They say your health is your wealth and that is so true when you consider a well man has many wishes but a sick man has only one. The world of natural, healthy food seems to have gone mad with the average price of an organic apple now matching that of a hamburger in Macdonald’s; is it any wonder more and more kids are suffering from obesity, diabetes and a plethora of other diseases which just a few generations ago were rare or even unknown in the younger generations.
Since becoming a parent and giving up pursuing a high paid career I have committed to full-time attachment parenting without any substantial added incomes. I have had to learn first hand how to make a budget stretch whilst maintaining the health of all the family.
Tip 1: Stop buying pre-packaged and pre-made foods, they are expensive and have poor quality nutrient content. Instead shop mainly in the outside aisles of the supermarkets where most of the fresh food is and watch your shopping budget stretch further. Swap sugary cereals for porridge oats, confectionary for naturally sweet dried fruit and crisps for salty nuts or olives.
Tip 2: Buy foods from local markets and farms, cutting out the middle man
Tip 3: Grow your own; maybe you have an allotment, garden, balcony or even just a window sill. Everyone can grow something. Tomatoes, salad leaves and strawberries are all easy to grow and don’t need a lot of space. THis is a great way to connect kids with where their food comes from and inspire them to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.
Tip 4: Forage wild food for free; go to your local woods, park or even your neighbour’s front gardens where you will be surprised at how much is growing, even in the city. Apple trees are easy to spot, also try foods you can’t normally buy in the supermarket which are super nutrient dense: rosehips, dandelion leaves (yes weeds are good for you), wild garlic, watercress, chestnuts, hazel nuts, blackberries, and elderberries
Tip 5: Eat more raw; it’s more nutrient dense, uses less money on the gas bill and helps to cure all sorts of ailments from allergies to diabetes. For tips on amazing child-friendly raw recipes see Raw food 4 kids book at http://www.therawfoodmum.com
Tip 6: Have vegetarian/vegan days; animal products for protein intake are so much more expensive than protein rich plant foods such as beans, lentils and legumes.
Tip 7: Breastfeed your children full-term (usually between 2 and 4 years), allowing them to wean themselves. All financially challenged countries value extended breastfeeding for ensuring optimum nutrition for the child.
Tip 8: Ensure your child gets outdoor sun exposure directly on unprotected skin, all-year-round, to boost vitamin D levels. Even when it’s cloudy and raining, the rays still come through.
Tip 9: Learn how to get the most out of your whole foods products. Eg. One fresh coconut can provide you with at least three products; coconut milk, coconut water and desiccated coconut. You can also learn easy ways to tun simple, whole food ingredients like raisins, dates and cashews into home-made versions of popular shop bought snacks such as ‘Naked’ bars.
Tip 10: Take advantage of government initiatives to save you money; healthy start vouchers are a great way to save money on your fresh fruit and vegetables in the UK.