Healthy eating exists at every price point. No matter your budget, our 9 tips below can help you get creative and find ways to eat healthy.
1. Plan your meals
Take a day to plan your meals for the upcoming week. After you’ve created a meal plan, check your refrigerator and cabinets to see what ingredients you already have, then create a list of the items you need. Creating a meal plan will help you to eat all of the food you purchase, reducing food waste and overspending. Need help meal planning? Apps like Paprika or MealBoard are great places to start.
2. Stick to your grocery list
Once you’ve created your grocery list from your meal plan, stick with it! Try your best not to get sidetracked by the seemingly endless food options at the grocery store. If a food item catches your attention, add it to your meal plan for the next week.
3. Don’t shop when you’re hungry
One of the easiest ways to stick to your grocery list is to not shop when you’re hungry. Walking through the grocery store with an empty stomach can make it easy to justify putting your favorite comfort foods or beverages in your shopping cart.
4. Buy generic brands
When compared to food items with fancy labels, or fun packaging, generic food items are typically easier on the wallet. Often, generic food items are made from the same ingredients too. Try them out and figure out which generic items you like and which ones are worth paying the premium for name brand.
5. Replace meats with other proteins
Consider alternative protein sources in your meal planning. Quinoa, legumes, seeds, mushrooms, and nuts are packed with protein, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals. They can also cost less when compared to traditional protein sources, like seafood, chicken, beef, or pork. Dedicating one or two days to meals with alternative protein sources can help stretch your dollars.
6. Buy in-season produce
Have you noticed how expensive off-season produce can be? When produce is off-season it costs more to import it from regions of the country (or world) where the produce can be grown. Not sure what produce is in season in your area? Shop at a local farmers market, or do a quick web search to find what fruits and vegetables are in season. You can also check your local grocery store sales paper. In-season produce often goes on sale due to the surplus.
7. Buy staple food items in bulk
Buying the items that you regularly consume each week in bulk can help you stay within your budget. Grains (rice, flour, quinoa, etc.), cereals, eggs, and milk or milk substitutes, are great options to start buying in bulk.
8. Cook large portions and eat the leftovers
Cooking for one or two people can be challenging, and often expensive. If you’re cooking for one or two, consider preparing large portions of food (4-5 servings) and having leftovers. This way you can save money, and enjoy home-cooked, healthy food without all of the prep time.
9. Use coupons and cash back apps
When you’re planning your weekly meals, consider using apps like Ibotta, or your grocery store’s app to see current cash back and coupon offerings. While it may take a little more time planning, it can help you save more money at the register.
With a little planning and some creativity you can enjoy healthy meals every day of the week, and keep your wallet and bank account happy.