Healthy food can be expensive and can be difficult to eat well when you’re on a tight budget. However, there are many ways to save money and still eat healthy whole, single-ingredient foods.
To build muscle and lose fat, you need lots of healthy foods, including fruits and veggies for vitamins, minerals, and fiber. You will also need plenty of water for hydration & recovery, and healthy fats to help fat loss.
Regrettably, the rising food prices make it hard to eat healthily, and most of our paycheck is most likely not rising as fast. For students, it becomes even harder.
More than two-thirds of the American population is overweight or obese, and to make matters worse, the number of obese Americans keeps climbing.
Many people now want to start eating healthier foods, but some think that to eat healthily, they have to spend more money. You can eat healthy on a budget, and here are some tips you can use to eat healthy on a budget.
Plan Your Meals
When it comes to saving money at the food store, planning is essential.
- Take your time in a day to plan your meals for the upcoming week, then, make a grocery list of what you need.
- Make sure to scan your fridge and food cabinets to see what you already have, as there are usually a lot of foods hidden in the back that can be used.
- Plan to purchase what you know you’re going to use so that you don’t end up wasting a lot of what you buy.
- Stick to Your Grocery List once you’ve planned your meals. It’s very easy to get sidetracked at the store, which can lead to unplanned, expensive purchases.
Additionally, there are now many great grocery list apps to help you shop, and some of them can even save favorite items or share lists between multiple shoppers.
Using an app is also a great way to ensure you don’t forget your list at home.
Buy Whole Foods
Unprocessed foods are cheaper and more nutritious than processed foods, and they also give you total control over the ingredients.
- Proteins: Ground beef, frozen chicken breast, tuna cans, calves’ liver, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, eggs, milk, whey …
- Carbs: Pasta, rice, oats, potatoes, beans, apples, bananas, raisins, broccoli, spinach, cabbage …
- Fats: Olive oil, fish oil, flax seeds, real butter, mixed nuts …
Eating whole grains lowers your risk of heart disease, and whole grains are chock-full of fiber, which helps keep your digestive system healthy and moving. It also expands once inside your stomach, to help you feel full.
A weight-loss program should include a high-fiber diet, and you can easily work many good sources of fiber into your meals. These small changes don’t have to cost you any extra money, because, when you eat less, you save more money on groceries, too.
Cook at Home
Make it a habit to cook at home, rather than eating out at the last minute, because, cooking at home is much cheaper than eating out.
You can feed a family of 4 for the same price as buying food for one or two people at a restaurant, and some people find it best to cook for the entire week on the weekends.
More importantly, by cooking yourself, you also gain the benefit of knowing exactly what is in your food.
Avoid Impulse Buying
Failing to plan is planning to fail, and the best way to avoid impulse buying is to prepare yourself before you do the grocery.
- Makes a List and Stick to it, plan your meals ahead, and once you get what’s on your list, get out.
- Eat Before You Go Shopping, in order to prevent buying foods not on your list because you’re hungry.
- Shop Alone in order to prevent impulse buying from wife/husband and/or kids.
Buy Generic Brands
Most stores offer generic brands for nearly any product, and all food manufacturers have to follow standards to provide safe food.
Read the ingredients lists to make sure that you’re not getting a product of lower quality than you’re used to.
Replace Meat With Other Proteins or Buy Cheaper Cuts of Meat
Fresh meat and fish can be quite expensive, but you can get many cuts of meat that cost way less.
It may also be helpful to buy a large and inexpensive cut of meat to use in several different meals during the week, and eating less meat may be a good way to save money.
Also, try having one or two days per week where you use other protein sources, such as legumes, hemp seeds, eggs or canned fish.
These are all low-cost, nutritious and easy to prepare foods, and most of them also have a long shelf life and are less likely to spoil quickly.
Buy Frozen Fruits and Veggies
Frozen fruits and veggies are often half the price of fresh, almost infinite shelf life when kept in the freezer, and you can buy in bulk to get more discount.
Frozen fruits & veggies are pre-washed and pre-cut, which saves preparation time too.
Grow Your Own Produce
If you can, it is a great idea to grow your own produce, as seeds are very cheap to buy. With some time and effort, you may be able to grow your own vegetables, herbs, sprouts, tomatoes, onions, and many more delicious crops.
Having a continuous supply at home saves you money at the store, and home-grown produce may also taste a lot better than the store-bought varieties. You can also certify that it is picked at the peak of ripeness.
Pack Your Lunch
Eating out is very expensive, especially if done regularly, but packing your lunch, snacks, drinks and other meals are less expensive and way healthier than eating out.
If you have adapted to cooking large meals at home, you’ll always have a steady lunch to bring with you without any additional effort or cost, and that should save you a lot of money at the end of the month.
Healthy and budget don’t mix well, and if you really want to eat healthily you’ll have to put money down. Keep in mind that junk food costs you twice, and bad health comes with medical costs, drugs and even reduced work capacity.
Even if eating healthy appear to be more expensive (which it doesn’t have to be), then it would still be worth it down the line, since you really can’t put a price on good health.