Eating healthy on a budget:
Are you wondering about eating healthy on a budget? Even when you know what a healthy diet looks like and what foods to choose from, paying for them can be difficult, especially when you’re working under a tight budget.
However, there are different practices you can incorporate into your life to help you stick to your budget and even save more money while eating healthy.
Here are some ways to eat healthy when on a budget.
Cook at home:
Income can be a barrier to buying and preparing healthy meals. But if you have time or can spare some, cooking at home is the most effective and healthy way to eat on a budget.
With good planning, there are things you can do to make cooking at home easier, enjoyable, and most importantly, cost-effective.
For instance, pick a day each week to plan your meals for the upcoming week. Make a list of the groceries you’ll need for each meal but first, take a look in your fridge and pantry and make use of what you already have. If you have anything at home that can substitute what you had written on your list, go for it. Using what you already have will also help prevent spoilage and food wastage.
Stick to your grocery list:
It’s easy to get attracted to other things you didn’t include in your grocery list. But unless it’s something you genuinely forgot to write down, always stick to your list to avoid unintended purchases and expenses.
And the fact that you didn’t write it down means it’s not really important, and you can comfortably do without it.
Buy non-perishable items in bulk:
You can get items such as dry legumes and dry fruits or whole grains from online retailers like your local store’s website or Amazon. Also check out warehouse stores and grocery stores that sell in bulk. This will help you buy what you need, and in case they have free delivery, it will save you on gas and time. However, ensure you countercheck the expiry dates and avoid anything with a short expiration date.
Buy fresh vegetables and fruits in season:
Seasonal foods are not only packed with nutrients, but they also tend to be sold at a lower price compared to out-of-season or imported ones. Besides, eating what’s in season also helps promote local farmers, which generally contributes to your local economy.
Buy perishable foods in quantities you’ll use. Always buy fresh produce you can finish within a week to avoid wastage and loss of money. If you have to purchase produce for more than a week, you better go for frozen versions.
Avoid prepared foods:
Even if you feel like ready-made foods will be a quick alternative to cooking, avoid them at all costs unless you have planned to spend more on such foods. Besides, ready-made foods may not be necessary if you are in a position to prepare a healthy home-cooked meal.
Clip coupons but with caution:
Coupons can come in handy when on a budget; however, practice caution because they may persuade you to buy items you did not plan for.
Also, don’t forget some brands of the same item may cost less even without the coupon, so take your time to get the best at a fair price.
Go for store brands:
Store brands cost less. So take your time and go through the available brands to see whether there is a store brand for the particular item you want. They are often placed higher or lower than your eyes could directly reach. Store brands may contain unique labels or the store name.
Avoid convenience foods – they cost more:
You can save more money if willing to put in a little effort. For example, instead of going for instant oats or instant rice, go for whole grains, which are still high in fiber and won’t have you overeating to feel satisfied. Besides, whole grains are high in vitamins and minerals, which the body needs to stay healthy.
And instead of going for prepackaged salad mixes that cost more and may not stay fresh long, consider ahead of lettuce and other seasonal vegetables and mix your salads at home.
Resist the temptation at the checkout:
The checkout is another place you are likely to spend if you have a sweet tooth. Things like chocolates and candies are strategically placed, and if not careful, you may end your shopping unwanted items that were never on the list.
Be creative with leftovers:
Eating the same food more than twice may be boring that you may end up tossing it into the trash can. However, cooking a large portion of food at once may help you save on gas and other ingredients that go into the meal. You just need to get a little creative with the leftovers, and there is a lot of inspiration online that you can emulate.
You can even freeze the leftovers to use at a later date.
Don’t shop hungry:
Going to the store hungry may tempt you to reach out for processed foods that are not only unhealthy but may also increase your expenditure.
Always snack on a fruit or any other healthy food of your choice to tame hunger and cravings when shopping.
Take advantage of food on sale:
If you have any favorite foods on sale, stock up on them. Again, check the expiry to avoid buying something you’ll end up throwing away before you even use it.
Replace meat with plant protein:
Plant proteins such as legumes, nuts, and whole grains are nutritious and affordable compared to their animal counterparts.
So, incorporate more plant protein to save money and enhance health.
Final thoughts on eating healthy on a budget:
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. You can easily meet your budget while eating healthy by simply incorporating a few practices into your lifestyle. This may including cooking at home, sticking to a grocery list, and being creative with leftovers.
Also, keep off processed foods as they can cost more and are not suitable for your health.
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