With these tips and tricks, you can eat healthy without breaking the bank or fishing into your savings. Keep reading to learn how to eat healthy on a budget.
Maybe you had a health scare, a productive conversation with a friend, or you read an article about life expectancy. Whatever it is, you’ve decided to clean up your eating habits, and I think that’s good for you.
What you eat has a direct impact on your health and wellbeing, which could either be positive or negative. Eating healthy has loads of benefits for your brain, your skin, and your health.
Planning is Key
The first thing you need to do is write down a budget showing how much you are willing to spend monthly on your meals. Allow your budget to be informed by your set aside quota for food. The budget will give you an insight into your shopping list.
You also need to have a meal plan for each week, a timetable of what you plan to eat daily and at different times of the day.
It’s wise to restrict the meal plans to a weekly schedule rather than monthly because fresh fruits and vegetables are way better for your meals. Stocking up for the month will leave you with dead and soggy produce that may not be eventually edible.
A weekly meal plan also allows you to have different varieties each week without the fear of monotonous meals.
In summary, prepare a budget, a meal plan, a shopping list, and you have to be disciplined and stick to it. The easiest way to fall off the wagon and back to your old ways is a lack of preparation.
For the record, I’ll advise that you’re not hungry while shopping as this could lead to you neglecting your shopping list and buying on impulse.
Shopping On a Budget
It’s tempting to pick everything off the shelves while shopping, but you have to remember to stick to your list and take advantage of sales, coupons, and promos.
While planning to eat healthily, your diet requires a lot of protein, fruits, and vegetables, and these may be expensive. The smart way to shop for your meals and save some money is to mix ‘n’ match.
The price of meat and chicken is sometimes outrageous, substitute them with mushrooms, lentils, eggs, beans or eggplants. These substitutes are just as nutritious but less expensive.
Also, if you’re lucky enough to walk into a buy one get one free deal, buy as much as you can if it’s a product that can be easily stored like protein bars.
Home-Cooked Meals Over Eat-Outs
While trying to eat healthy on a budget, you should eat more meals at home than in restaurants or salad bars.
Cooking at home is cheaper than eating out.
You should prepare your meals ahead. Then you can put a home-made lunch pack together for work or school. While packing your meals for the day, have a proper meal and some healthy snacks at hand, so you have something to munch on if you get hungry or peckish during the day.
It’ll save you from buying anything edible on a whim.
Once in a while, you can indulge in delivery services like HelloFresh that deliver fresh products and vegetables to you. They even add step-by-step recipe cards.
Another advantage of cooking for yourself is you gain some more knowledge about healthy eating, and you are well aware of everything you are ingesting and its nutritional value.
You can also save a lot of money by repurposing your leftovers. You can use your leftover grilled chicken as a salad topping or that leftover quinoa as a crunchy alternative.
Buy Majorly Whole Foods
If you carefully calculate, pre-packaged and processed food items always end up being cheaper and more nutritious than the whole food options.
For example, buying fresh greens and vegetables instead of packaged ones is cheaper for you. The shipping, production, and packaging costs have been factored into the packaged produce, thus making it more expensive.
You can easily prepare the fresh vegetables for your meals and store them in freezer-friendly bags and containers.
Utilize Your Freezer
Fresh fruits and vegetables are your friends.
Buying frozen food saves time, energy, and it’s just as nutritious for your body.
You can also buy canned food and vegetables for those days when you’re out of options. Another advantage of this is that the frozen produce is available all year round, so even when your favorite beans or fruit is out of season, you can always get it in the frozen department of your favorite departmental store.
You need to pay attention to the ingredients and the nutritional value of each item on the canned or frozen product you’re about to purchase.
Buying in Bulk
It’s common knowledge that buying in bulk saves more money. Buying beans and grains in bulk can be scary because you’re worried about weevils and how long it can last before it gets bad. Storing them in airtight containers makes them last for a very long time.
That way, you’re saving money and avoiding unnecessary trips to the store.
Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market
Your local farmer’s market is not only a much cheaper option. But fewer store-bought fruits and vegetables are as fresh and nutritious as the ones from the farmer’s market.
The most affordable items are always the ones in season.
You can stock up on them and freeze for use later in the year.
Negotiation is also allowed and encouraged at the farmer’s market while store prices are fixed. Haggling your price will save you a lot of money and maybe make a new farmer friend while you’re at it.
It may seem overwhelming right now or a lot of hard work to eat healthy on a budget, but trust me, it will eventually be worth it. Once you get the hang of it, the process will be seamless and easy.
Do you have any more tips on how to eat healthy on a budget? Let us know with a comment below!