While we can pretty much all agree that it’s important to eat healthily, sometimes it seems like prices didn’t read the memo…and our wallets certainly didn’t.
Fortunately, there are ways to eat healthy even on a limited budget. Even small changes can lead to better living, and a lot of small changes can be made without draining your bank account. You might even be surprised. Some incredibly healthy foods are actually incredibly cheap.
To help you get started on those small changes, we’ve compiled a list of ways that you eat healthier without spending extra money.
Plan it out
First and foremost, it’s a very good idea to plan ahead. When you go into a store blind, it can be super easy to buy things on an impulse, ultimately ending up with a lot of unhealthy food and healthy food that you don’t end up using. And then, there’s that fun little moment when you get home to realize you forgot something.
Going in with a game plan can help you to get everything you need and cut back on the amount of food that ends up in the bin. Try sitting down once a week to make a list of things to get from the store. You can plan out what meals to make and look up healthy recipes so you know exactly what you’re going to need.
You can also use it to look for deals so you can get healthy foods for cheaper.
Look for deals
Speaking of deals, be sure to look into those.
Look around to see if you can find coupons. There are online sites that have them available for free as well as some apps. That can really help you get the grocery bill down a bit.
Also, pay attention to any deals your grocery store (or any local stores, really, they might let you price match) happens to be running and what produce is in season. This can help you get fresh fruits and veggies for less dough
Speaking of produce, if you do find a good deal, stock up if you’re able to. You can freeze the fruits and veggies you don’t use for later. You can use them for a smoothie or store for down the road when fresher options aren’t available.
Stock your pantry
Another good tip is to have a set of long-lasting ingredients that you always keep well-stocked. These would be items like some type of healthy cooking oil, herbs, bagged rice, frozen vegetables, etc. They’re generally low-cost but can really serve as the building blocks for a great meal.
Just to paint a picture, say you run into a deal on chicken breasts at the store. You could buy just this, and then steam up some rice and frozen veggies that you had at home to go with it.
Don’t be afraid to buy frozen or canned fruits and vegetables. This can be a way to get your hands on them when fresh isn’t available or affordable. They tend to be cheaper (you can even find some options at the dollar store) and can be kept in stock to toss into a simple meal like pasta or eggs for some added nutrition.
Be sure to pay attention to things like sodium and sugar content for canned options, and beware of added sauces with the frozen ones.
Use thy leftovers.
This one will cut back on waste and time. Cook big batches of food that can easily be used in lunches the next day. This can save you from buying something if you’re working out of the house. Leftovers are also great because they can be incorporated into other dishes reducing the time needed to prep the next night’s meal.
With certain foods, buying in bulk can save you money as well as a few extra trips to the store.
Some particularly good items to stock up on are grains and legumes. Things like dried beans, lentils, and rice tend to be pretty cheap and can be bought in large quantities. Not only can you keep them around to use along with fresher ingredients, but this route can also provide you with a more economical protein source when the price of meat is running high.
As for whole foods, lean towards those as well. Foods that are pre-sliced or cooked tend to cost more in the long run. It’s probably better to do the prep work yourself.
Grow your own
Growing your own fruits and vegetables can be an excellent way to put more healthy food on the table. You can find some handy tips here to get you started.
Once you get a garden going you’ll not only have a source of fresh veggies, but you might save money on a few other things as well. For instance, if you have success with tomatoes, you can start making your own sauce instead of going with store-bought.