It can be hard to make healthy food choices on a budget. Many people think you have to spend lots of money to eat healthy. Hence, they often try to find cost-effective alternatives. While the alternatives work for some, they don’t work for others.
If you are trying to look for such alternatives to eat healthy on a budget, please don’t. Doing so can lead to complications, such as allergies; if you get stuck in such a situation, head to an allergy test clinic as soon as possible.
But the myth that healthy living is costly is not valid. With the right strategies, it’s possible to eat well while spending less than you might imagine.
To get started, here are seven smart tips for eating healthy on a budget:
Make a List and Stick to it
One of the best ways to save money at the grocery store is to make a list before going and then stick to it! Planning your meals helps you avoid impulsive purchases, and knowing what you need ahead of time allows you to take advantage of sales and specials. It will also help manage your finance accordingly.
Meal planning can be as simple as mapping out what you’ll have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week. Or, you can get even more organized by batch cooking meals ahead of time or creating a monthly meal plan.
Shop the Perimeter
The outer edges of the grocery store are typically where you’ll find the freshest and most nutritious food. In contrast, the inner aisles are often filled with processed, packaged foods that tend to be less healthy and more expensive. By sticking to the perimeter, you can save money and eat better.
Also, retailers usually don’t keep fresh foods in the interior to get the old ones sold quickly. It’s because of human psychology. People tend to think that it must be good if something is placed in the middle.
So, make a rule of thumb never to buy anything from the inner aisles unless it’s on your list and not available on the perimeter.
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk can be a great way to save money on healthy foods. Check your local store for sales on items like chicken, fish, and vegetables, and then stock up, so you have them on hand for quick and easy meals. You can also find good deals on dry goods like beans and rice.
By buying in bulk, you can save anywhere from 10% to 50% on your grocery bill. Just be sure to buy as much as you can reasonably use before it goes bad. And, if you have the space, consider investing in a chest freezer to store bulk purchases.
Plan for Leftovers
Making extra food at mealtimes can be a great way to save money and eat healthy. Cook once, eat twice — or even three times! — by planning for leftovers. Use them for lunch the next day, or freeze them for an easy and inexpensive meal down the road. Not sure how to turn your pieces into something new? There are plenty of recipes out there specifically for using up leftover ingredients. A quick search online will give you endless ideas.
Grow Your Food
If you have the space, consider growing your food. Even a tiny garden can yield a surprising amount of produce, and it’s a great way to get fresh fruits and vegetables on the cheap. If you don’t have a green thumb or don’t have the space for a garden, consider joining a community garden. It’s a great way to meet new people and access fresh, locally-grown food.
Shop at Farmers Markets
Farmers’ markets are a great place to find fresh, local, and often cheaper produce. They’re also a great way to support small businesses and farmers in your community. Check online or in your local paper to determine when and where the markets are in your area.
Farmers’ markets offer a variety of fresh, local fruits and vegetables at a fraction of the price you would find at a grocery store. In addition, many markets accept food stamps, making them accessible to everyone.
Get Creative With Recipes
There are plenty of delicious and healthy recipes that can be made on a budget. Get creative in the kitchen and experiment with new ingredients and flavor combinations. You may be surprised at how much you can save — and how good your food can taste!
One great way to get creative in the kitchen and find new recipes is to explore different cuisines. Try cooking a dish from a foreign country or region every week. You can find tons of recipes online or even in cookbooks.
Another great way to get inspired is to watch cooking shows on TV. There are a variety of shows that focus on budget-friendly recipes, and you can learn a lot by watching them.
Following these tips can help you make healthy choices without breaking the bank. Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive — it just takes a little planning and effort. With a bit of creativity, you can easily find ways to eat healthy on a budget.