Eating healthy is something we should all be doing; however, it is easier said than done. Now, I’m not necessarily talking about the willpower and ability to dedicate yourself to a healthy lifestyle.
I am talking about how to eat healthy on a budget. The simple fact is that eating healthy can be expensive, if you don’t do it right.
Food prices and the cost of living continue to rise. The last few months have seen some of the worst inflation our generation has seen. Therefore, eating healthier is becoming more expensive, especially for single moms like me who have children.
However, there are things that you can do to eat healthy while not spending an outrageous amount of money. Therefore, I will give you a few tips on how to eat healthy on a budget.
- Tips On How to Eat Healthy On a Budget
- Final Thoughts
Tips On How to Eat Healthy On a Budget
Let’s go over the best things that you can do to eat healthy while still maintaining a reasonable budget.
It All Starts With a Good Meal Plan
Creating solid meal plans is a significant part of eating healthy on a budget. It is a simple fact that you will save money if you plan your weekly meals. This doesn’t only have to do with healthy eating, but with saving money in general. If you plan your meals, you can create a good shopping list that features items you plan on using for those meals. If you plan for each meal, you can ensure all meals within that week are covered.
This will prevent you from buying last-minute snacks and foods because you are hungry or don’t know what to make.
It’s cheaper to plan what you will buy instead of those last-minute or impulse purchases.
Don’t Deviate from Your Grocery List
Many of us create grocery lists but then don’t stick to them, which is not good for maintaining a budget. For example, your grocery list may only contain vegetables and proteins, but you end up at home with snacks and other items you don’t need.
Therefore, stick to your grocery list. If it’s not on your grocery list as dictated by the meal plans you created, you should not buy it.
This will prevent you from buying snacks and unhealthy foods that are nothing more than a waste of money. Make a grocery list and stick to it, no matter what.
Pay Attention to Weekly Deals and Savings
One thing that will help save money is paying attention to weekly deals and savings when your local grocery store has certain items on sale.
A grocery store will release a flyer or brochure that lists its sales of the week. This is a great marketing tactic as it helps gets people in the door.
However, this is also convenient for people who want to eat healthy on a budget. Going back to those meal plans, you should see what is on sale at which grocery stores in your area.
This will allow you to build a meal plan based on the cheapest items on sale. Remember, just because things are on sale does not mean low quality. You can save hundreds of dollars each month by buying the items on sale weekly.
Finding the Right Shops Matters
Finding the right places to shop makes a difference. There are high-end grocery stores with expensive products and lower-end or more cost-effective stores for lower-income groups. Now, the quality of the product is not always going to be the same, but that said, when it comes to saving money, lower income-oriented grocery stores tend to be ideal.
I try to do most of my produce shopping at my local fruit market. This is especially the case when it comes to places like Chinatown in NYC, or H Marts in NJ. The small fruit and vegetable shops here tend to have more affordable produce. I often pay about half as much for my fruits and vegetables at these local markets as at grocery stores.
Moreover, there is no point in paying $4 for the same pasta at a grocery store that you can find for $1 at your local bargain store. Pay attention to the quality of foods you buy from bargain stores, but certain items are not worth spending more money on.
Buying in Bulk Makes a Difference
Something else that will make a difference in eating healthy on a budget is buying in bulk. This is a general rule of thumb, whether food or otherwise, no matter what you buy. Buying in bulk is usually always cheaper than buying single items.
If you can find a local store that sells in bulk, you will save money. These are often the same places that restaurants and smaller markets shop at.
You can get huge packages of goods at a better cost-per-serving price. Unfortunately, this also means that you need to have storage for the amount of food you buy in bulk. However, buying your foods at wholesale retailers is an excellent idea if you have a large family.
Buy Produce That Is In Season
Buying your produce only when it is in season is ideal if you want to eat healthy on a budget. This is something I always try to do because produce that is not in season will be more expensive.
Produce that is not in season is grown in a different location and then transported to you. Moreover, these products may need to be stored in ways so that they don’t go bad. Sure, oranges are always tasty, but they’re more expensive during the winter than in summer.
Research which fruits and vegetables are in season in your area. Yes, this may slightly limit the foods you can eat at certain times during the year, but it will help you save money.
Stick to Cooking at Home
One of the best things to eat healthy on a budget is to cook at home; eating out is always more expensive than cooking at home.
In a restaurant, you pay for the labor and other costs − not just for the food. However, you only pay the food price when you cook at home. Moreover, when you eat at a restaurant or get takeout, you just don’t really know what ingredients they use.
They can use a lot of unhealthy fats, MSG, and who knows what else. Cooking at home enables you to use the ingredients you want without any toxic additions. Therefore, cooking at home is both cheaper and healthier.
Go For Off Brand Products
When shopping, stick to off-brand products. Brand-name products look nice and are popular, but that’s about it. More often than not, there is no real difference between brand-name and off-brand products − except for the price.
More often than not, the quality is going to be the same. There’s no point in paying twice as much for a brand-name product if there is no difference in terms of taste or quality.
These are 8 tips that will enable you to eat healthy on a budget. Remember, eating on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to eat less or lower-quality food. If you follow the tips above, you can still have great meals and stay on budget.