Healthy Eating on a Budget This Summer
Enjoy delicious, healthy food without spending a fortune
It’s lovely to enjoy a meal, picnic or barbecue in the warm summer weather, but some healthy foods can be very expensive.
Here are some ways to keep to your food budget while still eating healthily, and taking advantage of all the wonderful fresh food available in the summer.
Buy at Outdoor Markets
Enjoy the summer sun while wandering around an outdoor market and choosing from a selection of succulent fruit, colorful vegetables, freshly caught fish and other delicacies that catch your eye.
It’s usually cheaper to buy fresh food from markets than from supermarkets. Market traders sell food with a lot less packaging too, helping to reduce plastic and other waste.
Farmers’ markets can be more expensive than normal markets, but it’s nice to browse and discover interesting foods that you may be able to source for less elsewhere.
At farmers’ markets, look for bargains just before the traders pack up for the day. At some farmers’ markets, including those that have traders from all over world, it might be possible to haggle over prices.
To avoid over-spending, bring a certain amount of cash with you and leave once you’ve spent it, no matter how tempting the next stall may be!
Pick Your Own Fruit and Vegetables
For the freshest and most delicious summer fruit, pick your own straight from the tree or bush. From juicy cherries to succulent strawberries, you can pick your own fruit and vegetables at several farms in Switzerland.¹
Pick-your-own fruit is cheaper than the fruit sold in markets and supermarkets. At Jucker Farm, in the canton of Zurich, for example, a kilogram of pick-your-own cherries costs just CHF 5.²
Some pick-your-own farms charge an entrance fee but they also have adventure playgrounds, animal feeding areas, farm shops and restaurants, so you and your family could spend a pleasant summer’s day there, taking home some freshly picked fruit or vegetables.
In late summer, why not pick your own wild blackberries from hedgerows in the countryside for free? Ensure they’re not growing on someone’s property before picking. Always wash freshly picked blackberries thoroughly before eating or cooking.
Make yummy blackberry and apple crumbles or pies, which are delicious served with custard, ice cream or cream.
Choose Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables
Buy locally grown fruit and vegetables that are in season. The supply will be plentiful, so the prices will be lower.
Choose fruits with different colors to maximize your intake of all the vitamins and minerals you need.
Fruits in season in the summer in Switzerland include:
Sprinkle fruit over your breakfast cereal or whizz up a tangy breakfast smoothie combining several seasonal fruits with natural yogurt or milk.
Use fruit to make a delicious after-dinner dessert. How about a melt-in-the mouth summer fruits crumble or a crunchy strawberry pavlova?
Add these seasonal vegetables to your dinner:
· Green, red, yellow and orange bell peppers
· Bok choy
You might not feel like eating a heavy meal in hot weather, so whip up a tasty salad using some or all of these seasonal ingredients:
· Spring onions
Add seasonal fruit to your salad for extra flavor and nutritional value. Some ideas include:
· Combining bite-sized apple and celery pieces with mayonnaise
· Adding strawberries to a mix of seasonal salad ingredients and drizzling with balsamic vinegar.
Buy in Discount Supermarkets and Specialty Grocery Stores
Buy fresh, healthy food in discount supermarkets, such as Aldi, Lidl and Denner. The quality of the produce is good, but the appearance of the fruit and vegetables may not be as attractive as in other supermarkets. However, the prices can be up to 50 percent lower.
Grocery stores selling Turkish and Asian food may also sell fresh food at lower prices than supermarkets. Barkat Cash & Carry, which has three stores in Switzerland, sells a lot of Asian products, as well as some fresh food.
Look out for Discounts and Special Offers
Supermarkets and other food stores tend to place a lot of discounts on fresh food that is in season because they have a plentiful supply and they want to sell as much as they can before it goes off.
Search for special offers regularly. Many Swiss supermarkets mark down food after 5 pm on weekdays and after 3 pm on Saturdays. Discounts on meat and cheese can be as much as 50 percent.
A good tip is to buy whatever fresh food is on special offer and look online for inspiration on how to turn it into a delicious meal.
Also compare the prices in supermarkets with those in online farm shops, such as Farmy.ch, which deliver fresh, locally grown organic produce to your door.
Reduce Your Meat Consumption
Meat is one of the most expensive foods to buy in Switzerland, with the average Swiss family spending CHF 66 per week on meat and fish.³
You don’t need to become a vegetarian or vegan to reduce your food bill by cutting your meat consumption. Just one meat-free meal a week will help you save money.
Enjoy Lower-Cost Barbecues
Buy a large quantity of mince beef and make your own burgers in advance. Wrap each one in cling film and store them in the fridge or freezer. This is much cheaper than buying ready-made burgers.
Make your own meat and vegetable kebabs rather than buying ready-made ones.
Add seasonal vegetables to the barbecue. Corn on the cob, which is in season in August, is delicious when grilled, as are peppers.
Whenever you see some discounted meat that would be good for a barbecue, buy it and freeze it. When you next have a barbecue, you won’t need to go hunting around for inexpensive meat.
If you’re hosting a barbecue for family or friends, ask each guest to bring along drinks or snacks to keep costs down.
It is definitely possible to eat healthy food during the summer without going over-budget. Make the most of the good weather by taking some time to enjoy shopping at a market or picking your own fruit at a farm. Eat outside as much as possible, inviting friends and neighbors for barbecues in your garden or picnics in the park.