It can be difficult to stick to a healthy eating and weight loss diet when you’re a new mum as you can often turn to ready-made and processed foods – which is why we created our Healthy Mummy Smoothie which is quick to make and full of nutrients.
Sometimes the last thing you want to do is spend time in front of the oven, cooking meals from scratch. But there are some ways that you can still eat healthily, whilst on a budget, without spending hours slaving in front of the oven.
The best thing that you can do to stick to a budget is to plan your meals for the week. On a Sunday, or whenever you get free time, make a list of all the meals you plan to make throughout the week. Then, make a list of the ingredients you’ll need to make these foods.
Where possible, buy foods that can be kept in your store cupboard so that you can rustle up a meal without having to nip out to the shops again for fresh ingredients. Here are some of the best healthy foods that you can buy whilst on a budget.
If you have chickens, or if you live close to a farm, you can get eggs for very little money. Even if you buy eggs from the supermarket, you can get six free range eggs for very little money. They are an excellent source of protein, they’re filling and they’re super versatile – try having scrambled eggs for breakfast, egg salad sandwiches for lunch and a veg-packed frittata for your dinner.
Beans are also an excellent source of protein. Whichever beans you buy, be it butter beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, chickpeas etc., they are packed with protein, super versatile and cheap as chips. Try making salads with them, or use them to thicken curries or soups. You could also whiz up a quick savoury or sweet hummus for lunch.
Potatoes are super cheap and are actually very nutritious if you serve them with the skins on, as this is where most of the vitamins are. Oven baking them keeps them healthy – my favourite way to serve potatoes is to cut them into wedges, toss them with a little oil and paprika, then bake them until crisp in a hot oven. You could also mash them and form them into potato cakes, dice them and chuck them into stir fries or simmer them in soups to give a thick and creamy texture. Eating sweet potatoes and yams will also give you a big helping of beta carotene.
All leafy greens that are dark green in colour are jam packed with iron, folate and other nutrients. Most leafy greens are very cheap and you can also use them in lots of different ways – try adding to your favourite soup, curry or stir fry or serve them as they are with some spices, garlic or just some salt and pepper.
Bananas are incredibly cheap and packed full of potassium. Serve them on sarnies with a little organic peanut butter, whiz them up in smoothies, chop them up and serve them with cereal or yoghurt or just eat them as they are. Bananas are the perfect on-the-go fast food – and most children love them.
Cheap and full of fibre, butternut squash is an excellent food to have in your store cupboard because you can prepare it to be sweet or savoury. Serve it as a side dish, put it into a risotto or soup or try making butternut squash chips instead of potato chips for a super healthy side dish. Toss butternut with a little oil and cinnamon then bake until golden for a sweet snack, or skip the cinnamon and use a little paprika for a savoury snack.
Big bags of pasta are incredibly cheap. Wholemeal pasta is one of the best carbohydrates you can eat, as it releases its energy over a long period of time. Because it’s wholemeal, it has plenty of vitamins and nutrients as well as lots of good energy, and it is super versatile. Serve with a healthy bolognese sauce, an easy tomato pasta sauce or if you like, with a healthy sweet sauce made with a little skimmed milk and unsweetened cocoa powder.
Wild rice, although a little more expensive than plan white rice, is still very cheap in terms of cost per portion and is much, much better for you than regular rice. It is low in fat, packed with protein and fibre, has plenty of potassium and vitamin B and is also richly flavoured. You can serve it in all sorts of ways at any time of the day – as a side dish to regular curry, cold in salads with mixed vegetables and a tangy dressing or with chicken or beef for a protein packed dinner.
If you are ready to lose weight then The Healthy Mummy plans offer a healthy and safe exercise and diet routine that are safe if you are breastfeeding.