One difficult obstacle that people have to overcome when trying to eat healthy is that healthier foods—fresh vegetables, lean meats, seafood—all seem to cost more than the usual popular, high-calorie, processed and chemical laden foods.
If you are one of the majority looking for more affordable ways to get or stay healthy, here are some tips for eating healthy on a budget.
1. Plan Meals Ahead of Time. This allows you to avoid impulse purchases and also helps to ensure that your meals for the week are healthy. With your shopping list planned, see what ingredients overlap and consider what you can do with the leftovers. Being attentive to what’s in your kitchen and what you need saves a lot of unnecessary buying. Use this healthy Whole Foods Shopping List!
2. Look for sales! Use coupons and know where the sales are locally or online. A quick glance at a local newspaper will tell you where the good deals are that week.
3. Bring a Calculator. Be that smart shopper who weighs the veggies and looks at the unit price of certain items. Comparing price and amount puts more perspective on what you’re buying from different stores. Besides, having a handy calculator will help make sure you stay on budget as you go down the aisles.
4. Don’t ever shop hungry or without a list. Planning is key. Make a list and stick to it and definitely have a snack or meal before shopping. There’s no better way to overspend than to shop when you’re hungry.
5. Shop in bulk. Whether you shop at a health food store or a warehouse-style store, stock up on the affordable stuff while it’s affordable. Buy beans and legumes, whole grains and spices in the bulk section at your local health food store. Stock up on larger, yet more reasonably priced items at warehouse-style stores, especially if you have freezer space. Lean meats, seafood and other such items can all be frozen, saving you money every time you defrost. We created a healthy store with healthy groceries at your fingertips.
6. Buy the bird. The whole enchilada, or in this case the whole chicken or turkey, will always be a better deal than buying individually packaged chicken breasts or some such item. Take home the bird, roast it, pick off all the meat and then make stock with the bones and some veggies. We’d like to say this kills two birds with one stone, but really, you’re killing two stones with one bird on this one.
7. Cook from scratch. Believe it or not, cooking from scratch is one of the most affordable ways to eat. While nothing will ever measure up to a 0.59 cent box of mac and cheese, you can certainly make a much healthier version for not much more. And what extra you spend on some groceries, you save on others by shopping frugally.
8. Grow a Garden. There are many benefits of growing your own produce: you save money, you’ll have your own store of fresh veggies, and like a proud mama you can say that you grew it yourself. Plus, you’ll appreciate your dishes more now that you put your own work into it. Look into growing tomatoes in a pot or if your community has garden space available.
9. Cut Up Your Own Food. While convenient and timesaving, these packages of pre-cut fruit or vegetables tend to cost more. You get more bang for your buck buying the produce whole. Just spend some downtime cutting and making your own garden or fruit salads.
10. Store Everything Properly. Ever open your vegetable crisper and realize that your tomatoes are mush or your lettuce wilted? Look up the best ways to store your veggies instead of just tossing them together in the fridge. Certain produce like potatoes excrete a certain gas that can spoil its neighbors quickly, so take the time to see the best storage place to keep your produce longer.
With a little planning and forethought, it truly is possible to stick to a budget while eating healthy.