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Nutrition coaching: Can you really eat well at a low price?

The price of food products continues to increase and organic products are becoming almost unaffordable. Over one year, the price of fruits and vegetables would have increased by 20% according to INSEE. In these conditions, can we really hope to combine pleasure and health on our plate? The answer is YES, but it requires making some trade-offs and focusing on certain healthy and still inexpensive foods. The good news: these decisions are also good for the planet…

The winning trio

Ada is a student in Paris and comes to see me because, in her words, “she eats anything”. The conversation reveals that she eats a lot of crisps, salty or sweet biscuits and pasta “because it’s not expensive”. The cost of the food basket is a real concern for this scholarship holder who lives in a shared apartment and sometimes skips meals due to lack of means. “I still try to buy some fruit, but it’s often limited to apples and bananas, which remain within my budget.”

Ada has gained a little weight with this diet and above all she says she is “tired all the time”. Her blood tests revealed an iron deficiency. The young girl eats little meat or fish “because it’s too expensive”. I invite Ada to focus on my “winning trio”: three families of food products that remain affordable and excellent for your health.

  • The first is the family of dried vegetables: lentils, chickpeas, white, red or black beans, broad beans, split peas, etc. 1 packet of 500g of first-price raw lentils costs less than 1.50 euros and has many nutritional benefits, including a good dose of protein: 2 portions of 60g cooked lentils provide as much as half of a 100g steak. Lentils also contain plenty of fiber, essential for our health, and especially to strengthen our microbiota, as well as iron: as much, in equal quantity as red meat, but it is true, a little less well assimilated. Too long to cook? Canned lentils also work very well at a low price. And they are often more digestible if you discard the juice from the can and rinse the lentils. Dried vegetables are also an inexhaustible source of recipes: lentil dahl, chickpea falafel, chili sin carne with red beans… Bonus, they have a much more favorable ecological impact than proteins of animal origin.
  • Second family to be preferred; eggs. Excellent source of protein, iron and antioxidant molecules (zinc, vitamin E, selenium), their price has also increased, but they remain much cheaper than most other animal proteins: two eggs, even free-range (the more interesting), costs between 50 cents and 1 euro.
  • Finally, I advise betting on frozen fruits and vegetables, generally cheaper than fees, and which cause less waste. Who among us has not thrown away wilted carrots that have been left in the fridge for several days? This does not happen with frozen vegetables, which, moreover, are often richer in vitamins, because they are packaged when fully ripe.

The ideal is to choose these “raw” vegetables, that is to say uncooked, both for health reasons (we avoid certain additives) and for cost reasons: as soon as the vegetables are prepared, the price goes up. I also invite Ada to go to the end of the market where we can leave with lots of fruit and vegetables at knockdown prices and to opt for “ugly vegetables” which sell for less in certain supermarkets. The “anti-waste” fruit batches are also interesting, for example for making homemade compotes, much less expensive than compotes in gourds for example. “And canned vegetables, are they good or not? », Ada asks me. Of course ! Although the vitamin content is often less interesting than in fresh or frozen vegetables, they remain a good source of fiber and minerals, and their price is often unbeatable.

Yes, but for good deals…

“When I buy chips or aperitif biscuits, I often choose large formats or promotions so that they cost me less,” notes Ada. A good idea on paper, buying in large quantities has a perverse effect: we often eat more than we really need. Especially if they are fatty and sweet or salty foods. Furthermore, these good deals are not always real! Sometimes a three-pack of pasta actually costs more than three times the individual price. You should always compare by looking at the price per kilo. Bad surprises are legion! I advise Ada to surf on the -real- promotions of fresh products that can be frozen: fish fillets at cost price or chicken cutlets on sale will keep for several months in the freezer. And bet on canned fish: canned sardines and tuna are practical, good for your health (they are an excellent source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids) and inexpensive.

Inflation is a constraint, but it can help us revisit our way of consuming

Bulk purchases are also a good option to reduce the bill. Particularly on oilseeds: almonds or walnuts, for example, are very interesting nutritionally and are often less expensive purchased unpackaged. “I also noticed that I buy anything more easily when I’m hungry,” notes Ada. Indeed, the call of the stomach can be formidable… and make a difference on the receipt. The ideal is to make a list before going to the market or supermarket and stick to it. This avoids impulse purchases, especially at the checkout. You can also try to plan your meals to buy the right quantities. I particularly make Ada aware of quantities. To avoid blowing your budget and risking weight gain, it is important to adjust them.

If a dinner has been prepared too generously, the ideal is to store, before serving the table, the excess, which can make a lunch box for the next day… rather than putting everything on the table and risking eating too much . Recycling leftovers is obviously always a good idea, for the planet and for the budget. We need to get rid of the idea that finishing our plate means not wasting anything. No, what is useful is not to throw it away. So, possibly keeping a surplus of meat to make a shepherd’s pie, a leftover pasta to make a mixed salad… Inflation is a constraint, that’s obvious, but it can also help us to revisit our way of consuming … for the best.

“The gentle method for eating better, 33 micro-changes to rebalance your diet without depriving yourself”, Sophie Janvier (ed. Leduc)

William

I'm William from America, I'm a food lover, often discovering and making new recipes. I started my blog to share my love for food with others. My blog is filled with delicious recipes, cooking tips, and reviews about restaurants and products. I'm also an advocate for healthy eating and strive to create recipes that are easy to make and use fresh ingredients. Many of my recipes contain vegetables or grains as the main ingredients, with a few indulgences thrown in for good measure. I often experiment with new ingredients, adding international flavors and finding ways to make dishes healthier without compromising on flavour. I'm passionate about creating simple yet delicious recipes that are fun to make and can easily be replicated at home. I also love sharing my experiences eating out with others so they can get the best out of their dining experiences. In addition to cooking and writing, I'm also an avid traveler, often visiting new places to discover local delicacies and explore different flavors. I'm always looking for a new challenge – whether it's trying an exotic food or creating a new recipe using unusual ingredients. My blog is a reflection of my passion for food and I'm always looking for new ways to share it with the world. Join me on my culinary journey and let's explore delicious foods together!

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