Updated: Apr 10
South Africa has the highest overweight and obesity rate in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, in South Africa 3.91 million school children will be overweight or obese by 2025 if child obesity continues to rise at the current rate.
With these statistics in mind, and in recognition of National Child Health Month, Budget Insurance takes a look at how to keep kids healthy on a budget. “There is a general misconception that eating healthy is expensive but that’s certainly not always the case. In fact, it can cost you less in the long run,” says Susan Steward, Marketing Manager of Budget Insurance. With so much information out there on leading healthier lifestyles, you may feel a bit overwhelmed and not know where to begin.
10 step budget-friendly guide:
1. Plan meals for a week
Go through recipe books and browse your favourite food blogs to create a meal plan that fits your household budget. Aim for a week’s worth of recipes that use up all the ingredients you buy so nothing goes to waste.
2. Take inventory, make a list and stick to it
Check your fridge and pantry cupboard to see what ingredients you already have for your weekly meal plan. If there are items that are going to expire soon, work those into your meal plan to further minimise wastage. If you’re not good at making lists and sticking to them, take a look at these helpful apps.
3. Find affordable alternatives
Take a look at your last grocery trip till slip and identify the most expensive items and research cheaper (but still healthy) alternatives. For example, quinoa is all the buzz but it’s really pricey, so opt for something like brown rice instead – or use grapes instead of blueberries. If your budget needs a revamp, start afresh with these free budgeting templates.
4. Have an in-store plan of action
Stick to the aisles in which you’ll find your listed items to avoid adding unnecessary things to your trolley.
5. Continuously compare prices
Stores lay out their shelves with the priciest items at eye level, so check above and below for the same product at a more competitive price. Also avoid being seduced by brand names. The store’s own nameless brands are sometimes a lot cheaper and, often, excellent quality.
6. Nutritional labels don’t lie
Some things that appear healthy, aren’t. For example, tinned soup may seem like a quick and healthy meal, but many of these are packed with sugar and preservatives. Also skip ready-made meals where you have no control over the amount of salt, sugar and preservatives added and which are normally very costly.
7. Start them slow
Buy and prepare small quantities of healthy foods to see what your kids enjoy most. Training your kids’ palates from a young age to appreciate healthy food will help them establish a lifelong appetite for eating well.
8. Maintain and sustain normal eating patterns
Eating breakfast is key to establishing patterns that will help your children maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives. What they eat is, of course, just as important as when they eat so avoid sugar-packed cereals and white bread.
9. Be creative
You’ll be amazed what you can do with a cucumber, carrots and a few radishes. Click here for a little inspiration.
10. Have healthy snacks on hand
Buying or making snacks in bulk and keeping them on you will ensure that you’re always ready for that inevitable ‘I’m hungry’ when you’re on the go. This way you won’t have to buy convenience food at very inconvenient prices and you’ll keep them full until its home time and they can have a proper, filling meal.
Think of healthy eating as an insurance policy for your kids, one which helps protect them from illness and improves their quality of life, concludes Steward.
Source: I Heart PR on behalf of Budget Insurance. Image: Pixabay