Eating healthy on a budget can at times seem daunting. We may have the idea that it is easy and cheap to eat on the go at fast food restaurants. It’s not. It is less expensive to invest in healthy, nutritious food. Chemical laden foods found in fast food restaurants and the highly refined food like substances that take up the entire midsection of the grocery store are poisonous to our bodies. If we eat like crap, one day we will pay the price for such decisions; in the long run, this makes eating unhealthy more expensive. We are here to help guide you to items that are both nutritious and wallet friendly.
One of the best things we can do to make sure we are eating healthy on a budget is to shop in the perimeter of the grocery store. In the perimeter of the store, you will find all the produce, meats and dairy—the real food. The center isles are typically filled with all the processed crap that is void of any real nutritional value.
Eating healthy on a budget means you will begin eating more home cooked meals. When we prepare our food, we know exactly what is or is not going into our food. Numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Consumer Expenditure Survey shows that Americans spend about half of their food dollars away from home. Eat at home and you’ll save a bundle.
Eating Healthy On a Budget
- Eat more vegetarian meals – Meat can be expensive. There are many options to attaining protein daily that do not require you to eat meat. Lentils, beans, quinoa, hemp and chia seeds are great sources of protein that leave you feeling full. Eating more vegetarian meals lightens your bill.
- Stock up when there are sales – When organic products go on sale, be sure to stock up. When we buy items on sale, we instantly cut down on the grocery store bill. Eating healthy on a budget means we look for and take advantage of the sales that happen weekly. Many items can be stored in the freezer for later use. Think frozen fruits and veggies as well as boxed items like quinoa and beans.
- Buy in bulk or direct from companies online – The cost per serving goes down when we buy in bulk. When we buy directly from the company, we get the best deal as we cut out the middle man.
- Make bigger batches – Since we are buying in bulk, we can make a double batch of our favorite meal and store the extra as a freezer meal for later. This always makes serving healthy food easy when we are crunched for time. We do not have to stress about what is for dinner; simply pull out the freezer meal and reheat it.
- Start a small garden – A small garden can produce a large amount of food, saving us money and providing healthy food for our family. If you do not have a yard for a garden, consider growing a tomato plant near a kitchen window or plant a herb garden that will flourish in the windowsill.
- Shop locally at farmers markets – Farmers markets have great prices on produce and you will get the freshest, local food available to you. It is important to know where our food comes from. Farmers markets allow us the opportunity to talk to the people growing our food so we know exactly what we are getting.
- Don’t shop when you are hungry – When we are hungry and go shopping, we often buy items we otherwise would not choose. Everything looks good so everything ends up in the cart, which can be costly.
- Recreate left overs – Instead of tossing out leftovers, recreate the food into another meal and reduce food waste. If you make a big batch of quinoa and veggies as a side dish one evening, think about making stuffed peppers the next night using the quinoa and veggies. If you have left over roasted chicken, make soup with the left overs. There are endless ideas to making leftovers more exciting.
Source: Food Matters - STEPHANIE WEEKS