How to Eat Healthy on a Budget: 7 tips to change habits without spending more
Every day there are people trying to make positive changes in their diet who are put off by the high price tag of healthy foods. Eating healthy on a budget can seem like an impossible task, but it is doable. All it takes is a bit of knowledge and a willingness to try new things. Here are 7 ways to eat healthy without breaking the bank:
Processing is Pricey
There’s a lot of talk about processed foods being less healthy, but did you know that they are also less affordable? The term “processing” refers to anything someone else does to your food before it reaches you. Processing foods costs businesses money, so they must then charge more for the finished product to recuperate their investment.
If you’re looking to eat healthy without spending more money than usual, try to find foods that have little or no processing. Try to apply this principle with all of your food purchases. Everything from meats, to produce, and even water is cheaper when you choose unprocessed options.
Be Careful with Carbohydrates
Carbs are the kings of cheap food. There is no better way to stretch your food budget out than by including some rice or potatoes. Unfortunately, unless you’re living a very active lifestyle eating tons of carbs is pretty unhealthy. This doesn’t mean you have to cut them out of your diet completely though.
Whole grains can be more expensive than their plain processed counterparts, but they are still a cheap way to fill you up. Save on costs by avoiding artisan brands and hot-button words like “wild” and “organic”.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
Making chicken your meat of choice should be a no-brainer when trying to eat healthy on a budget. Not only is chicken the cheapest meat option available, it is also much healthier than red meat. It is also very versatile, and goes wonderfully with almost any meal. Experiment by making your favorite meals but with chicken as a stand-ins for the meat, or use the internet to find some delicious poultry recipes.
Swap Out the Snacks
Snack foods are very expensive, and VERY unhealthy. If you are a frequent snacker, cutting out those greasy potato chips and sugary candies will go a long way towards your both your health and financial goals.
Try replacing your normal snacks for healthy options, such as carrot sticks, snow peas, or sliced cucumbers. Have fun trying to recreate your favorite snacks by making them at home yourself. Home baked potato chips are much healthier than a bag from the store, and can be a fun thing to make as a family if you have kids.
Watch the Fat
Butter is delicious, but unfortunately it’s also pretty bad for you in large quantities we crave. Vegetable oils are typically not more expensive than butter, and contain healthy fats. If you’re anything like me though, swapping out all of your butter for oil will probably mean you’re still eating too much fat. Sometimes cooking with the right tools can help you cut out the need for added fats entirely. Crockpots and air fryers are great options to try if you want to cut out the fat, and the cost that comes with it.
Drink More Water
A common misconception is that drinking sports drinks or juice is a healthy alternative to Soda. These drinks can be expensive, however, and they are not necessarily healthy. Fruit juice has a lot of sugar by itself, and many juices available in stores have added sugar on top of that. Sports drinks are high in electrolytes – including Sodium (or salt), which is fantastic after a workout but not the best thing to be drinking regularly.
Water is the best thing to drink if you really want to live a healthy lifestyle, and it also happens to be the cheapest drink out there.
Make Your Food Yourself
Eating out is expensive, and it takes away your control of what you’re eating. A fun way to save money and eat healthy is to try and recreate your favorite restaurant meals at home! Homemade pizza is a fun group activity, and homemade steak or salmon is guaranteed to save you a bundle over what you would pay for it at the restaurant.
Eating healthy takes work, but it doesn’t have to take a fortune. If you have another tip to eat healthy on the cheap, feel free to drop it in the comment section!