For many of us, eating healthy can be quite expensive and can easily go out of budget. So we result in cheaper unhealthy alternatives. This doesn’t however, have to be the case because there are many useful and helpful tips available these days on how your family can eat healthy on a budget.
Many of these tips I’m about to share with you, I’ve personally implemented in my household and seen tremendous results. I’ve also been able to make huge savings thereby enabling us to channel to other important family needs.
It’s safe to say that eating healthy on a budget is not an impossible a task as once made out to be; you can definitely implement these tips in your household and be guaranteed to make massive savings too.
Smart Tips On How to Eat Healthy On A Budget
1. Draw Up a Weekly Meal Plan
Eating healthy on a budget can be attainable, but it does come with some homework. Pick a day of the week and use it to draw up your meal plan for the following week. Plan your meals sensibly and carefully after scanning through cabinets, fridge, and freezers.
2. Make a Grocery List
Organising your grocery list is the key to eating healthy on a budget. Make a list of all the essential ingredients you’ll need and make sure to stick to it to avoid buying more than you need and end up with food wastage. I recommend using shopping apps like MealimeFavado as they have features like saving your favorites, suggesting healthy meal plans, etc.
Shopping Tips To Eat Healthy On A Budget
- The perimeter of the shop contains the whole foods; the middle contains the unhealthy and processed.
- Buy foods in less processed form as they can be much cheaper. For example, instead of buying grated cheese which is more expensive, I buy a block of cheese and grate myself. Less processed food also have more servings per package.
- Buying produce by the bag is cheaper than purchasing by pieces.
- Stock up on some of the products you regularly use if you come across them on sales. Be sure to check the expiration date to avoid throwing out before getting the chance to use.
3. Avoid Shopping When Hungry
This comes as a rule of thumb to save money and eat healthy on a budget. I’ve implemented for many years now and seen good results to shop within a reasonable budget. Shopping when hungry is more likely to result in you buying sugary, unhealthy snacks. Instead, if I feel hungry and have to go shopping, I grab a piece of fruit or any other healthy snack. Prefer whole foods compared to packed unhealthy foods.
4. Buy Frozen
Frozen fruits and vegetables are quite nutritious and healthy especially ones with no added sugar or preservatives. They are also much cheaper than fresh alternatives which can sometimes be quite expensive and seasonal – while the frozen variety is available year out.
They also make a great addition of choices when planning meals for example, in making smoothies. They further save on wastage in that you only get to take a small portion of what you need and store the rest back in the freezer.
6. Eat More Veggie Meals
When planning my weekly meals, I noticed that fish and meat meals were the most costly to make. I’ve now ended up preparing a lot more veggie meals like casseroles and pasta for my family, and with a little innovation, every meal is loved and appreciated. Veggies can be cheaper yet the antioxidants and benefits they provide can be beneficial to eating healthy on a budget. Vegetables are also good for your skin and act as good anti-aging foods.
5. Buy Cheaper Generic Brands
Big brands can easily eat up your money and prevent you from eating healthy on a budget. Most stores stock cheaper generic brands as alternatives for many national branded food products. Because all food manufacturers are required to follow safety procedures in producing their foods, the quality and taste of value products are quite similar to premium brands.
I personally have experimented with this theory and ended up concluding this to be true. So while shopping, I mix between value and premium brands on some products to cut down on costs yet eat healthy.
6. Make Home Cooked Meals
It’s a no-brainer that we save more when we cook at home instead of eating out. Eating out can be quite fun, but it definitely puts a dent in your pocket. I have done the calculations many times and have always come out with the same results. I’m able to feed my family of four with the cost of a meal for two at a restaurant.
Because cooking can get quite monotonous if done day in day out, I always recommend getting creative with food choices. Maybe instead of the usual familiar menu, jazz it up with a trial recipe, surprise your family. Look through cooking sites, borrow cookbooks from your library ask family and friends for some of their favorite recipes or even lurk around our recipe updates.
I also suggest cooking large meals and freezing for next time as this is a sure way to save you time and money. Also, leftovers make for great lunches, other recipes and are great in making budget-friendly meals such as stir-fries, stews, and soups. The key here is to avoid as much food wastage as possible.
7. Buy In Bulk
This has been a great way in which I have managed to cut the cost of food shopping in my home. A great example is instead of buying a 2lb bag of rice which cost about $3.77 and will only serve a meal I buy a 20lb bag for $10. Definitely a lot cheaper and lasts much longer.
The same is true for other food items such as beans, barley, lentils, oats, nuts, dried fruits, etc. As long as they are stored in airtight containers, they’ll last for a very long time. I use all of these staple foods on a regular basis to cook healthy meals for my family, and a lovely snack treats for my kids.
8. Research Cheap Recipes List
I found this to be quite helpful in that the more affordable recipes I tried, the more money I saved. Some of my favorite sites to visit include Southern living, Tasteofhome, and Allrecipes. You can also visit libraries and thrift shops for cookbooks.
9. Cut Down On Junk Food and Extras
It can be very tempting to fill your baskets with items such as chips, chocolate, biscuits, fizzy drinks, cakes and so on. However, it’s important to bear in mind that these items are not only costly but tend to contain lots of sugar, salt, and fats and are very unhealthy.
Do yourself and your family a huge favor and substitute with healthier and cheaper alternatives such as dried fruits, nuts, plain yogurts etc. I also now tend to make my own healthy fruit and nut bars. They are many recipes available on the internet; you should try them if you haven’t yet – you’d be pleasantly surprised.
10. Eat Bite-Size Portions
Try reducing portion sizes by eating smaller or bite-size portions. This will help you feel fuller and help resist the temptation for a second helping. Also try serving food on smaller plates, eating slower and chewing longer.
It is quite possible to eat healthy on a tight budget following the above-outlined suggestions. Plan your meals, make better grocery choices, cook more meals at home, cut down on junk food and do even more planning and research. Making these wise changes will not only save you money but will come with tremendous health benefits.
Please share with us any ways in which you are benefiting from eating healthy on a budget and if you haven’t yet made those changes, now will be a great time to start.
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