You really can’t put a price on good health, yet sometimes it feels like an expensive chore to make healthy choices at the grocery store. However, the reality is that there’s no need to break the bank in an effort to eat well. To give you a little help, we’ve created a quick list of ways to eat healthy on a budget.
PLAN WEEKLY MEALS
When it comes to saving money at the grocery store, planning is of utmost importance. Designate one day a week to create a meal plan. When planning, consider each meal carefully and choose meals that overlap certain ingredients. This way you can either use remaining ingredients in other meals or purchase some ingredients in bulk (which is often times cheaper per ounce) and use them for meals throughout the week.
PLAN SNACKS TOO
While making your weekly meal plan, be sure to include snacks. This will not only keep your healthful diet on track, it will also help you avoid impulsive and pricey, junk food snack purchases.
STICK TO YOUR LIST
Since you’ve put all of that time into planning your meals and snacks, make a list of the specific foods and ingredients you need for each meal. Don’t forget to check the fridge, freezer, and cupboards while making the list to double-check that you aren’t purchasing things you already have on hand. Now here’s the hard part; sticking to your list. It’s tough sometimes. You see something unusual on sale, or there’s a display featuring the latest, greatest new flavor of one of your favorite foods. But here’s the thing, if you want to stick to being healthy on a budget and make certain that all of your carefully planned, healthful foods make it home, you need to put your blinders on in the store, check off your list, and hit the road home.
CHOOSE SEASONAL PRODUCE
Fresh produce is a hot ticket item in a healthy diet, but it can get a bit on the pricey side of things if you’re buying strawberries in January. Instead, pay attention to what types of produce is in season. Quite often in-season fruits and vegetable are less expensive than out-of-season produce. Still craving blueberries in March? Until summer rolls around, buy them frozen and save some cash.
SKIP THE CENTER AISLES
Unless you’re on a restricted or Vegan diet, most everything you need for being healthy on a budget can be found in the outer isles of the grocery store. Some whole foods are much cheaper than their processed counterparts (ex: brick cheese vs. shredded cheese, oats vs. oatmeal packets). Additionally, whole foods contain less sugar and other chemical-type ingredients than the processed versions, so you’re not only saving money, you’re improving your health to boot.
WATCH THE SALES
There’s no need to buy things just because they’re on sale, but if it’s something you eat regularly, stock up on the item(s) at the reduced price, prep it for future meals, and freeze it until you’re ready to use it. Be sure to write the date on the frozen food package, and keep note of your stock so that foods don’t get buried in the back and forgotten about to the point that you have to throw them away.
Another great way to take advantage of the weekly sales is to check out the sales first and plan your meals accordingly. Being healthy on a budget can sometimes be a challenge, but planning ahead will make it a whole lot easier.
GROW YOUR OWN
This time of year isn’t the right time for gardening, but you could certainly start planning one so you’re ready when spring arrives. Not only will growing your own vegetables save you money, it will help keep you active outside tending the garden, and you’ll know exactly what you’re getting, without the wonder of pesticides and chemicals being used. Additionally, in the fall canning your vegetables will save you money through the winter. As an added bonus, by canning your own food, you’ll know precisely what goes in your food, and you can control the amount of sugar and salt used. No time or space for a garden? Support your local farmer’s markets and save on fresh, seasonal produce all summer long.