Budget friendly ways for a greener health and world

A large amount of alcohol, night food, cheap carbs and comfort food often portrays a students life. The reasons for students’ bad food choices are often defended by a poor economy and that unhealthy food is (often) cheaper than healthier options. However, there are many ways to easily combine healthy food and budget constraints, at the same time as it tastes delicious. How you may ask? Well, I’ll provide you with some examples later on.  

But first, some kitchen advice that you may have forgotten or do not know that will do some good for your wallet.

·  Freezing (with the premise that you have a freezer and space of course). Food that is about to expire or have expired is often on sale. It is genius to buy the soon-to-expire-groceries and freeze them, to use later on. Moreover, products that are marked as expired are often fine, just look, smell and taste. Thus it pays off to look for these products. Brown bananas for example are often on sale or even given away for free, and they are perfect for making banana bread, banana pancakes or to freeze and use them in your smoothies.

·  Making a list. Make a list of your food week before grocery shopping. It’s much easier to stick to your plan and go for more healthy options if you actually have made a list beforehand. Secondly, never go grocery shopping hungry. Your wallet will not like it.

·  Organize. Check your fridge and freezer before shopping. What do you have that you can use? What do you actually need?

·  Golden groceries. Some particular products are just gold; unreasonably cheap, healthy, filling and sustainable. I am talking about oats, chickpeas and all different types of beans. Oats are perfect for oatmeal in the mornings as well as baking, and beans and chickpeas can for example be used in salads, stews, falafels and different veggie patties for burgers.

·  Seasonal. Many groceries have their seasons, when they are at their best and also at a good price. For example, strawberries in the summer, pumpkin in the fall, asparagus in the spring and so on. 

Then, some of my favorite recipes that are both healthy, sustainable, vegan and delicious. Hope some of you will try them out, if you eat plant based or not – these are just pure pleasure!

HUMMUS

Hummus is made primarily of chickpeas, one of the so called “golden groceries” I mentioned earlier on. They are very low in price and contain a lot of protein which is important for your body. Hummus can be used as a dip, on your bread or on crackers, alone or with other toppings, to your salad, etc. It is originally from the middle east, and there are many different versions of hummus. It is easy to make, does not take a long time and it is budget friendly. My favorite type is beetroot hummus (picture below), sun-dried tomato hummus and regular, plain hummus.

You need:

  • 1 can of chickpeas (fully cooked)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon tahini (optional)
  • Parsley (optional)

Rinse the chickpeas well before you start. Mix everything together with a food processor or a mixer. Add some more olive oil and a bit of water if you want a more liquidy texture. When I make beetroot and sun-dried tomato hummus, I just follow the recipe above and then I add one or two cooked beets or some sun-dried tomatoes.

SUMMER ROLLS:

Summer rolls consist of rice paper filled with veggies of your own preference, a perfect fresh dish now in the spring, summer or at any other time! I recommend including avocado, mango, paprika, carrot, cucumber, coriander, spinach and fried tofu (or shrimps). The best part about this dish is that you can make your own roll with the things you prefer – you can virtually have any kind of veggies you want in these rolls. The rolls can be made together, sort of like tacos, with pre-cut veggies in bowls or you can make them beforehand. To make the rolls you need a bowl of boiling water or hot water to dip the rice papers in. It is important that the whole rice paper is in the water since they are supposed to be soft all around. Then, fill them with veggies, coriander, tofu/shrimps, whatever you prefer, wrap them like a spring roll and serve with (the best!) peanut dressing.

Peanut hoisin sauce:

·  1 dl boiled water

·  1-2 dl peanut butter

·  3 dl hoisin sauce

·  2 tablespoon sweet chili sauce

·  1 clove garlic

·  Half of a chili

·  Lime juice (from one lime)

Boil 1 dl of water. Add the peanut butter, take it off the stove and stir. Finely chop garlic and chili. Add the rest of the ingredients and serve.

BANANA BREAD

If your bananas are turning brown, you can either freeze them, make banana pancakes or banana bread. Bananas get sweeter when they begin to go brown, that’s why they also are perfect to bake with!

  • 3 brown bananas (one for topping)
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1,5 teaspoons cardamom
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder (optional)
  • ca. 2 dl almond milk (or oat/soya)
  • 6-7 dl oat flour (mix oats until it looks like flour)
  • 3 tablespoons buckwheat flour (or chickpea flour/any other type of flour you like)

Mix all ingredients well together. Butter a form good with coconut oil or butter and add the dough. The dough is supposed to be a mixture between solid and liquid. Slice one banana in two lengthways in two, and put on top of the bread. Bake for about one hour in 347 degrees Fahrenheit (175 Celsius), but check it now and then. When it is ready, it is perfect to serve with some nut butter on top!

CHICKPEA PANCAKES

  • 3 dl chickpea flour
  • 3 dl water
  • 3 handfuls of spinach
  • Some olive oil and salt

I normally buy chickpea flour at small foreign food shops (they normally don’t have it in regular food shops) and it is sometimes called gram flour. This is so easy to make and you can have them for lunch the day after. The taste is a bit different than what I was used to, but with fillings I promise you it’s the best! I have tried using beetroots in the dough instead of spinach as well, which also turned out to be delicious – moreover a perfect way to include some extra veggies in your diet.

Mix everything together in a food processor. Frigerated for at least 30 minutes before you fry them in a pan. Top with hummus, veggies, coriander, salad – whatever you prefer or whatever you have at home. In the picture I have made it with beetroot hummus, oven baked sweet potato, avocado rolled in sesame seeds, pomegranate, coriander and spinach.

HOMEMADE NUT BUTTER

Nut butter is perfect as a topping, for a smoothie bowl, on your oatmeal, chia pudding or in baking. Peanut and almond butter are personal favorites of mine. However, “special” products like this tend to be quite expensive, and they often contain unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients, so why not just make it yourself? Perfect Sunday activity! It is so much easier than people might imagine, all you need is a bag of almonds (or peanuts) and a food processor.

Roast the almonds in the oven at 180 Degrees Celsius in about 10-15 minutes until they are lightly roasted. Let them cool down before you put them in the food processor. Mix first until it looks like flour, and then continue until you have a smooth consistency. This takes some time and it depends on how sharp your food processor is, mine usually takes around 5 minutes. Store in an old glass jar and keep it in the fridge.

Pro tip for the best, and healthy, snack ever: dates filled with almond (or peanut butter) with a drizzle of salt on top. Freeze them or eat them straight away – they melt in your mouth!

RAW SNICKERS CAKE

If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love this raw, vegan snickers cake. The cake only contains pure ingredients that are good for you, like nuts and dates, so this is a healthier option than normal, traditional cakes with lots of sugar, flour etc. I can guarantee you that the taste is just as good – or even better!

Bottom layer:

7 big dates

50 grams peanuts

50 grams almonds

30 grams oats

Some sukrin gold (optional)

Caramel layer:

150 grams peanut butter

5-6 big dates

1 dl soymilk (or other plant-based milk)

Topping:

Ca 2-3 dl soymilk

Some sukrin (optional)

One handful of peanuts

1 dl cacao nibs

Some peanut and cacao nibs to drizzle on top

You can easily replace cacao nibs with baking cocoa or dark chocolate. Mix every layer in a food processor and freeze before you move on to making the next layer. The texture should be sticky. Let the cake rest in the freezer for at least 1-2 hours before serving, and let it soften for around 10-15 minutes before you dig in.

Enjoy!

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