With the post-Christmas effect weighing on our bank account and the dry January-esque nature of the new year weighing on our conscience, now is one of the most difficult times to achieve clean eating.
However, you don’t need to spend your month sighing at the price of goji berry juice in the gluten-free aisle of Marks and Spencers. There are so many tasty, affordable ingredients that we often forget about…Now, step away from those six cans of tinned tuna.
Why they’re great: These green bundles of wonderful are particularly good for those concerned about consuming pesticides as according to the Environmental Working Group, avocadoes have some of the lowest residue levels of any vegetable.
What they cost: Even better news, they retail at around 70c, and can brighten up any disappointing looking salad you’ve made yourself in a fit of desired healthiness.
Throw them into: Sandwiches, salads, eggs, salmon, tuna, as guacamole or even on their own with a pinch of salt. Delicious.
Why they’re great: The magic about oats lies in the fact that they are beta glucans, compounds which slow the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed by the body, steadying your blood sugar levels and making you less likely to reach for that 11am pain au chocolat.
What they cost: You can get a kilo of porridge oats for as little as 90c.
Throw them into: Greek yoghurt and frozen berries and blend for a healthy and filling breakfast that should replace the need for your daily cappuccino.
3. Sweet potatoes
Why they’re great: These sweeter alternatives to their whiter cousins are packed with vitamin C, B6 and potassium and nearly 400% of our RDA of Vitamin A. They’re also packed full of antioxidants to boot.
What they cost: You can get your hands on 800g for €1.15.
Throw them into: You can use sweet potatoes as a meat alternative in curries or as a potato alternative for wedges with olive oil and paprika, so you won’t have to worry about the dreaded cost of missing use-by dates with chicken.
Why they’re great: One cup contains about 15g of protein and an astounding 12g of fibre, along with iron, magnesium and potassium. They’re also the main and tasty ingredient in two of our culinary favourites, falafel and hummus.
What they cost: Around 60c for a 400g can.
Throw them into: Make your own version of falafel by blitzing one can of chickpeas with one egg, one cup of flour, an onion and some garlic in a food processor, shaping into balls and frying in oil.
5. Frozen vegetable medley
Why they’re great: Weirdly enough, frozen fruit and vegetables often contain higher levels of vitamins and minerals than they non-frozen counterparts which have often been shipped long distances and left to refrigerate for an extended period of time.
What they cost: They’re around €1.60 for a kilo, which should keep you going for a considerably long time. You also don’t need to worry about throwing them out or using them up as they have a far longer use by period than non-frozen vegetables.
Throw them into risottos, or in with mince and eggs for a quick, easy and delicious stir fry.