This article will answer two important questions that influence our food choices -Why do we eat?
and – How can we do it more healthily and cheaply (this winter)?
We eat because we are hungry and sometimes because we are bored! We eat because our bodies
need energy and nutrients to keep working properly day and night. We eat certain foods because
they taste good. We eat because it can be enjoyable, a comfort and sociable.
Decisions we make around what we eat are usually because of:
Personal taste, our family choices, our culture, our emotions, our health, our habits, convenience,
social situations and what we can afford.
Foods that bring us the most pleasure usually contain a lot of sugar, fats and additives, because
these trigger the release of pleasure hormones in our brain … these processed foods are called Yum
Yum or Bliss foods. In this current climate, we may feel we have no choice but to make choices that
are affordable, cheap, easy and give us that yum yum feeling, but remember these food choices may
not provide any or enough nutrients and can cause us problems with our long-term health.
We need enough nutrients to:
Improve our mood. Keep our immune systems working well. Keep our skin healthy. Good brain
function. Good kidney and liver function. Protect our eyes and heart. Strong bones. Prevent chronic
So as the old saying goes: You Are What You Eat!
So, here are some thoughts and tips that may be helpful in making food choices that are cost
effective, money saving and just as importantly, good for our health!
- Before going shopping take a little time to make a weekly meal plan. Knowing what you want to by
is always helpful.
- Think about planning time during a day that suits you to do some cooking, make extra portions and
then freeze the excess, so you have your own nutrient rich ready meals.
- put some music on and make cooking fun, experiment with easy recipes, build your knowledge,
skills and create new habits around food.
- get supermarket savvy, take note of prices, use different supermarkets to get best value for your
- supermarket own products are just as good as branded and usually much cheaper.
- get to know and understand labels and don’t be fooled by the clever marketing that surrounds the
sale of food… look for the sugar, fat and salt content. The more ingredients listed the more
processed the food and usually the less nutrients.
- buy seasonal veggies and fruit which are usually cheaper.
- think about getting supermarket loyalty cards that can save you money with discounts and
vouchers through a reward system. Get more than one and use them to your advantage.
- think frozen veggies and fruit, these are cheaper and reduce waste. Great for homemade smoothies and warming soups.
- Always check out the reduced section in supermarkets, you can often freeze these bargain buys.
- don’t go shopping when you are hungry, research shows this affects your choices and usually not for the better.
- watch out for multibuy offers, as they don’t always work out cheaper and can lead to waste.
Thinking about what you choose to buy and eat can make a big difference to your mood, your health
and how you feel. Changing habits is not easy and it’s best to start with little steps that can lead to
bigger changes which can in turn prevent and reduce chronic diseases. Don’t try and change
everything at once as if you do this is too hard and usually means we don’t achieve change!
Eating well is achievable and does not have to be expensive.
Here are some websites and further info that provide easy and affordable recipes and advice.
NHShttps://www.nhs.uk › eat-well › the-…The Eatwell Guide
BBC Good Food https://www.bbcgoodfood.com › re…Recipes – BBC Good Food
BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk › programmes BBC One – Eat Well for Less?
British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk › nutrition25 healthy recipes you can cook in 5
minutes or less