Budget-Friendly Nutrition: A Dietician’s Top Tips

By: Steff Willis

Prioritising your health can be challenging at the best of times.

Diet culture, finding the motivation… add in the cost-of-living pressures and it’s starting to feel like you’re scaling Mount Impossible!

In a recent interview focused on budget nutrition, sports dietician Hannah Wilson said she understands the pressures her clients face every day, and admits she experiences them herself.

“It’s hard to make changes” Hannah said. “It’s hard to get started.”

Defining ‘Healthy Eating’

In contrast to the narrow definition fraught with misconceptions propagated by the diet industry, Hannah encourages a broader outlook.

Hannah emphasizes that a healthy diet is subjective and should align with personal values, emotional wellbeing but usually includes a wide variety of foods. From veggies to meat, grains, and cereals, healthy eating comprises all food groups and, importantly, fun foods.

“It’s about variety. Let’s not chop anything out because it all has its purpose. So, it’s not just organic extra lean kale or whatever. It’s all foods.”

Creating a Minimum and Gold Standard

Before diving into practical tips, Hannah emphasised the importance of understanding one’s motivation and confidence levels in order to make changes. She suggests a rating system, where individuals rate their motivation to make certain changes and their confidence in making these alterations.

For those times when you aren’t feeling confident or motivated, Hannah encouraged defining a ‘minimum’ and ‘gold’ standard when it comes to health.

“In high motivation times, hit the gold standard, you’ll get the wins on the board, you’ll feel amazing. But in the times of low motivation, find a minimum standard that you’re like, okay, I still feel good here… I’m able to be consistent with this.”

The minimum standard is about setting a realistic baseline of health behaviours that you can maintain consistently. On the other hand, the gold standard involves heightened goals aimed at optimal health, pursued when motivation and confidence levels are high.

Practical Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget

While there’s no “one way” to be healthier, Hannah provides these tips for those wanting to make improvements.

Focus on What You’re Buying:

Evaluating if the foods you’re purchasing align with your health goals can considerably help manage budget spending. For example, often people end up wasting food through the week due to a lack of meal planning. Having a fortnightly meal plan that can be recycled helps minimise food wastage and saves money.

Align Spending With Your Values:

Spend mindfully on aspects that reflect your values effectively. For instance, eating out or drinking might be areas where you find you’re spending money on things that don’t align with your health values.

Choose Budget-Friendly Nutrient Sources:

Opt for frozen fruits and vegetables and canned goods, which are more affordable and also nutrient-rich. Reducing meat consumption and substituting it with plant-based sources of proteins, such as legumes, beans, or textured vegetable proteins, can also be beneficial for both health and budget.

Track Your Spending:

Finally, as an exercise, Hannah recommends tracking your weekly or monthly spending. This exercise can provide insight into areas where spending could be curtailed and identify strategies to save money without compromising on healthy eating.

Check out Hannah’s website for recipe ideas.

Article supplied with thanks to 96five.

Feature image:

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