Eating Healthy on a Budget Healthy eating can be tough. One of the biggest points of resistance to healthy eating is the effect it can have on your wallet. I am here to tell you that that does not have to be the case. There are tons of tips out there for ways to eat foods that not only nourish your body, but leave your wallet feeling pretty good too.
This can’t be stressed enough- there are very few places in your life (if any!) where planning is not going to get you the best results. This doesn’t mean you have to know exactly what you’re going to eat for every meal for a month but laying out a general plan for your week will not only help you make your grocery list and shopping trip more efficient, it will also prevent you from wasting food and therefore wasting money. You can even take this one step further and base your meal plans off of what sales your grocery store has going at that time. Regardless of how you choose to do it, just remember to always have a plan and a list when you go shopping. Another way to plan ahead is to always have a few staple items on hand (canned tuna, beans, quinoa, frozen veggies, etc) so if you’re ever in a pinch and need to whip something up quick, you have some go-to items available so you don’t have to resort to eating out.
Keep Your Fridge and Pantry Organized
Just like planning ahead helps you prevent food and money waste, so does organization. Keeping your fridge and pantry organized is so important for two reasons. First reason is outer order leads to inner calm. Nothing can be more intimidating when you go to cook and you open your fridge to find a mess of unorganized food staring at you. The second reason is that staying organized allows you to always have an idea of what you have on hand. When you know what you have in your pantry you’re able to cook with items you already have and you have a much smaller chance of buying repeat ingredients at the store.
There’s a reason that trying to find a watermelon in December is not as easy or cheap as buying one in July. While most of us live with the luxury of being able to find any food at any time of year, that doesn’t mean we should. Buying and eating foods that are in season is better for both the environment AND our bank accounts. So do a quick google search and find out which foods are in season when you go shopping or, better yet, try your local farmers’ market where you’ll find an abundance of seasonal options. And if you still have those foods that you can’t live without no matter what season it is, that’s okay! You can always stock up on foods when they’re in season and freeze them to use later in the year when they aren’t as easily accessible and therefore more expensive.
Frozen vegetables might get a bad rap but they can truly be the star of a meal if made correctly! Frozen veggies don’t have to be soggy and bland. Roasting your frozen vegetables at a high temperature (450 F) creates a great flavor and adds a nice crisp touch. If you’re still ending up with soggy veggies, try placing your baking sheet in the oven while it preheats. The hot sheet will help the vegetable crisp up even more than they would otherwise. Another plus side to buying frozen is that vegetables are often picked and frozen at their peak freshness so they still pack all their nutrients!
Broaden Your Menu
If you’re trying to feed a crowd things can get expensive quickly. This is where embracing beans and whole grains will be a time and money saver. Adding beans to your meat dishes and whole grains to your salads, soups, or whatever you’re making can make a big difference! Beans and whole grains both contain extra protein and loads of fiber- meaning not only will they help stretch your meals, they’ll also keep you fuller longer.
Another way to save money by broadening your menu is to think outside of your usual cuts of meats. Buying meat that has the bone in or skin on is going to be cheaper than boneless and skinless options. These cuts of meat can also pack more nutrients and stay juicier than their more expensive counterparts. Your crock pot can be your best friend when it comes to cooking juicy, tender meat. Don’t be afraid to try new things here! These are just a few of the many ways it’s possible to save money while still maintaining a healthy diet. Try incorporating one of these tricks each week to see what works for you and how you can best make it fit in your life.