Changes in food choices can be a way to save a few bucks amid skyrocketing inflation. But surprisingly, we can also take the opportunity to recover our health.
Malta is the most obese country in Europe. And a recent survey launched by Lovin Malta shed light on the fact that healthy food can be downright expensive. At least compared to anything one can find in a pastizzi store.
But in truth, some of the cheapest foods in the world can also be some of the healthiest. Especially if they are plant-based or locally grown.
With that being said, what are the foods to look for to save some money but also get your health back?
1: Increase the intake of plant foods
In a country teeming with fruit and vegetable vendors bringing fresh, local and seasonal produce right to your doorstep, it’s impossible to ignore the opportunity.
Fruits and vegetables are one way to go. Technically, fruit is nature’s candy. Therefore, spending €2.69 on a whole kilo of apples seems like a good alternative compared to buying the same number of conventional chocolate bars (around €12-€13 per kilo).
Chewing nature’s produce has also been shown to be more filling, considering the added fiber content.
Fruits and vegetables are not the beginning and the end. Considering Malta’s climate, beans are also plentiful. And thank goodness for that, because beans, like all legumes, are packed with fiber, antioxidants, and of course, protein. Best of all, they only cost you a measly €0.60.
Beans are also a key ingredient found in many traditional Maltese recipes, such as the beloved kusksuif not just a fresh summer salad.
2: Replace all drinks with water
Let’s be honest; most drinks are rubbish compared to water. Expensive garbage. You’ve got your sodas, your caramel crappo-frappo-ccinos, your flavored waters, and a bunch of other stuff.
These are essentially water-based drinks tainted with nasty stuff designed to give off an amazing flavor and/or color. Sugar, industrial seed oils, preservatives, artificial sweeteners… all the calories with no nutritional benefit.
So what purpose do they serve? None, except 20 seconds of euphoria that gives you when you drink them.
Substituting these beverages for water can have a profound impact on our health. Scientists even put this to the test by having overweight women switch from sweetened beverages to water and tracked them for up to a year.
Despite the drink in question being a ‘diet drink’, these women lost weight while enjoying a host of other health benefits that only increased over time.
Pro Tip: Spending the extra dollar to install reverse osmosis in your kitchen will also save you more in the long run.
3: Fasting is also quite cheap
As we seek to cut expenses and pounds, we can revel in the understanding that skipping a strange meal entirely may be the best way to address both. At least sometimes.
Skipping lunch every day for just one week will reduce your weekly meal intake by 33%, if you’re eating at least three meals in a day.
What a great way to make your body lighter while keeping your wallet heavy. And it makes splurging on that meal that much better.
4: Cook at home instead of eating out
We all love a good old-fashioned takeout. And there is nothing wrong with that. But if you’re looking to cut costs while making sure you get all the good stuff on your plate, eat home-cooked food as often as you can.
Arguably, the whole family can eat for the same price as one or two people buying meals at a restaurant, depending on the restaurant of course.
Buying seasonal natural products from your local suppliers is a start. And one can only take advantage of the initiative by trying healthy recipes from their favorite health influencer on social networks, at least if it is a healthy meal.
5: Local fruit and vegetable vendors are your friends
Shopping for groceries is not something we usually think about a lot, but even that has to change. In particular, obtaining the products from local suppliers.
You know those: those fancy trucks that sell every superfood under the sun.
There are many reasons why taking advantage of local fruit and vegetable vendors is a good thing. It is healthier, tastier, more sustainable for the environment, better for the economy and, of course, easier on the wallet.
Since COVID-19, farmers have experienced a “massive reduction in sales”, after people who stayed behind opted for takeout dinners, rather than buying directly from the vendors themselves.
Redirecting your spending towards these guys will not only be good for your wallet, but can potentially breathe new life into a dying breed that holds the key to a healthy diet.
6: Walk more
While exercise is important in all its forms, you might be surprised to learn that one type of exercise stood out for its ability to increase life expectancy. And that exercise is walking.
Walking falls into a type of activity known as aerobic threshold training (ATR); a form of training that makes use of the body’s fat-burning engine.
The form of training comes with a welcome advantage: that it does not require a great deal of effort to participate. And not only can it be done for free, but walking could help you save on fuel costs – a one-two punch!
Inflation has affected us all. But what if we could change it all with a few lifestyle choices?
Who knows? We might even have a six pack by the time the inflation rate starts to return to normal.
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