How your freezer can help you eat healthily for less

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IN the UK more than 60 per cent of people are said to be overweight and obese, and it’s also a growing problem in Spain with the percentage heading for 50 per cent. As a society, we’re facing up to the fact that this is an issue that needs to be tackled. In fact, last year it emerged that two thirds of women had dieted in the previous 12 months, alongside 44 per cent of men.

More and more people are clearly striving for a healthier diet but many worry that it costs more to ‘be good’. However that’s a myth. You can snap up the ingredients for a balanced and nutritious diet without breaking the bank and you have a secret weapon in this quest. That weapon is your freezer.

Here’s how the humble freezer will be key to being healthy…

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*Veg – Your healthy diet should contain lots and lots of veg. One fairly cheap way to get greens into your diet is to stock up on bags of frozen items. This also cuts the chance of waste. Swap your frozen veg into curries instead of meat for a tasty and healthy alternative.

*Batch cooking – One cost-effective way of using ingredients is through batch cooking – the process of whipping up a series of a meals in one go and saving them for later. This is also good for your health kick as you can keep a close eye on portion sizes and once you’ve got meals stocked up and ready to go you’ll be less tempted to reach for the telephone and save the hassle of cooking by ordering a takeaway.

*Leftover – Another way to stay healthy on a budget is to make good use of your leftovers. With everything you buy try to work out a way of using every last bit to avoid waste. This handy infographic from ao.com helps you consider a whole ‘waste-less’ journey from the shopping list to the kitchen, via the shop. Arm yourself with tasty recipes for stews, soups, stir fries and curries that are flexible and make use of your leftovers.

*Bargains – Many people will tell you to hunt out discounted items that go on sale just before a store closes. It’s at this point that many fresh, healthy items can be snapped up cheaply. Sadly these items are often – at least in part – wasted because the shopper struggles to eat them up in a short timeframe. This is where the freezer comes in. Use it to save reduced items until you need them. It’ll also help you store items on multibuy offers so you can stockpile your favourite foods when they’re at their cheapest.

You need to rely on your freezer and have one with plenty of room to store up those pre-cooked meals and value-for-money bags of frozen vegetables. If yours is on its last legs or fills up even when there’s next to nothing in it then shop around. The cash a good freezer will help you to save will make it well worth the investment, especially given that the average household in the UK wastes about £60 (€84) of food a month.

Your freezer will be a vital part of your new diet. Use it wisely alongside a planned diet that involves sensible shopping lists, price comparison websites, fewer expensive brands and a well-stocked kitchen of cooking ingredients to move towards a healthier long-term diet.

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