Eating healthy isn’t easy, and it certainly isn’t cheap! The struggle is real (for most of us,) and it doesn’t make dieting any easier when we are forced to go over our budgets just to eat well-balanced meals. In my research, I’ve found effective techniques courtesy of Buzzfeed and Stronglifts. Here are the 10 simple ways to eat healthy on a budget!
- Plan your weekly meals.Create a meal plan! When you start planning what you (and your family) eat each day of the week, you’ll notice your grocery bill shrinking, as well as your waists. If you plan to cook ahead of time, you’ll decrease the chances that you’ll resort to dining out- not to mention those extra-large restaurant portions!
- Shop alone, and stay away from the central aisles of the grocery store.If you bring along your spouse and kids to the grocery store, you can be sure that the shopping cart will be filled with junk food and unnecessary items by the time you’re at the checkout. By shopping alone, you’re strengthening your own willpower to stay away from the central aisles of the grocery store- which is home to chips, cookies, and all other temptations you don’t need.
- If you often let food go bad, buy frozen instead.I am the type of person who accidentally lets food go bad, and I’ve found that the best way to correct that is to buy frozen food instead. Frozen food is inexpensive, it lasts longer, and it’s relatively fresh.
- Buy generic.If your goal is to eat healthy without breaking the bank, there is no other way to go than generic. Most often, generic foods offer the same quality as the big name brands, with almost the same taste. The important thing to note is that buying generic foods will save you money, whereas brand name foods are sold at a higher price due to packaging and advertising.
- Buy from local farmers.What better way to support the local community and buy fresh? But what a lot of people don’t realize, is that most of the fruits and veggies at farmer’s markets are nearly half the price of those found in a typical grocery store. (Tip: go to the farmers market when it’s about to close on the last day, that’s when they start to slash the prices, as they want to get rid of their extra produce.)
- Drink tap water.Obviously this depends on the quality of the water in your tap, but most often, the water is fine and tastes the same as bottled water! (You can always get a filter for your faucet.) When you make the switch from bottled water, you’ll most likely drink more water (which is imperative for a healthy diet) and you’ll spend even less money on it!
- Grow your own food.When growing a garden first crossed my mind, I thought to myself “As if I would ever have the time.” It didn’t seem like the reward of growing my own food would outweigh the effort I would need to apply to the garden itself. But having your own garden is a great way to control your diet, while saving some money! So I decided to give it a try, and I planted my first garden this month in hopes shrinking my grocery bill over the summer (and also for the fun of it.) It’s proven to be great exercise- instead of sitting on the couch watching TV, I’ve been sowing, trimming, digging and watering!
- Cook large batches of food, and re-purpose your leftovers for later.When making dinner for you (and your family,) always make more than enough. The leftovers can be repurposed and served as meals another day- some meals can be eaten in a couple different ways so that you don’t get tired of them over the week.
- Buy everything from one place.I am guilty of visiting over 5 stores in one day, just to find the good deals. But in all actuality- that’s a waste of gas and time. I’ve narrowed my shopping down to two grocery stores that I know will have the good deals. There is no sense in driving the extra 5 miles just to save $2 on one item. (You’ve spent that much in gas, while traveling there!)
10. Eat before you go shopping. By far the best tip I can give you. I have gone to the grocery store too many times on an empty stomach, and walked out with a full cart of junk food and unnecessary food purchases. Eating a meal before going grocery shopping will ensure that you pay more attention to the content of the food and the prices, instead of the appeal.