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How to Eat Healthy On a Budget

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When most people think of “eating healthy”, they probably imagine lots of trips to the store and spending lots of time cooking in the kitchen, which isn’t a luxury that a lot of people have. Some people even believe that eating healthy is way more expensive, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is, processed and convenience foods end up costing you more in the long term than eating healthy. It’s true, the real stuff costs far less than you’d think. So today, I’ll dispel the myth that eating healthy take lots of time and money and how you can cut the junk and start a healthy diet. Let’s get started, here are tips on how to eat healthy on a budget.

How to Eat Healthy On a Budget

Tips on Eating Healthy While Spending Less

Tip #1: Meal Planning

This is the most important factor in eating healthy without spending a fortune. Plan your meals! The times when you spend the most money on food is when you eat at the very last minute. Think about it. If you just worked a long day at the office and finally get out, food is probably on your mind. But since you have nothing prepared, what do you do? Most likely eat out or go shopping with an empty stomach, which just leads to impulse purchases and expensive bills. Not to mention that when you don’t plan your meals, food often goes to waste in your fridge.

Plan your meals by scheduling what you’ll eat throughout the week and make sure that leftovers never go to waste. Purchase food that you can use in multiple meals. For example, chicken can go into a nice salad for lunch and you can use chicken again for a nice dinner. Purchase your favorite foods in bulk and adapt them to different meals. You can also save time by cooking a large amount of food for multiple meals that can stretch throughout the week.

Store Your Favorite Recipes

Keep your favorite recipes somewhere close so you’ll know what you need in order to cook that meal. Keep a count of all the ingredients and the quantities you’ll need; memorizing the ingredients you’ll need can help even further!

Always Have Necessities On Hand

You should always have things like cooking oil, spices, salt, sugar, flour, etc. already so you won’t have more things on your list to buy. These items are essential for cooking and they have a long shelf life as well.

Take Note of What You Have Already

Be aware of all the things you have in your fridge and pantries so you don’t buy things twice.

Shop on the Weekends

You can shop once a week when you have time or even once a month if you plan things carefully. I only shop once a month and make sure everything I buy will be eaten. Write a list of all the recipes you plan to cook and only buy those ingredients, don’t deviate from it and purchase convenience foods.

Bring Your Food to Work

Instead of eating out at work, bring the food you’ve cooked or any leftovers to work. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll save just by doing this.

Look for Deals at Your Grocery Store

Look for foods on sale at your local grocery store and purchase as necessary. If something can be used in an upcoming meal, purchase it if it’s cheap enough.

Tip #2: Prepare in Bulk

How to Eat Healthy On a Budget - Buying in BulkIf you want to learn how to eat healthy on a budget, you should really take this next bit of advice into consideration. Tip number two is to prepare in bulk. This can save you tons of money since foods won’t go to waste if you buy the right items. Foods like rice and pasta can last for a very long time and can make a delicious meal with just a few extra items. And if these foods are on sale, stock up! They’ll taste just as good months from now. Other foods can be stored in the freezer and eaten when you want.

Foods With a Long Shelf Life Other Cheap & Healthy Foods
  • Beans and lentils
  • Brown rice or bulk rice
  • Nuts
  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, etc.
  • Quinoa
  • Whole-wheat or multi-grain pasta
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Frozen fruit (blueberries, strawberries, etc.)
  • Canned fruit (pears, peaches, etc.)
  • Soups
  • Flour
  • Oils
  • Peanut butter
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Bagged spinach
  • Egg substitute
  • Soybeans
  • Tofu
  • Apples, bananas, and oranges
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Melons
  • Chicken breast
  • Whole milk
  • Avocados
  • Lean ground beef
  • Lowfat cheese
  • Margarine

Buy Foods in Season

Keep track of which foods are in season to purchase them at the lowest price. Buying foods that are only in season in winter will cost you more in the summer. For example, squash and apples are in season in the fall; berries and broccoli in the summer. And if you want to save foods for months, freeze them! They’ll taste just as good months from now. There’s a whole list of foods to get acquainted with.

Keep Frozen Foods on Hand

Contrary to popular belief, frozen foods are just as nutritious as its fresh counterparts. That’s why it’s smart move to stock up on frozen fruited and vegetables. What’s more, you can use them year round as you wish. Frozen fruits and veggies also happen to be much cheaper since they are often packages in bulk, so there’s a fair amount of savings to be had here.

Tip #3: Cut Back on the Junk

Junk food refers to anything that is not prepared yourself. Most of the processed foods in stores are loaded with preservatives and cost a pretty penny in the long term, so avoid them at all costs. The healthiest and cheapest foods you’ll find that comes packaged is canned fish and canned and frozen fruits and veggies. Everything else is not worth it. Awesome tip: try to avoid the middle isles of the supermarket as they often have most of the processed foods there.

Water is Your Best Friend

You’d be surprised how much the average family spends on drinks. Sodas, canned drinks, and processed juices add up when you buy them every time you visit the market. Not only is it cheaper, but it is incredibly healthier! Just think of all the sugars in your average processed drink and compare it to water. Water will be the winner every time, and it is practically free!

Less is More

This is true when it comes to food. Only buy the essential foods you’ll need instead of splurging on everything on sale at the supermarket. Not only does this simplify your diet, it keep your wallet bulky as well. Foods like fruit, veggies, eggs, milk, grains, and beans are things every home always needs.

Less Meat

Meat can be really expensive and eating too much isn’t the healthiest choice. Especially red meat, try to limit your consumption of red meat. Remember, your body only needs about 1 gram of protein a day to keep your muscle mass, so you don’t have to eat a whole pound of flank steak to keep strong. Besides, you can replace meats with other protein substitutes (such as fish, eggs, tofu, etc.). Try to replace meat by diversifying your meals with lots of vegetables and sides.

It’s always important to eat healthy and you don’t have to spend a fortune on your groceries to do so.