Yes! It’s possible. You can eat healthy on a budget.
While healthy eating may be an adjustment for some people, it’s totally doable and doesn’t have to break the bank. This article will review some tips and tricks to help you maintain a healthy diet without emptying your wallet.
1. Take inventory, then shop with a plan
Before you go grocery shopping, browse your pantry, fridge, and freezer and take a mental inventory. Use the food items you have on hand to brainstorm ideas or recipes. You can also consider recipes with common ingredients (grilled chicken and rice versus chicken and rice soup). These strategies prevent food waste and help you save money by incorporating some of what you already have. From there, plan your meals and snacks in advance and make a shopping list. Head to the grocery store and stick to your list to prevent buying things you don’t need. This will save you from overspending.
2. Consider buying in bulk
Keep your eyes peeled for sales on items you frequently like to have on hand, then stock up! Consider deals on grains, beans, or other staples you enjoy and have a longer shelf. Outside of looking for sales or deals in regular grocery stores, you can shop wholesale grocery stores that sell things in bulk. Buying in bulk can save you a ton of money in the long run.
3. Cook at home more
Cooking at home is your best friend when it comes to eating healthy on a budget. Eating out, ordering takeout, or delivery can add up quickly. So, dust off those pots and pans and experiment in the kitchen. Cooking at home also gives you more control over the ingredients and portion sizes, which can be good for your health and your wallet.
4. Set a food budget and explore
Track your spending to identify any areas where you can cut back. Then, set a realistic food budget and try to stick to it. Don’t be afraid to explore more affordable, similarly nutritious options, like store-brand options or other generic alternatives. As far as weekly staples are concerned, meat is the most expensive. Consider some meatless meals that use beans, peas, lentils, or quinoa for all or part of the protein source. You can also use plant-based options to stretch recipes further. For example, adding black beans to your ground turkey taco meat adds more protein and stretches it a little further. Lastly, try checking out local farmers’ markets for fresh produce deals. You might be surprised at how small changes can lead to big savings over time.
5. Buy frozen or canned options
Frozen fruits, frozen vegetables, or canned goods can be less expensive than fresh options but still contain similar nutrients. They also last longer than their fresh counterparts! For canned goods in general, try to go for low-sodium or no salt added options. For canned fruit specifically, look for “light syrup” or “in its own juice” options. Frozen fruits are great for smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt. Both frozen vegetables and low-sodium canned goods can be easy for soups or grain bowls.
6. Leftovers can be your friend – embrace it!
Ever make something to eat and end up with too many leftovers to eventually get sick of it? Don’t throw it away! Freeze leftovers in meal-size containers and enjoy them on a day you don’t feel like cooking. You can also repurpose leftovers in new recipes or new meal combinations. Use leftover chicken for a chicken wrap, leftover taco meat for taco soup, or make a burrito bowl with your leftover black beans. If you buy poultry, fish, or other meat products that may go bad before you can cook them, freeze them and use them later.
Thankfully, eating healthy on a budget isn’t too complicated. It just takes planning, smart shopping, and a willingness to be creative in the kitchen. Your health is worth investing in, and with these tips, you can make it a priority without draining your wallet.