Perfect tips from a nutritionist: What to eat if you want a healthy but affordable diet.
If I were planning a lifestyle change now, the global cost of living crisis would be terrifying. Food is expensive. The situation is affecting the buying decisions of more and more Finns. The first thing to start with is pruning vegetables and fruits.
However, healthy eating can be achieved cheaply. We asked a nutritionist for the most important tips to keep costs down while maintaining a healthy diet.
Let's start with the health aspect. Licensed Nutritionist Linda Vidasalo Emphasizes the importance of vegetables. He doesn't cut them because there are cheaper options depending on the season among vegetables and roots.
In general, lifestyle changes and a healthy diet, the importance of various food supplements, vitamins and protein come to the fore, which increases the total amount of grocery shopping. According to Vidasalo, it can mask the intake of adequate protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals with a normal diet.
– It's possible to get all of these from food, so you don't need to take care of them individually.
The nutritionist emphasizes the importance of a varied diet. Combining different food groups guarantees nutritional completeness. However, he does remind us of some supplements like vitamin D intake in winter. In addition, everyone can take into account their individual needs.
Inexpensive choices at the store
Food can easily become one-sided when the goal is to find cheaper alternatives.
Almost half of Finns (45 percent) say they cannot eat half a kilo of fruit and vegetables per day according to nutritional recommendations because they cannot afford it. A third of Finns, on the other hand, reduce their consumption of fruits and vegetables to save costs, according to an international vegetarian report commissioned by Picado.
– This is not necessarily conscious pruning. Many customers say using vegetables should be more affordable, Viitasalo says.
He emphasizes the importance of a varied diet.
– I've found that it's good to take advantage of promotional items, but if you focus on them, eating becomes one-sided.
Along the parade route, you can start your shopping trip from the fruit and vegetable department. From there, we combine the shopping basket with protein and whole grain products. Finally, the nutritionist will complete the package with promotional products.
Cabbage, carrots, beans and lentils are good and inexpensive, but nutritious options. In addition to beans and lentils, eggs are an inexpensive source of protein. Viitasalo loves seasonal vegetables and produce.
In winter, buying cucumbers or tomatoes is too expensive, and instead you may prefer cheaper and better choices according to the harvest season, such as oranges or blood oranges. Seasonal products bring a good variety to the diet, but at the same time they are very affordable. According to Viitasalo, there is no reason to forget about the freezer, because frozen vegetables are cheaper than fresh ones.
Anticipation and planning
When you choose a variety of food items on your plate, it also affects your ability to cope. Viitasalo has observed dietary patterns as the biggest challenge of its own customer base. By adjusting to a more consistent eating rhythm, you'll have more energy to plan future meal days and throughout.
According to Viitasalo, a regular diet significantly improves control.
– Fast food comes into play when a person buys more impulsively. And the price goes up.
Impulse purchases can be controlled with anticipation. Nutritionist recommends planning meals 3-4 days in advance. When there are no impulse buys, buying food-based groceries also reduces the total amount.
A variety of sugary drinks are often bought on the spur of the moment. Viitasalo reminds us that water is an affordable and adequate alternative as a daily thirst drink.
In addition to vegetables, fruits and berries, Viitasalo reminds us of the importance of essential fatty acids. Their intake should be guaranteed regardless of food.
– This is no longer a trend, but especially before, we gave up all fats, and the good fats were forgotten.
Viitasalo recommends fats from fish and plant-based fats.
Dietary changes start from your own starting points. Viitasalo asks you to think about the things in the food that already work and what are the strong areas of the food, where to start creating new ones.