How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
I often get asked how one can eat healthy on a budget. I do have to admit that eating healthy can get expensive at times but if you know your way around it you can keep some extra cash in your pocket and less calories in your belly. Just keep in mind that what you put in your body is going to be a reflection of how you feel. So maybe cut back in other areas and put a little extra cash towards what you are eating. Remember that your body is a temple… treat it that way. Here are some simple ways to stick to a budget and stay healthy.
You don’t have to buy everything organic.
This one is tough for me because I like to buy organic not just because it’s better for my health but it’s also better for the environment. But I can understand that if you are on a budget buying organic my not always be an option. Check out the Dirty Dozens list. It is a list everything you should buy organic… like apples, berries, things with really thin skin. Everything else you may get away with not purchasing organic.
Add a little spice.
Herbs and spices are a really cheap way to add nutrition to your food. Plus they add flavor without the calories. They can also replace sauces and dressing that sometimes add a ton of calories and may cost more. Some good herbs to have around: basil, italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, cumin, fennel, garlic.
For me I do my best to avoid canned foods but when you are on a budget they can be a good alternative to always buying fresh. Things to look out for when buying canned goods: make sure the cans you are purchasing are free of dents and bumps and purchase canned products that are labeled “BPA free” can lining. BPA is an industrial chemical found in many products that may harm your health. When buying canned fish, make sure to buy fish packed in water. Avoid buying anything with added salt… we are trying to stay healthy here, not add a bunch of unneeded sodium to our diets.
Frozen veggies & fruit.
Buying frozen produce keeps your costs down but nutrient levels high. It also makes life easier when it comes to preparing meals in a jiffy. Goods ones to keep on hand: spinach, carrots, zucchini, and peas. Also keep an eye out for specials, for example, if blueberries are 5 boxes for $5, buy them and freeze what you don’t need right away. Avoid frozen meals, I know they are tempting but they are not good for you. You maybe could get away with Amy’s Organic Brand but still… do your best to prepare it yourself.
Eat your beans and rice.
When beans and rice are combined, they create a “complete protein.” A complete protein is one that has all the amino acids your body needs to function at it’s best. It’s also high in fiber, meaning you’ll stay fuller, longer. Use brown rice, choose beans that you love and add veggies. It’s a cheap meal but super good for you.
They are an excellent source of vitamins A and C and may play a role in fighting inflammation in the body. Sweet potatoes are also lower on the glycemic index than white potatoes. They are cheap and keep for a long time when stored properly.
Buy in bulk.
Buying foods in bulk saves you on packaging costs. Stuff like nuts, seeds, oats, quinoa, rice, beans, lentils, and cereal can usually all be found in bulk bins and health food stores. Even places like Vons are starting to provide bulk foods. Stock up, store in a cool dry place and save yourself a little cash.
Eat with the season.
If it’s in season it usually means it will be cheaper because there is an abundance of it. It’s better for your health to eat with the season anyway, so it should pretty much be a rule of thumb.
Shop the specials in the fish and meat departments.
When at the store browse the fish and meat departments (if that’s what your in to) for any specials they me running. You can sometimes find some really good deals on fresh fish and meats, and also have an opportunity to try somethings you have never tried before.
Stop eating meat.
To be honest, meat is expensive, the meat industry sucks and in the long run it’s just not that good for you. So you can always cut out meat… that would do your health wonders and save you a ton of cash!
Buy generic brands.
Sometimes the store brands are just as good as name brands (that is not always true for clothing though). For example if you have a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods around they have a TON of generic brands that are just as good but half the price of name brands.
Simple… the less it has to travel and the less packaging it needs the cheaper it is.
Avoid Impulse Buying.
The best way to avoid impulse buying is to prepare yourself before you do the grocery. Eat prior to shopping… we’ve all been there, starving standing in aisle 2 staring at the cookies… not do it. Eat beforehand. Make a list and stick to it.
I know some ladies out there that save hundreds of dollars a month using coupons. If you have the patience to cut the coupons do it.
K… get out there and save some cash and feel confident that eating healthy is possible!