Simple Ways to Eating Healthy on a Budget
Healthy foods are often more expensive making it difficult for you to shop on a budget when you want to eat healthy. But there are many ways to stay on a budget and still eat healthy when you shop for whole foods or foods that can be made using single-ingredients.
If you are planning to take the nutrition level of your family to a whole new level without seeing any major dip in your bank account, here are some grocery shopping and meal planning strategies that are suggested by the experts for eating healthy on a budget.
Planning Your Meals
Planning is essential when you want to save money at the grocery store. Make a list of what you plan to eat for the coming week and shop accordingly. But before that, make a note of what is already there in the cupboard or the refrigerator. Purchase only what you know you are definitely going to use and avoid buying anything that you will end up throwing.
Stick to Your List
Many times, making a list is simple but sticking to it is more difficult. We are often side tracked at the store resulting in making expensive purchases that were not intended. This is probably because you are spending most of your time in the middle sections of the store which are filled with processed and pricey foods which are often unhealthy. Instead, shop around the perimeter of the store as this area contains more whole foods. Download a grocery list app that will notify you when your favourite item is on a discount.
Avoid Eating Out
Cooking at home is often less expensive that dining at a restaurant. Most of the trips to restaurants happen when you fail to meet your last-minute cooking schedules. So plan ahead what you want to eat for lunch or dinner and make preparations a bit early. Cook one meal at a time rather than cooking in advance for the next day as it may end up in the trash can. Cooking at home also allows you to spend some quality time with the family and will let you know what’s exactly on your plate which is not the case with meals served at restaurants.
Avoid Shopping When You Are Hungry
This will make all your meal and budget plans go haywire. When you are hungry, you are more prone to stay off your grocery list and buy foods that you crave more rather than what is on the grocery list. This buying on the impulse will affect both your budget and your health. Have a healthy snack like a fruit or even a cup of yogurt before you hit the store as this will help you shop sensibly.
Buy Whole Foods
Whole foods are less expensive compared to their processed counterparts and can be also purchased in bulk. This will reduce the cost and yield more servings for the pack. Whole cheese is far less expensive then processed and shredded cheese and canned beans are better in quality and price compared to fried versions. Likewise, brown rice, oats and other whole grains are good for health when compared to processed grains and also have more servings per pack.
Avoid Buying Junk Foods
Junk foods like pre-packaged meals and processed foods are full of unhealthy ingredients and have less nutritional value. They are also very expensive too. So, switching to healthy foods will not only ensure that you consume high quality foods but also keep a check on your budget. Stop paying more for those cookies and crackers and soda and stick to foods with healthy ingredients. You’ll be surprised by the price cut and also the nutritional value.
Replace Meat with Other Protein Foods
While it is accepted that meat is a good source of protein, most of the regular meats that we shop have less shelf life and should be consumed quickly. Again, some of the cuts are more expensive burning a hole in the pocket. Instead, shop for other protein sources like beans, hemp seeds, legumes, canned fish or even eggs. They all are very inexpensive, nutritious, have more shelf life and are also easy to prepare.
Shop for Seasonal Produce
Seasonal produce is locally sourced most of the time and is cheaper compared to unseasonal produce. Again, the nutrient levels in the seasonal and fresh foods are at their peak level. Buying regional food means that it is cheaply priced as there is not cost incurred in transporting and in keeping them fresh all the way to the store. They can be easily stored even if they are bought in bulk and make good meal plans for the week ahead.