Eating healthy is one of the best things you can do for your body. It helps keep your weight in check and may also protect you against chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. You don’t have to break the bank to eat healthier. Use these tips to start eating healthy on a budget.
Eat Healthy, Pay Less
But what if your food budget is limited? How do you fill your cart with nutritious foods that aren’t budget busters? Here are 8 tips to help you get started.
1. Shop Smart: In Season & On Sale
Buy in-season produce. It’s cheaper and tastes better. Stock up on sale items that have a long shelf life. Look for discounted fresh food nearing its expiration date, but only buy if you can use or freeze it before it goes bad. Use coupons only for items you would buy anyway.
2. Buy Store Brands
Most grocery stores sell many products with their own label. They taste just as good and have just as much nutrition as name-brand foods. And they usually cost less, which makes store brands a great choice when you’re eating healthy on a budget.
3. Choose Unprocessed Foods
We pay a lot for convenience, so buy unprocessed foods when possible. It’s less expensive to buy a large bag of brown rice than a box of quick-serve flavored rice. Dry beans cost less than canned beans. Puffed wheat is cheaper than name-brand cereals.
4. Stick to a List
If you head to the store with a list of what you need – and stick to it – you’ll be less tempted to make impulse purchases, which can blow your budget.
5. Plan Meals
Sit down once a week to plan your meals. When on a budget, look at what you already have in the house and what’s on sale. Plan meals around those items to keep eating healthy. Find ways to use leftovers, so they don’t go to waste.
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You may think it’s hard to make a healthy meal on a tight budget. But even when you buy more expensive ingredients, it’s usually cheaper to eat a home-cooked meal than to buy convenience foods or grab a meal out. More popular now are delivered meals, but these can be more expensive than buying all the ingredients yourself.
7. Be Honest About Your Spending
When you add up how much you pay for unhealthy foods like soda, cookies, chips and frozen pizza, you’ll likely find it’s cheaper to buy real food than junk food.
8. Eat More Plant-Based Meals
By swapping meat-based protein for plant-based protein a few times a week, you can save yourself some serious cash. For example, 1 lb of lean ground beef costs about $6.00, while 1lb of tofu costs about $2.50.
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