What is eating clean and can I do it on a budget?

vegetables mixClean eating or clean food is really trendy just now,  at it’s simplest it is a way of eating food that has been messed about with less.   Not processed, cooked less or raw, no additives.

There is a lot of hype about it, but using fresh ingredients is never a bad thing. It’s no big deal BUT you do need to be able to cook or at least assemble food without using jars of sauce or delving into the ready meal section.
Vegetables are your friends and your meals should include a good amount of them!  If you survived Veganuary then you are well on your way!

Some say that fresh fruit and veg are too expensive and that those on a budget are forced to eat unhealthily. I can completely appreciate that if you have little free time then cooking from scratch can seem an expensive luxury & often at the end of the day the last thing you want to do is cook for hours. This is why I don’t, and here’s how….

Use your time well

  • Plan what you will eat for the week (or at least a few days and you can fill in with leftovers)
  • Use your free time to cook a big pot of something that you can add to rice or pasta.
  • Don’t cook – eat fresh veg – how about a salad it doesn’t have to be all rabbit food. You can disguise it by stuffing it in pitta breads, wraps or for the real clean experience a lettuce leaf wrap! How about fresh veg crudités and hummus.
  • Stir-fry anything – if you have a decent pan you don’t even need oil. (try not to use pre-made sauces though) Fajitas are easy and you can flavour them simply with ground cumin and some fresh tomato

Shop wisely

Yes a jar of pasta sauce makes a meal and in the scheme of things it’s not that expensive. But really does it have any actual food value in it?  Sugar, salt possible traces of vegetable?

It is possible to buy fruit & vegetables cheaply.

  • If you are in a shared house consider bulk buying large bags of potatoes, carrots, onions etc.
  • Most supermarkets & local veg shops have a section where they put vegetables that are going out of date or perhaps need a bit of picking over.  If you make sure you check it and use it immediately or freeze it – it’s a cheap way to get what you need.
  • Freezing. Don’t throw way left over vegetables or fruit – freeze it.
    Fill an ice-cream tub with leftover fruit and you have ingredients for smoothies
    Leftover veg make great curry or chilli ingredients.
  • Pre-frozen fruit & veg can be a good option, it’s frozen at the peak of freshness so it’s a good compromise for fresh veg especially if you only needs a little each time.
  • Dried beans & lentils – yes they can take some cooking but they are really cheap. Soak them overnight to save time.
  • Eat seasonally the food that’s local and produced at the time of year it’s meant to be, will be cheapest.
  • Canned tomatoes are your friends – they are usually riper than fresh in the UK and they make a great base for a sauce. Look for ones without extra ingredients.

Make food simpler

Less ingredients = easier to understand what’s really in it (easier to make too)

Unless you are allergic or have a dietary / ethical reason for not eating something you don’t need to hit the free from section.  Fresh fruit & veg really are just what they are.

There are some great recipe ideas here  – yes its vegan – that’s purely because many vegan recipes use fresh ingredients – you can always add eggs, meat etc if you wish.

 

 

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