One thing we get asked a lot is if it's expensive to buy healthy and sustainable food. Luckily this does not necessary hold true. Incorporating some small tips and tricks can make a huge difference on your wallet, thereby making healthy eating affordable to anyone. But first of all we would like to say that investing in your own health is actually the most important investment you will make. Not only does it make you healthy and happy, but also mother earth. When you first start to incorporate new things into a diet it may be expensive in the beginning, but once you have bought for example quinoa you will have it for a good while!If you are making changes to your diet, it may be a bit overwhelming at the beginning. Therefore, we wanted to make this guide to see how you can start out with a more sustainable and healthy diet, but still remain on a budget.
#1. Planning is key
Walking into a grocery store hungry can lead to a lot of unnecessary spontaneous food choices. Therefore our first tips is to plan what you are going to buy before going to the store. In addition to saving time and money, this will also contribute to prevent food waste. In Norway, every individual on average throws a way 230 000 tons of food yearly! That means that out of every five grocery bags, one goes straight into the trash. Downloading a app, for example Buy Me A Pie makes planning easy and breasy.
#2. Seasonally based
Buying products according to the season is also a very good advice to bear in mind at the grocery store as seasonal fruits and vegetables are usually cheaper than exotic and imported. In Norway, potatoes, unions, lemons and carrots are in season all year. Oranges are best from October to May, and melons from June to October. Fall is the best season for root vegetables, and early summer is best for local strawberries. If you want to find out what is in season right now you can check out this guide for Norway.
#3. Quality over quantity
Choosing organic food is much better for your health and the environment, and the food will taste much more natural. However, it is not always possible or maybe even affordable to buy organic food. In Norway, organic food is still much more expensive, but luckily due to the increased demand this is starting to change. If you are wondering what is absolutely recommended to buy organic, and what you dont have to worry so much about, you can look at this list: "dirty dozen, clean fifteen". For people eating meat and dairy products, which is actually the most expensive food overall, reducing the quantity and rather investing in quality will contribute to a happier healthier diet and planet.
#4. Buying in bulk
Chickpeas, beans, rice and lentils are cheaper if you chose to buy them in bulk and cook them yourself. Other items you can buy in bulk are spices, nuts and flowers. If you go to stores such as Mølleren Sylvia or Økohjertet in Oslo, you can even buy in bulk without using any plastic to wrap your food. In other countries you have stores such as:
- Gran, Malmö in Malmö, Sweden
- Maria Granel in Lisbon, Portugal
- Unpackaged in London, UK
- Granel in various locations, Spain
- Unverpackt, Germany
#5. Online grocery shopping
If you want to buy superfood, supplements, toothpaste or a great shampoo, we really recommend iherb. Iherb is online store in the US and it takes everything from 1-3 weeks to recieve your items. Depending on the country you order from, different rules and regulations apply so you should always check this out before buying. Sometimes it is better to buy many small packages than one big one. Some of our favorite products from iHerb are Calm magnesium, chia seeds, hemp hearts, raw cacao powder, nutritional yeast and spirulina. Amazon is also a great place you buy food in bulk.
#6. Buying frozen food
Frozen food is usually a lot cheaper than buying everything fresh and berries and vegetables are great to have in the freezer as they don't get bad easily. If you are unable to eat your bananas, mangos, avocados or other fruits, it is also really smart og put them in the freezer before they go bad and use them in a smoothie later on.