Lots of tips for eating healthy, green and cheap

33% of food loss comes from cooking waste, meal recipes and discarded expired products. The golden rule: expectation.

I define my recipes in a menu

Plan your recipes for the week in their shopping list makes it possible to optimize purchases and ensure balanced meals. ” It is necessary based on recommendations, explains Benjamin Allès, epidemiologist, Inrae researcher (National Institute for Agricultural Research) at the EREN (Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team). At least 5 fruits and vegetables (400-500g), 2 dairy products, whole starch and a little vegetable oil (walnuts, canola, olive) every day, 2 portions of fish at most (including 1 fatty fish) and at least 2 portions of pulses per week. » Meat (beef, mutton, lamb, pork) should be reduced to less than 500 g per week. “Experts believe that there is none no minimum consumption of meat to be healthy. Better to give more space to vegetable proteins, poultry and eggs. To make your shopping list, take into account the number of people, the day of shopping, the time you have (you can use Menu Factory at manger-bouger.fr).

I buy fruit and vegetables at different stages of ripeness

“At room temperature, most fruits and vegetables continue to ripen after harvest,” explains Catherine Renard, researcher at Inrae. We buy very ripe ones that are intended to be consumed at the beginning of the week and less ripe ones that we plan for later. »

I move forward whenever possible

Busy schedule? We start batch cooking, which consists of moving up our recipes at the weekend, so that we only have to put our feet under the table during the week. We peel and cut the vegetables, we cook pulses and grains, we make sauces and we cook anything that can be cooked (simmered meat or fish, ratatouille, quiches, soups, etc.). All that’s left is to assemble and, if necessary, reheat: no more trouble every night deciding what to eat!

I am acquiring new cooking habits

Some key foods and cooking reflexes make it possible to create menus that are healthy, inexpensive and environmentally friendly.

I choose homemade to eat healthy and organic

On the environmental side, “the fewer steps there are in the processing of a food, the less likely it is to consume energy and the greater the possibility of knowing the origin of the raw materials”, notes Sarah Martin, engineer at Breathe.

On the health side, processing depletes foods of certain nutrients and fills them with sugar, salt, additives…

On the economic side, if certain ultra-processed products are cheap, this is often explained by the mediocrity of their composition. If you choose a fresh, quality product (few additives, precious ingredients, etc.), the cost increases, and homemade comes out as a winner.

I reject cheap and healthy foods in all their forms

  • eggs: to eat hard-boiled, in omelettes, gratins, flan…
  • pulses: to be prepared like dhal, chili sin carne, mashed potatoes etc.
  • Canned fish: to include in starters, salads, quiches, pizzas, flatbreads, to stuff potatoes, etc.
  • milk, cottage cheese and yoghurt: in creams, cakes, white sauces etc.

I use everything edible

Peek, leaves, rods and kernels, filaments, skins contain nutrients and are eaten: soups, pestos, chips… Fish trimmings and bones are used to make soups and broths.

I drink tap water

Bottled water requires a large amount of energy to transport and store, and is often in plastic. Subject to strict sanitary controlstap water shows aaverage cost 100 to 200 times lower.

I appreciate foods rich in vegetable proteins

That plant products are cheaper and have a lower environmental impact than animal products. “Methane emissions related to the digestion of ruminants are significant, and the massive consumption of fish promotes overfishing and intensive agriculture,” explains Sarah Martin.

The excess of meat products is harmful, insists Benjamin Allès. As for fish, especially oily fish, excessive consumption exposes you to ingesting harmful chemicals (heavy metals, etc.).

The reverse is legumes are beneficial for the body (proteins, fibres, vitamins and minerals) and the environment (no need for fertiliser, soil enrichment, low water requirement). So we do every other meal without animal protein without fear of a deficiency: “Apart from elderly subjects in a situation of malnutrition, the majority of the adult population has a sufficient, even excessive consumption of proteins. »

Each French person throws away an average of 30 kilos of still edible food per year! In addition to good organization, it is important to know how to store and consume food correctly.

I recycle food scraps

Plan 2 to 3 “leftover meals” weekly to reduce waste. Cooked meat and fish can be stored for 2 days, vegetables 3 to 4 days, eggs 5 days, starchy foods and legumes 5 days. Place them in airtight containers and we check the appearance before consumption. With the rest of grain we prepare pancakes, dumplings; with vegetables, mashed potatoes, gratin; with meat or fish, minced; with bread, toast…

I’m trying long term storage

Cheap in season or during promotions, many foods can be stored in several ways. ” That freezer is ideal because it makes it easy to store them with little loss, advises Catherine Renard.

