Eating healthy on a budget is easier than you think! With these 17 tips for eating healthy on a budget, you will start to see the savings in your wallet quickly!
It is no secret that eating healthy can be expensive. Organic fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains are often pricier than their processed counterparts. Even the non-organic versions can be pricy too.
However, eating healthy does not have to break the bank. With a little bit of creativity and meal planning, you can start eating healthy without busting your budget at the seams.
Eating healthy is already a difficult challenge for most people, but to do so while on a budget can seem completely impossible. Fortunately, that isn’t the case.
There are several simple solutions that can help your family eat better and save you money at the same time. You also won’t be nearly as tempted to eat out so many times per week.
Check out these tips on eating healthy while on a budget.
Top 17 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget
Keep to Your Grocery List
After you’ve planned out your meals and made a list of everything that you need, it’s time to go shopping. But don’t stray from the list! By placing unexpected items into your cart, you’ll end up with an undesired cost at the checkout lane.
But have you ever forgotten your list by the time you reached the store? With a shopping app downloaded on your phone, you’ll never again have to worry about shopping aimlessly while your list is sitting on the kitchen counter at home.
Shop at the Farmer’s Markets
Farmers markets offer a variety of fresh, seasonal produce at a fraction of the price of grocery stores. Plus, you can often find deals on meat, eggs, and honey.
Buy in Bulk
Shopping for certain items in bulk can save your family a huge chunk of money. This includes staple foods such as brown rice, beans, oats, and barley, all of which can be used to make a nutritious meal for you and your family. Dried fruits and nuts are great snack items that can also be purchased in bulk.
You can also save money on meat by buying in bulk and freezing individual portions for later use.
Planning out your meals for the week is an excellent way to save your family money. When you know what you are going to make ahead of time, you are less likely to make impulse purchases or order takeout.
Before you head to the grocery store, scan your cabinets and fridge to see if you already have some of the ingredients that you need to create these meals. This may help you cross a few items off your list and also help you use up some of the foods that may be close to expiring.
Need help with meal planning? Check out Meal Planning for Busy Moms!
Cook at Home
Cooking at home is almost always cheaper—and healthier—than eating out. If cooking meals from scratch is not your thing, there are plenty of quick and easy recipes that use healthy ingredients that won’t break the bank.
Bring Your Own Food with You On the Go
Packing your own meals and snacks with you when you leave the house can help you avoid costly (and unhealthy) convenience foods.
Avoid Shopping While Hungry
Have you ever made the mistake of taking a trip to the grocery store while on an empty stomach? If you have, you may have noticed that you not only spent a lot more money than usual but that you also put more processed foods in your cart that were of very little nutritional value.
So if you’re trying to eat healthy while on a budget, don’t make the mistake of shopping while your stomach is growling.
Stock Up on Sale Items
One of the best things that you can do for your budget is to shop for sale items and then don’t be afraid to stock up on them. While you’ll be spending more upfront, this keeps you from paying full retail on these items later on when you need them.
You might even want to pay attention to a few of your favorite store’s ad flyers each week to stock up on the sale items that your family uses often.
Drink Water Instead of Sugary Drinks
Sugary drinks like sodas and juices can add up quickly—both in terms of money and calories. Staying hydrated with water is not only healthier but also cheaper.
Get Creative with Leftovers
Don’t let perfectly good food go to waste! As long as your family doesn’t mind eating leftovers, cooking larger portions is a great way to save you both time and money.
Leftovers can then be used to create a completely different meal, whether you use them to make salad, burritos, stir-fries, or to make stew. Check out the ideas I have for grilled chicken, spaghetti sauce, and ground beef below.
There are many delicious ways to turn leftovers into new meals.
You can use grilled chicken to make your first meal as chicken and steamed veggies. The next night you can use leftovers to make chicken fajitas with sauteed onions and peppers, grilled chicken salad, or even creamy chicken alfredo.
If you have leftover spaghetti sauce, you can use it to make lasagna with a few additional ingredients. Or chicken parmesan using leftover grilled chicken from the ideas above.
If you have hamburger patties left over from a get together, you can make hamburger patties topped with brown gravy and serve it with mashed potatoes and green beans. Another option is to crumble the ground beef and make spaghetti over noodles or zoodles.
Whatever you don’t plan on eating right away, you can place it in the freezer for later. This can also keep you from thinking that you have no choice but to eat out when you’re not feeling in the mood to cook a meal from scratch.
Grow your own food.
If you have even a small amount of space, you can grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Not only is this a great way to get fresh, local produce, but it can also save you money in the long run.
If you are looking for gardening tips? Check out all these amazing gardening ideas and tips.
Use coupons wisely.
Coupons can be a great way to save money on groceries, but it is important to use them wisely. Only use coupons for items that you would normally purchase anyway, and be sure to check expiration dates so that you don’t end up wasting money on expired items.
If you are looking for ways to save but don’t want to clip coupons, check out these tips on how to save money without clipping coupons.
Shop the Perimeter of the Grocery Store and Avoid Processed Foods
The perimeter of any grocery store is where you will find a majority of their whole foods. Which is exactly what you need to be eating more of when you’re trying to eat healthy.
But I’m not going to lie to you. These food items are typically more expensive than what you will find down the center aisles. However, if you make it a habit to fill up your grocery cart with more whole foods before you reach the center of the store, you’ll be more conscious about what you’re placing in the cart when you get there.
Processed foods are generally more expensive than whole foods and are often less nutritious as well. When possible, opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains instead of processed foods.
Skip Out on Processed Foods
When you’re trying to eat healthier, your grocery store’s center aisles are where you need to be extra cautious. Why? Because that’s where all your favorite snacks and processed foods are lingering.
Not only are these food items bad for you and contain hardly any nutritional value, but some of them are fairly expensive. So the less money that you spend on these items, the more you can put towards healthier foods that also may not be very cheap.
But if you have to buy certain processed foods down these aisles, be sure to avoid grabbing everything that’s at eye level. Don’t forget to scan the top and bottom shelves as well because that’s typically where they keep their cheaper items.
When you’re on a tight budget, buying generic foods from your local grocery store is a smart way to shop. Most grocery stores sell them alongside the national leading brands. But what may be surprising to you is that many of them are of the same quality as your favorite brands, only cheaper.
Just remember to pay attention to the ingredients list and compare it to the leading brands so that you don’t settle for less quality or get something that has unexpected ingredients in it.
Buy Frozen Fruits and Veggies
Do you enjoy fruits and vegetables but they always seem to go bad before you can eat them? Throwing out spoiled produce all the time is no different than guiding your hard-earned money through a paper shredder. So don’t hesitate to shop for your favorite fruits and vegetables down the frozen aisle.
You’ll still be getting most of the nutrients you would with fresh produce, but then you can also enjoy them whenever you want. Buying frozen is cheaper too, especially when these items are no longer in season.
Eat Less Meat But Still Get Your Protein
Meat prices have surely gone up this past year. So instead of eating meat as often, how about seeking out other food sources to get your protein? Some examples include legumes, eggs, hemp seeds, canned fish, and other canned meats.
Not only do most of these items have a long shelf life which keeps them from spoiling so quickly, but they’re also much cheaper to buy than meat.
Eating healthy does not have to be expensive! By following these tips, you can eat healthy without breaking the bank! It really just comes down to making smarter decisions while you’re shopping at the grocery store. Can you think of any other ways to eat healthy when you’re on a budget?
Be sure to pin these budgeting tips for eating healthy on a budget!