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Why healthy eating doesn't have to cost a fortune

If you follow Gwyneth Paltrow's lead, you'll probably have to remortgage your house every time you feel a bit peckish. 

It sometimes seems as though, in order to be healthy, you need to have a kitchen stocked with expensive superfoods with unpronounceable names, such as goji, acai, spirulina, quinoa and chia seeds. Meanwhile, junk foods such as chips and chocolate bars are temptingly cheap. 

But just because your wallet's not bulging doesn't mean your waistline needs to. Follow our simple guide for making healthy eating affordable. 

Grow Your Own 

Urban farming is the new rock and roll don't you know? Even if you only have a windowsill or a small balcony, you can still grow a few herbs or veggies to supplement your shopping list and boost your health. Getting together a few seeds, soil and pots is super cheap, and there's nothing more delicious or rewarding than eating a 100% organic crisp, fresh veggie you grew yourself. 

Get Creative

Hunt for cut-price products in the supermarkets near the end of the day and you may stumble across a few ingredients you don't usually cook with; butternut squash, a family sized bag of carrots or a huge bunch of fresh mint. Don't shy away – just buy them and get creative. Research new recipes online, add them to your usual salads or throw a little into your green smoothie. 

A little trial and error could lead to a new favourite dish.

Be Sociable 

Organising regular dinner parties with your friends can be a great way to socialise and save money at the same time. Gather a group of friends who can take it in turns to host weekly dinner parties. Agree on a price cap (say $5 per head), and take it in turns to cook up a storm. Not only will you save money on eating out, but you'll get some great budget meal ideas, too. 

Pack Your Own Lunch

Eating out on your lunch break can really add up. Instead, stock up on Tupperware and create your own healthy meals. Omelets, baked potatoes, tuna salads and pasta dishes are cheap and easy to make. Dishes like curry (add plenty of chickpeas and veggies for health points) and lasagna (made with lean meat and a low calorie cheese, like cottage cheese) can be made in bulk and easily frozen to make a whole week's worth of lunches.  

Bottom line? You don't need to spend like an A-lister to get the body of one. Veggies, grains, eggs and some meat can be very affordable and make the basis of a healthy, wholefood diet. Plan ahead as much as possible and be as self sufficient as you can with cooking your own meals and growing the ingredients you can and you'll be surprised how much you can save. 

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