Eating well on a tight budget can seem like an oxymoron; after all, health food has a notorious reputation for being a pricey luxury (who doesn’t remember the much-maligned avocado’s heyday as a status symbol?) However, consistent, gut healthy eating on a budget isn’t unattainable or even out of reach thanks to a few simple strategies for meal planning and grocery shopping. Here’s Fody’s rundown on how to improve gut health on a budget. 

Menu Plan, Meal Prep, and Save! 

Saving money at the grocery store starts before you even set foot in it. Making a menu plan is essential to smart, economic grocery shopping. Whether you meal-prep once for the whole week or you cook every night, planning ahead of time can help you buy only what you need for that week, and will ensure that you use it up without letting it go to waste. This is especially important in the case of fresh fruits and veggies. According to the City of Toronto’s website, “almost 2.2 million tonnes of [household] edible food is wasted each year, costing Canadians in excess of $17 billion”. In the U.S, that number climbs to a staggering $161 billion.  

Planning out your meals for the week and making a grocery list will help you stick to your budget and avoid spending on excess items that will go to waste or buying quantities that you can’t use. It will also help you buy only the foods that make you feel good

Don’t, Don’t, Don’t Do Your Groceries While Hungry 

This brings us to the second point, which we’ve all heard before: don’t grocery shop on an empty stomach! If your rumbling stomach is making you long to ditch your grocery list and go off-roading in the snack aisle, this can spell trouble for your budget – and your gut. Hungry shoppers tend to make less thought-out purchasing decisions (even related to non-food items), which may increase the number of high-FODMAP, inflammatory items in your shopping cart. 

Having a snack or meal before food shopping can help you think more clearly and stick to your list. 

Gut Healthy Eating On A Budget Means Looking For Sales! 

Sales, sales, sales! Whether you’re a coupon clipper or your eyes are just drawn to the markdown labels, it’s always a good idea to take advantage of sales–with the caveat that you should be taking advantage of offers that either feature on your list, or that are staples you use a lot; think rice and grains, oils, and canned or frozen items with long shelf lives.

If the offer is on perishable items, make sure that the amount you buy fits into your meal plan and that you’ll be able to use it in your cooking before it expires. Having some flexibility in your list makes this easier; for example, if spinach is on sale and you’re making chicken wraps once or twice this week, why not throw some leafy greens into the recipe? 

What if you find a great sale, but you’re not quite sure if it will work for your gut and keep you feeling good and bloat-free? Well, that brings us to point four… 

Use the Monash University App to Explore New Foods 

Keep the Monash University App handy! Whether you’ve encountered a too-good-to-be-missed sale or you’re just not sure about an item on your list, checking out the app is a great way to make sure you’re keeping on top of your gut health while also sticking to foods you’ll be able to eat and taking advantage of deals. You can also keep a handy list on your phone, like these downloadable low-FODMAP resources.  

Exploring new and seasonal foods while making sure that they feature among the things you can comfortably eat can be a great way to save money while also curbing your carbon footprint, as foods seasonal to where you live generally need to travel a shorter distance from their origin to your plate. 

Keep It Delicious and Gut-Friendly!

Finally, another key to gut healthy eating on a budget is to make sure you’re enjoying your diet! A lot of people with sensitive stomachs can feel like they’re stuck in a flavorless rut, or worse, that they’re spending a lot of time and money on specific, expensive condiments and exotic seasonings that are only required for a couple of recipes, and which then sit in the pantry for months until they’re thrown out. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Finding your favorite flavorful staples can help ensure that you’re eating in the way that’s best for you while also enjoying great recipes. Low-FODMAP, gut healthy sauces, oils and condiments that taste great and can be used in a variety of recipes are a low-cost way to keep your weekly meal rotation delicious, and your grocery shopping easy. 

Keep your grocery shopping simple with Fody! You can use our store locator to find a retailer close to you, and remember, gut healthy eating on a budget isn’t a matter of being frugal, or eschewing your go-to’s and favorites: with some planning ahead and simple strategies, you can enjoy a rich, varied and inexpensive diet that won’t leave you feeling bloated or uncomfortable.

Looking for menu inspiration? Check out our recipes, and head over to our shop to find the best deals on gut friendly condiments and spices that can make your weekly meal rotation taste and feel sensational! 

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