Spending too much on takeaways? If so, you’re not alone – most Aussies spend at least a third of their food budget on takeaway meals, with less people preparing homemade food than ever before.
Although takeaways can sometimes seem cheaper than making food at home, they’re more costly in the long run when you consider both finances and your health.
Accessing fast foods has never been easier, so it’s easy to see why many of us are more inclined to click a few buttons on a delivery service app rather than hitting the kitchen. But they tend to be addictive foods too, keeping you full for a short time so you’ll end up buying more. Combined with delivery fees, the cost of eating a lot of takeaways foods can escalate quickly over time.
And if the cost isn’t enough to make you think twice about grabbing the nearest takeaway, most fast foods are low on nutrients and expose you to refined sugars, oils, and too much sodium. This can result in multiple health problems, from frequent headaches to more serious chronic diseases like cancer. In short, homemade meals provide a nice break from this costly habit.
Here are five ways you can make both healthier and cheaper food at home.
#1 – Buy ingredients in bulk
The first step to cooking healthier and more inexpensive meals at home is buying ingredients in bulk. When you purchase ingredients in bigger packages, you’ll pay less per unit. Also, you’ll be more likely to get discounts for buying more at once.
When shopping online, take advantage of special coupons and discount codes. However, be careful not to purchase heavily discounted food with little shelf-life remaining unless you can use it immediately.
#2 – Stock up on in-season ingredients
Stocking up on in-season ingredients is another way to spend less during your grocery shopping. Fresh fruits and vegetables are much cheaper when they’re in season.
Stay alert to find out what’s readily available at different times of the year, then buy and store in your freezer. You can also tweak your recipes to accommodate vegetables and fruits in season so that you’re always spending as little as possible on ingredients.
#3 – Add fibre to your diet
Fibre is one of the most lacking nutrients in fast foods. This is because most takeaway meals are made using refined carb sources. And, if you’re a big consumer of junk food, there’s a high possibility you don’t eat enough fibre-rich vegetables or fruits. You should know that a lack of fruits and veggies can cause a high risk of obesity and chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, Healthcanal’s experts say.
When switching to homemade meals, include whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits in your recipes. High-fibre foods are both nutritious and filling, therefore, you’ll be saving money on snacks too because you’ll be dealing with fewer hunger pangs or unhealthy cravings.
#4 – Season food with simple ingredients
One reason restaurant food tastes so amazing is because of the seasonings and dressings used. Often, these are highly processed products laden with unhealthy sugars, artificial flavours, and preservatives. At home, opt for fresh herbs and natural spices to season your food. This way, your dishes will taste better without exposing you to unhealthy ingredients.
#5 – Use low fat recipes
With fast food, you’ll be eating a lot of simple carbs and unhealthy fats, and that’s a dangerous combination. Make up for this by trying low-fat recipes at home. These recipes usually include minimally processed ingredients and monounsaturated oils such as olive and canola.
Also, use less cooking oil or butter in your cooking. Using quality-made non-stick cookware for these recipes will be ideal because it’ll keep the food from sticking to the pot even when little oil is used.
#6 – Save money and eat healthier today
Once you get into the habit of making meals at home, you’ll find yourself craving fast foods less. Healthy homemade meals increases your energy levels and mental clarity. This is far more desirable than the digestive discomfort junk food leaves you in sometimes.
Switching to homemade food will also be lowering your risk of health problems such as obesity, high cholesterol, and depression, all tied to increased fast food consumption.