“Eating healthy is too expensive.” Sound familiar?
It is true that higher quality often comes along with a higher price tag, but there are ways to enjoy healthy, delicious foods while keeping on budget.
Start by planning your meals. It may sound daunting, but it is a major money saver! Choose one day each week to plan your meals for the upcoming week.
Compile a list of all the ingredients you will need to prepare each meal for the next week.
Be mindful of your current refrigerator and pantry inventory. Often, there are ingredients hiding in the back that need to be used.
Throw in paper towels and toilet paper, and voila… instant grocery store shopping list!
The next major tip is stick to the list. Eat a snack at home before going to the grocery store, (you are more likely to adhere to your list if you shop on a full tummy.)
Know your budget for groceries that week. Shop smart so that your ingredients fit within your budget, and do not go over to buy items that are not on the list. Check your newspaper, local store circular, or internet sites for coupons and deals on the foods you need for the week.
Use your healthy, budget-friendly ingredients to make those meals at home! With your meals already planned, and ingredients waiting in the fridge, you are much less likely to order delivery at the last minute.
Cooking at home is insanely cheaper than eating out. Plus, you know exactly what you are eating, down to the last ingredient.
Some individuals love spending one weekend day cooking their meals for the following week, while others enjoy cooking each meal at that time.
Don’t just make one portion of each meal. Make a few servings and save the leftovers. They can be used for lunches, or can be frozen and enjoyed later. This saves you money and time in the future.
Buying ingredients in bulk also maximizes your budget. Buy in bulk when available and when the ingredients are fresh. You can always freeze the excess for a time when the ingredients may no longer be available.
Speaking of fresh seasonal ingredients, whole foods are far less expensive than their processed counterparts.
For example, a whole block of cheese is cheaper than a bag of shredded cheese, and fresh or canned beans are cheaper than refried ones. Brown rice, oats, and quinoa are also likely to be less expensive than one box of processed cereal.
Stock up on the good stuff! Fresh local produce is not only at its peak of flavor, but is also at its best price. It takes much less money to transport fruits and vegetables from a nearby farm than it does to transport food from halfway around the world. The same is true of meats and seafood.
If your favorite ingredient is not available fresh, check the freezer section. Many fruits, vegetables and seafood are available frozen (just be sure to check labels for added sugar or salt!)
As a general rule, try to shop the perimeter of the store first. This will make you more likely to fill your cart with whole, clean foods.
By eliminating the distractions of one aisle shelf after another, sticking to the main areas of produce, seafood, meat, and dairy will not only fill your cart with healthier options, but will help you keep to your list and stay on track with your budget.
Speaking of the middle aisles, another budget-saver is to cut junk food from your diet. Think about it; how much of your current grocery budget goes to things like soda, chips, cookies, prepackaged meals and processed foods?
Despite the fact that they hold little if any nutritional value, these foods are some of the most expensive. By eliminating processed foods from your diet, you are not only making a positive financial impact on your wallet, you are making an incredible impact on your health!
By planning meals, sticking to the list, buying in bulk, choosing whole fresh foods, and cutting out the junk, it is completely possible to eat healthy on a budget. We hope you use these tips to shop smarter, eat better, and save money!