If your goals for the new year include eating healthier and saving money, these tips for healthy eating on a low budget are just what you need. My husband and I have fairly broad tastes when it comes to the foods we enjoy. We do most of our cooking from scratch, which allows us some flexibility in terms of the ingredients we use. Our weekends are often spent at the farmer’s market or international supermarket in search of exotic sauces, spices, and ingredients to add to a new recipe. Of course, some days we are too tired to be creative and are happy to grab a frozen pizza in between kid’s activities. You do what works to help you survive, right? No matter what your food preferences are, eating is one of those things we all have to do. So, how do you balance healthy eating with saving money?
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Tips for Healthy Eating on a Low Budget
If you are looking into tips for healthy eating, the first thing you need to do is boost your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Skip the processed foods, choose whole grains, and buy organic food and choose natural when you can afford it.
But, is it possible to succeed at healthy eating on a low budget? You may have to make a few adjustments to your shopping habits, but it really is possible. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Go off the beaten path
Don’t just stick to your regular grocery store because it is what you always do. Try out some of the international markets, farmers markets, or wholesale clubs. Many have really good prices on basic ingredients and cooking real food is usually a much healthier option than buying premade or convenience foods.
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The other day, I was in Aldi and found a great deal on fair trade, single origin coffee so I stocked up. They also have great milk prices, as well as good deals on produce.
This one is pretty obvious but you should never pay full price for anything at the grocery store. Combine sale prices with coupons for an even greater discount. Check out the clearance bins and see if your store offers discounts on overripe produce and products that are nearing their ‘sell by’ date.
Buy discounted meats and veggies now and freeze for real food next week. You may end up with 10 bags of brown rice, however, it will stay good just about forever and will save you money in the long term.
There are a lot of great deals online for some of the higher end products you fellow foodies might enjoy. Check out Amazon Fresh for some amazing deals. You can find great prices on produce and many other healthy foods. You can even buy fresh seafood!
Not only does Amazon make healthy eating on a low budget possible but it also saves you time and gas money.
Grow your own
You do not have to have a particularly green thumb to grow some lettuce leaves or a few radishes. Buy a small, premade raised bed or a few pots, fill with garden soil and add plants that you buy at the nursery.
You might not be able to feed your family out of your own garden but some fresh herbs or a slice of tomato will make your next meal taste a lot fresher. I find that preserving your own herbs saves quite a bit of money.
Those little bundles are pricey at the store and they go bad quickly. Use more herbs and less salt to flavor your food for a healthier meal.
Join a co-op
So, you can’t grow a ton of food in your own yard? Somebody else can and they want to sell their products to you. By joining a co-op you can get a wide variety of fresh foods at relatively low prices.
It will also force you to learn how to use seasonal produce which can be fun, if a bit challenging sometimes! Check out LocalHarvest to find a coop near you.
Skip the Meat
One of the easiest tips for healthy eating on a low budget is to cut back on meat. Try a few vegetarian recipes that feature beans, eggs, nuts, tofu and other non meat sources of protein. You don’t have to give up meat completely. Just cut back on how much you use and your budget will thank you!
Eating healthy will help you save money on long term health care expenses. However, it isn’t always as cheap and easy as eating processed foods. Shop smart and get creative with your cooking to see a slimmer waistline and a fatter wallet! Have any other tips for healthy eating on a low budget to share?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.