Eating Healthy on a budget can be challenging! Navigating through the cheap options at the grocery store seems like an endless line of prepackaged dinners and sodden canned foods. Nobody can live off of that forever, and I’ll let you in on a little secret too; Eating unhealthy food isn’t saving you money, it’s just giving you the illusion of it.
You can head to your local grocery store and pick up some healthy, fresh ingredients for a fraction of the cost. Eating healthy on a budget just requires some planning, but you don’t have to be a millionaire to eat like one. Here are five of the best tips for eating healthy without breaking the bank.
Eating Healthy Requires Careful Meal Planning
Before I start the week, I like to carefully plan my family’s dinners. If we’ll be together for Saturday and Sunday, I’ll also plan breakfast and any lunches. Then I carefully pick put some easy-to-prepare recipes that don’t require too many ingredients and I decide how much food I’ll need to feed me and my family for the week.
To that, you can add any food that you and your family might eat for lunches when they’re alone and any breakfasts or snacks that they enjoy. Having a controlled plan before you go shopping will keep you from buying too much food or buying food that you’ll never use.
Always Have a Budget
Before you go shopping, you should always have a budget that is healthy and reasonable for you and your needs. If you get to the store and realize that kale costs twice as much as what you expected, then get a cheaper substitute like spinach, arugula, or mixed greens. There are plenty of fresh alternatives. Sometimes making a cheaper swap can enhance your meal. When you’re at the store, make it your goal to purchase under budget. You’ll save some money every time!
Keep an Eye out for Coupons and Sales
You don’t have to cut coupons for hours, but do flip through your grocery store catalog and make sure that there isn’t anything that you can use while you’re shopping. A couple cents here and there makes a huge difference in the long run, so it’s always worth it.
Also keep an eye out for sales on the fresh food. If there are sales on any of the fresh produces, grains or meats that aren’t part of your meal plan, try substituting a similar, more expensive product for the one that you save money on. Keep track of how much money you save and start putting it into a piggy back. Who knows what you can do with all of these savings!
Frozen is Always Cheaper
If you’re on a really tight budget, frozen fruits and veggies are always the cheapest. They’re not the tastiest, but they’ll save you a lot of money and with some clever preparation, you can make anything taste good. Frozen veggies are especially good for a stir fry or to throw into a soup or a one pot meal. You don’t have to buy frozen every time, but if you find that your budget is getting tight, then you can certainly cut costs by buying frozen.
Plan by Window Shopping Online
Many stores let you buy online and either pick up in store or get delivery for an extra fee. This isn’t cost effective, of course, but it is nice to fill up your shopping cart online and print out the list for your own convenience. These online stores have “sort by” options such as allowing you to sort by lowest unit price. That way, once you get into the store, you won’t have to get out your calculator and do the math! If you can’t get one of these apps, then keep in mind that generic and store brands usually cost the least and taste the same. Don’t pay for the brand name ever again!
Eating healthy on a budget is a lot easier than you think. By planning your meals and focusing on what you’re eating, you’ll save a lot of money and get healthier in the process. Your body and your wallet will thank you!