Eating healthy doesn’t have to strain your wallet. With some planning and creativity, eating healthy on a budget can be easy and fun. Here are some useful ideas to help you create healthy and nutritious meals without breaking the bank.
Grow You Own
Growing your own produce is a terrific way to save on food costs. If you don’t have space for a garden, checkout your local community garden or consider a container garden. You can get started with the cost of seeds and soil, and your produce is then free!
Plan and List
Meal planning is a great way to eat healthy while staying on a budget. Plan your meals for the week and then make a shopping list of what you will need. It’s always a good idea to take a look inside your pantry before you create your list. Sometimes items can get lost or forgotten, so knowing what you already have and utilizing it can prevent waste and save you money. When you shop, make sure you stick to your list and do not make impulse purchases. Impulse purchases are a sure way to bust your budget!
Shop Local and In Season
Check-out your local Farmer’s Markets as they often sell high quality and super fresh produce for less than what you’ll pay at the grocery stores. Produce tends to cost less when it’s in-season and abundant, so it’s worth a visit. Try arriving at the end of the day when you might be able to find discounts on produce that has not sold.
Join the Club
Many stores offer a loyalty card or have an App, and they will have special sales and promotions if you participate in their programs. Be sure to pay attention to the flyers – in fact, try creating your weekly meal plans around what’s on sale in order to best take advantage of the savings.
Be sure to check the unit price so that you can compare prices. The unit price is usually the number in the left-hand corner of the price tag. The unit price indicates how much you are paying per gallon, per oz., etc, and understanding this number can help you get the best deal. Even if an item is on sale, be sure to still check the unit price as sometimes a better deal can be found on a different brand that is not on sale.
Next time you go grocery shopping, choose the generic or store brand options if available. Often these products are just repackaged name brands – so you’re actually getting the same product, just for less money.
Frozen fruits and vegetables can be considerably less expensive than fresh produce, and are often just as tasty and nutritious. In fact, frozen fruits and vegetables are packaged at their peak ripeness and are often more nutrient dense than the produce at the supermarket, which may actually be days to weeks old, depending on how long the transit time was from farm to market. An added bonus is that frozen fruits and vegetables are pre-washed and pre-cut which cuts down on prep-time.
Try putting these seven ideas to use and you’ll be on your way to eating healthy on a budget!