Tips for eating healthy with the rising cost of living

Each visit to the grocery store brings new price shocks as consumers in South Africa find themselves in a battle to make ends meet each month. The dismal news is that fuel and food prices are expected to continue rising during the second half of this year, keeping low- and middle-income consumers under significant and continuing financial pressure. According to Maria van der Merwe, President of ADSA (South African Dietetics Association), the CPI for food and non-alcoholic foods in South Africa has increased at a higher rate than the headline CPI since April 2020. This means that the relative cost of food has been increasing more than other consumer goods and more than household income, she says. We have seen that the price of sunflower oil, chicken, beef offal, instant coffee, oranges, dried beans and cheddar cheese all rose by more than 10% year-on-year from April 2021 to April 2022; compared to the higher annual inflation range of 6% for the Reserve Bank of South Africa.”

If you haven’t taken a close look at your household budget to find ways to cut costs, this might be a good time to get it done. The key when it comes to your family’s food budget is to reduce and contain costs without giving in to quality. Registered Dietitian Zitandel Mvuno says, “There has never been a better time than now to focus on nutrient-rich foods. What you want to do is find financial savings by cutting back on those nutrient-dense, energy-dense foods, which are working against the goal of your family doing Choosing healthy foods.Reducing your purchases of low-nutrient-dense snack foods, sugary drinks, sweets, fast food, and store-bought baked goods will free up some of your budget so that you can easily afford a varied, nutrient-dense diet.What you want to avoid is cutting out High-quality nutrients for cheaper foods that offer you fewer nutritional benefits. It is entirely possible to tighten your belt and continue to eat healthy.”

If you don’t already have one, setting a monthly food budget is the first step to finding savings and even avoiding supermarket bumps. Simply changing some food shopping habits can help you get a great deal of additional value. Planning your meals in advance enables you to be specific about what you buy, reduces impulsive spending and food waste, and allows you to take advantage of deals and specials. Changing to less expensive brands, ditching expensive components for more affordable components and buying in bulk where possible can result in many small savings adding up a lot by the end of the month. Cooking from scratch and preparing more meals at home is not only affordable, but also promotes healthy eating.

Says Mfono, “What is important is that there are many ways in which we can increase our food budget without compromising nutritional quality. This is the time to take steps to reduce food waste in your home and ensure that the food in your kitchen is properly stored. Just one example is potato storage. In a brown paper bag in a cool, dark cupboard Can last up to a month without turning green and buds deteriorating Well-organized fridge and freezer spaces allow you to shop and cook in bulk, saving you time and reducing fuel and energy costs while avoiding food waste “.

Registered dietitian, Ritha Harms, who serves on the ADSA Executive Committee, offers the following tips for healthy eating on a budget:

Do not reduce your intake of vegetables and fruits

Remember that fresh produce is exempt from VAT!

Focus on eating fresh vegetables and fruits in season

Choose whole vegetable and fruit options whether they are cut, prepared or prepackaged at higher prices

Create a grocery group with friends, family and neighbors so that you can buy vegetables and fruits in bulk and share them among your family

Look for specials on frozen vegetables and stock up on them if you have room in the freezer

Grow your own vegetables at home or in your area

Be wise about pills and pills

Focus on high-fiber whole grain options such as whole wheat bread and brown rice. It keeps you full for longer and provides essential nutrients

Be aware that ready-to-eat cereal can cost more than twice the price of oats or cornmeal. Corn has the added benefit of being fortified with essential nutrients, and oats are an excellent source of fiber and will keep you full for longer.

Dry goods can be stored for long periods, so buy in bulk and look for special deals

Try to include a variety of grains in your diet, such as millet, barley, pearl, wheat, pearl and sorghum.

Expand your protein sources

The protein component of a meal is probably the most expensive food item, so reducing your intake of red meat, chicken, and fresh fish is often the easiest way to reduce your food cost. While protein-rich foods are important in a healthy diet, there are sources other than meat, such as eggs, dairy products, beans, lentils, and chickpeas.

Have at least one meat-free day during the week and eat plant proteins like soybeans, beans and lentils instead, along with whole grain starch

Nutritious beans or lentils can also be added to meat dishes such as ground beef, curries, soups and stews to make the meat go even further while adding nutritional value to your meal.

Consider canned fish such as tuna, sardines, or sardines if fresh fish is unavailable or reasonably priced.

Milk sold in plastic bags is cheaper than milk packed in cartons or cartons

Buy a big bowl of yoghurt as this is cheaper than buying small packages

Use fats in moderation

This is an important guide to healthy eating, and the high prices of cooking oils are a good incentive to put it into practice.

Find ways to cut back on foods that are fried by steaming, boiling, microwaving, and grilling instead

Use small amounts of canola oil when cooking, which has a similar composition of healthy unsaturated fats than more expensive options such as olive, nut or avocado oil.

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