Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget
Healthy foods cost too much.
I can’t afford to feed my family healthy foods all the time.
My budget doesn’t include healthy foods.
I’m on a fixed income and eating healthy is not an option.
These are some of the common statements so many of my clients make when discussing transitioning to a healthier diet for them and their family.
Are these your concerns too?
Eating healthy does appear to be more expensive at first glance — but after a bit of evaluating you soon realize that eating healthy is absolutely possible on a budget. In fact, once you get the hang of it, it can be quite simple!
I’m going to share some of my tried-and-true tips on how to eat healthy without breaking the bank. Take these tips and make them habits in your life, and you’ll soon find you can successfully have a healthier kitchen without sacrificing a large chunk of your bank account.
1. Plan your Menu for the week:
Find some simple easy healthy recipes that are just right for you and your family. Make your shopping list and make sure your list includes healthy choices. When you have your meals planned, you’re less likely to buy more than what you need. Plus, it makes your shopping trip that much quicker.
2. Shop the perimeter:
Think about it — all the healthy items are on the outside perimeter of the store. For the most part, the inside aisles are the pre-packaged, boxed foods that typically aren’t ideal for a healthy lifestyle. – and they’re more expensive per serving.
There are certainly some items you’ll need from the inside aisles, but the majority of the cart can be filled with items from the perimeter. So always start by shopping the perimeter of the store before you dive into the inside aisles.
3. Don’t get pre-cut items:
Yes, it takes extra time, but buying pre-chopped onions or cut up fruit costs a significant amount more than buying a full cantaloupe and cutting it yourself. Plus, when you cut your own vegetables and fruits, you know exactly how fresh they are.
4. Shop at various places:
Wolesale stores such as Costco or Sams Club may be most beneficial to shop at for some healthy items, but probably not your entire grocery list. Scope out where you can get your staple items weekly. Are your veggies most affordable at the Farmers Market or Trader Joes? Is it most economical to get your grains and beans in the bulk aisle at Whole Foods? Shop around and find the best deals for what you need on a weekly basis.
5. Grow it at home:
Are there some items you frequently eat that you can grow in your backyard or on your balcony?
There is a tremendous amount of foods that you can easily grow at home, many of them you can even grow from scraps. Free is always great, right!?
And when you grow it yourself, you know your food isn’t laden with harmful chemicals. If you have young children at home, you can make this a fun activity for them to be involved in. My son would not eat green beans, until he planted his own seeds, watch them grow and picked them. Now, my granddaughter enjoys picking fresh vegetables from my containers and bringing them in for us to enjoy. So, what can you consider growing yourself?
6. Buy in season:
In season vegetables and fruits are far less expensive, more nutritious and easier to find. Fruits are almost always on sale at conventional grocery stores – so check online to see where you can get berries half off or where you can stock up on fruit for the week.
Some produce will cost more than others. Making the bulk of your produce the least expensive ones available, can keep your grocery bill down each week. Greens, carrots, apples, bananas and celery are among a few very inexpensive options. Balance those out with some more expensive broccoli, Brussels sprouts or berries, and you’re well on your way to eating healthy on a budget.
Summer is such a fun season. I find myself not wanting to take the time to cook meals that require a lot of time in the kitchen. I’m just too lazy for all of that cooking – especially when there’s daylight left to have fun in. I’ve compiled a Simple Summer Meals 5 Day Challenge to share with you. You’ll get some great tips on how to make summer more enjoyable, without the hassle of all that cooking.