It might be more convenient to seek out healthy foods that are prepared for you, but it almost always costs more, too. Here’s how you can eat healthy and stick to your budget!
Sure, it will take a little extra planning and maybe even a bit more work, but the rewards of eating healthy on a budget should be worth it in the end—aside from saving money, your efforts will help you feel better, reach your weight loss and fitness goals, too. That’s less stress and more enjoyment all the way around.
Following is a collection of ingredients and other tips you can use to upgrade to a healthier diet with a cost-effective approach.
DIY Healthy Eating
You can pay less to eat healthy when you make your own meal plans and shop smart at the grocery store. To support your body’s nourishment without breaking the bank, stay focused on choosing real food (not processed or prepared) to use in simply recipes that don’t require fancy cooking techniques.
Plan your meals and snacks.
It’s hard to find healthy choices at the drive-through, and stops at the juice stand can really add up. Planning ahead lets you pull together budget-friendly meals and snacks in minutes.
Prepare as much of your own food as possible.
It seems like carry-out can be cheaper sometimes (fast-food, take out chop suey, etc.) but think again. A 5$ burger and fries deal could buy you a pound of ground sirloin at the store.
Seek out locally-sourced ingredients.
Local can be less costly, especially when in season. You might be pleasantly surprised at all you can get at that roadside farm stand compared to the subscription food box delivered to your door.
Shop for bargains.
Most stores have sections for products with close sell-by dates. Those organic chicken breasts can be half the price, and you only need to poach and freeze them to keep on hand. And less expensive cuts of meat are a good choice for slow-cooking stews.
Buy in bulk.
You can freeze perishable items (such as meat, milk, and even bread) in smaller portions to use as needed. It’s always a good idea to buy non-perishable items in bulk (canned foods, dried beans and grains, etc.).
Cook in batches.
Your budget will go a lot farther if you get in the habit of making many meals at once. When cooking a big meal, make extra to freeze, or use later in the week for lunches or quick suppers. Double recipes, then freeze.
Choose your splurges wisely.
Pasture-raised meat, wild-caught fish, grass-fed dairy and organic produce can be pricier. Might be worth it, but it’s not always necessary to help you eat healthy.
Know what’s always cheap.
Beans and lentils make nutritious and hearty sides, and even main courses with the addition of fresh vegetables or brown rice. Bits of leftovers don’t need to go to waste—use them to make stir-fry’s and soups.
Know what goes a long way.
Keep a selection of dried herbs, spices, flavor blends like curry powder and steak seasoning, vinegars, tomato puree and soy sauce in your cupboard. These items make healthy food taste great at a very low cost per serving.