off, right?
The problem with the cheaper options is they’re not good for the body. They’re full of saturated fats and offer no nutritional benefits. You want to opt for the oils that have monounsaturated oils. These are the ones that won’t block the arteries and will help you lose weight.
Olive oil is one of the best options in the store, but you don’t just want to buy any olive oil. Spend the money on the extra virgin olive oil. This is made from the first pressing from any olive used, so it’s not just the healthiest but will also be the freshest. You’ll get a slightly more peppery taste with this type of oil.
The downside with extra virgin olive oil is that it only lasts around six months. If you use it daily for your cooking, you should find that the oil never really goes to waste. You will know when the oil starts to go off as it will start to separate and taste stronger than it should.
Olive oil is perfect for your salad dressings. It can also replace other oils and butter in your meals and your beauty products. You can use the oil as a base for your skin as it is full of antioxidants and will help to nourish and support the health of your skin. Even if you have naturally oily skin, the olive oil will help reduce the blockages to your pores, so you don’t suffer from extra acne.
Organic Vegetables that Are Locally Grown Will Be the Best
You will likely add vegetables to your grocery shop. There’s this idea that if you’re adding vegetables in, you’re doing some good. While there are certain vegetables that can be frozen without too many detrimental effects on their nutrients (such as peas and sweetcorn), there are others that will be much better for you fresh.
In fact, there are certain vegetables that will be much better for you organic and grown locally. Organic vegetables lack the pesticides and other chemicals used to help increase growth and avoid pests. These chemicals can lead to various health problems and have been linked to the increase of sensitivities, intolerances, and allergies.
When vegetables are grown locally, you will also get a fresher taste. The food doesn’t have as far to travel and there’s no need to freeze or treat it to make sure it lasts the journey. You’ll get food the way it was supposed to be intended, which means plenty of nutrients within whichever vegetables you choose to buy.
Plus, by supporting local businesses you’re helping families nearby support themselves. There are a lot of people looking for the cheapest deal and you’re just helping to line the pockets of the one percent.
Your local farmer’s market is going to be the best place to find the freshest options. Many farmers will offer a range of seasonal options that are much healthier for you. You’ll get juicy tomatoes in the summer, perfect squash in the winter and much more. Some farmers may even offer vegetable box schemes to help you keep the cost to a minimum.
If you’re going to spend money on anything weekly, this is the area you want to look at.
Stock Up on Greek Yogurt
You’ve likely heard of the health benefits of yogurt. It’s certainly something that supports the health of the gut due to the probiotics. But you need to get the right option and that means spending a little extra money on your weekly grocery shops. While the flavored batches of yogurts tend to be cheaper, you want to spend extra money on Greek yogurt. This can have a stronger taste, so Natural plain yogurt is a good secondary option.
Greek yogurt is packed with extra protein and is far creamier than other options in the store. The straining process removes the whey, but it keeps double the protein to help support your muscle growth and make you feel fuller for longer.
There’s also the lower sugar count. This will depend on the brand, but most Greek yogurt doesn’t have added sugars in it or any artificial flavors. Those flavored yogurts usually have more sugar than candy bars. The sugars end up causing problems within the gut and can lead to extra bad bacteria, which does the opposite that yogurt should.
Look out for Greek yogurt that is packed with live cultures. They are the good bacteria that help to improve the health of the gut, supporting digestive tract health. With the right balance of good bacteria, the bad bacteria are kept at bay and the gut can absorb more nutrients from the food.
You can use natural fruit and raw honey to help flavor your yogurt. Raw honey is another expensive option but something worth buying to avoid the extra added sugars in the processed products.
Sustainable Fish Sources Are Your Friend
When it comes to fish, we tend to go for the cheap frozen options. That’s if we buy from the grocery store at all. Fish is expensive and sometimes it can seem like it’s too expensive for our budgets. Well, it’s something that you want to spend money on every week.
Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are essential nutrients that support the cells in the body, reducing the risk of many cancers. Fatty acids have also been linked to better brain health, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and improving concentration and reducing mental fatigue.
Sustainable fish sources are the most important options, and therefore fish can be expensive. The fish stocks are those that replenish naturally and those catching the fish are concerned about the health of the fish and the welfare of the oceans. The sustainable fish can roam in their natural habitat and don’t suffer from over-fishing.
Because they roam naturally, they are also free of antibiotics and hormones. You want to look for hormone and antibiotic free versions of all meat, but fish especially. There are certain types of fish that are suffering in numbers and will affect your health because of the use of hormones and antibiotics.
Antibiotics can lead to more resistant forms of bacteria growing in your body. The antibiotics are left behind in the cooking and pass into your body. When you suffer from illnesses that require antibiotics, there are many forms that have already grown a resistance against some because you’ve added them to your body on numerous occasions.
Then the hormones can lead to other health problems. They disrupt your own hormonal balance, leading to some issues like depression, PCOS, and other problems.
Fish from sustainable sources are also much tastier. Since they don’t have the hormones and caught from their natural habitats, they are much fresher. You can go to your local fishmongers or discuss the sources of the fish at your local grocery store.
You don’t need a lot of fish in your diet. Just 1-2 portions a week is enough, which will help to keep the costs down.
Extra Money Doesn’t Always Mean Better Food, but There Are Times It Really Does
You’ll hear that you don’t always need to spend extra money on your food; that it’s all about the branding and packaging. That is certain it the case with some food, but not with all. Sometimes you want to spend more. In certain cases, the extra cost is due to the better processing or the better farming techniques. The food is available less to suit the demand, so the higher price supports that. At the same time, the companies need to make a profit, so must charge more because the processing costs more.
In many cases, you’re sourcing food from better places. You’re supporting local businesses and getting food that isn’t riddled with pesticides, antibiotics and other chemicals. While you’re getting fresher food, you will also get food that is better for your own bodies.
The five foods above are all those that involve the health benefits. The higher price point is because they’re more expensive to make. You can still find some non-branded options, but the prices will still usually be higher than some of the larger bulk options in the stores. However, they are worth adding to your shopping on a weekly basis.
Start with One and Work Your Way Up
The best thing you can do is start with one new food item. You can start with something that may last you longer than a week, so you don’t see the high increase in your food bills. Once you get used to that being part of your shopping, you can add another option to the list.
You’ll soon find that you barely notice the price increases. If you really are struggling to stick to the budget, there will be other items that you can take out; items that are worth sacrificing on a regular basis to make the most of the healthier options.