Fruit can be frozen as is, cut. With the exception of those eaten raw, vegetables also freeze well, but must be blanched 3 minutes beforehand. After thawing, everything must be cooked before eating. You can also make preparations (ratatouille, coulis, etc.) and freeze them.

Meat and fish can also be frozen, but very fresh.

Another solution: the can. “This technique should be reserved for fruits whose acidity prevents the development of toxic substances, warns our expert. For other foods, it is necessary to be equipped and to comply with strict hygiene rules. »

I adopt the right place and the right condition

“Fragile, lettuce, cabbage… must be placed in the vegetable section of the refrigerator, recommends Catherine Renard. Tomatoes, courgettes, melon… can stay at room temperature. »

No refrigerator for the potato, the onion… which must be protected from light and moisture.

In any case, we prefer paper bags that protect against dehydration and at the same time allow people to breathe.

Faced with rising prices, good plans exist, and armed with simple tips, you can find healthy food on a budget.

I regularly make an inventory of my stocks

“In the refrigerator, packaged fresh products must be consumed before the DLC (use by date)”, explains Catherine Renard.

  • That unopened dairy products may last a few extra days: we eliminate in case of suspicious smell.
  • Compared to eggthey can be consumed up to 28 days after the laying date.
  • Whose groceries are also subject to a minimum durability date (DDM), they can be consumed beyond that, stored in a dry place away from light and heat (2 to 3 years for canned goods, 1 year for rice, pasta, flour, grains, legumes, 6 months to 1 year for oils, unlimited for chocolate, sugar and honey): only their organoleptic characteristics may be changed.
  • Finally, we monitor Frozen. “Their qualities, especially the fatty acids in fish, deteriorate, notes Catherine Renard. It takes 2 to 3 months for prepared meat and 15 to 18 months for them whole or in portions, 3 to 6 for fish and up to 24 months for fruit and vegetables .”

Organic or not, I decide properly

Too expensive for organic? “Not always, especially on dry products, dairy products, unprocessed foods,” says Sarah Martel. Organic pasta or rice, often complete, has better nutritional values! “We also favour organically from short circuit systems and direct sales (AMAP, farmer’s markets, Farmer’s Drive, Welcome to the farm) and cooperative supermarkets that allow you to benefit from the best quality products at the most reasonable price.

I decipher the labels

Beware of “tricks” to make us pay more: those of the manufacturers (the package of 4 slices of ham increased from 160 g to 120 g or the weight of fromage blanc increased from 1 kg to 900 g for the same price) and these brands and distributors (promotions more expensive than without promotions). We look at the price per kilo !

I buy in season

The transport of agricultural and food products represents almost 30% of freight transport in France, and the production of vegetables in heated greenhouses emits 10 to 15 times more greenhouse gas emissions than in the open air. ” Consumption in season also helps to vary your diet and provides fruit and vegetables on top of their intake, explains Benjamin Allès. In France, we have the advantage of having a varied production all year round! »

I think about the profits, the “ugly” and the short dates

“Fruits and vegetables that do not meet aesthetic standards provide the same benefits for the body and the same taste as the standardized ones,” says Catherine Renard. Do not hesitate to take advantage of them because most distributors (Carrefour, Casino, Monoprix, Lidl, Marché U, Leclerc, Intermarché, etc.) offer them at a cheap price (€1 to €2 per kilo). As for fresh products (meat, fish, dairy products, etc.), you can buy them on average 35% cheaper if the expiry date is close. It is then necessary to consume them quickly or to prepare and freeze them. Some brands (Vi anti-gaspi, Nogasp, etc.) have even made their specialty of these products that are different from or close to the expiration date.


Food and inflation: the point of a sociologist

Jean-Pierre Poulain, sociologist and anthropologist at the University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, answered our questions.

What factors have the greatest influence on the purchase of food?

The price, the taste, the influence on health, practicality, ecology… But these purchases are also determined by our cultures, our routines and our pleasures.

When everything goes up, is food sacrificed?

Yes, and it is not a matter of choice: it is linked to the structure of our budgets. More and more expenses are limited (rent, loan repayment, water, electricity, telephone, etc.) and for the rest of life, what remains in the wallet tends to be reduced. The food is actually directly affected. This was true before the crisis, and it is accentuated with it.

Does financial insecurity prevent balanced eating?

The risk is undeniably great. The first victims are quality products that some can no longer afford. But some people adapt by putting fewer prepared items on their grocery list and cooking more. For them, the quality of the food can therefore be maintained, or even improved, but this requires that there is time and know-how available.

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