With food prices rising it can feel next to impossible to actually eat healthy on a budget. But it is possible! It starts by cutting out convenience foods and junk foods and learning how to cook healthy meals from scratch. I’ve gotten away from healthy eating since I moved and now that summer is quickly approaching, I can definitely tell the difference! My clothes aren’t fitting like they did last summer and I am not feeling good about this!
The key to eating healthy on a budget is planning. Things like stress, lack of time and overall disorganization can cause us to buy the next quick meal we can find. Not only is this expensive, meals eaten outside the home are generally not as healthy as the ones we prepare ourselves.
To help you with this problem, I’ve come up with a list of tips that will get you started eating healthy even when you are on a budget.
Make a food plan. No way out of this one! By planning what you are going to eat each week, and actually writing it down, you will have no excuse to run out for fast food. Having everything on hand will make you meals much easier to prepare. You can do this 2 ways. First you can think of things you want to make for the week and then try to find those items on sale at the grocery store. Or, you can find the sale ad for the grocery store and look to see what is on sale and then make your meals out of that. You don’t even have to use coupons if you are not a couponer to find deals at the store. If you are not currently using the sale ads to save money each week, check out my previous post to learn how to do this.
Make a list. After you’ve planned your meals for the week, jot down what you will need for each meal. Be sure to check your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator to see if you already have some of the items. Make your grocery list and stick with it! The number one way to waste money at the grocery store is to buy unplanned items at full price! (gasp!)
Clip coupons. Ok so even if you don’t like to use coupons, why not give it one more shot? My coupon resources page can help get you started. If you don’t want to buy the paper, ask a co-worker or relative to give you the coupons they don’t use. Remember, only cut out coupons for the items you will use. If you save money on something you won’t use, it’s not a deal!
Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Never. Ever! Again, as I mentioned before, you will be tempted to buy unplanned items at full price and that is not the goal! If you have to go to the store and you think you’ll be hungry, take along a light snack to help you resist temptation while in the store.
Buy items on the perimeter of the store first. You’ve probably heard this before and it’s true. The items on the perimeter are the healthiest. This will include fruits, vegetables, meats and other unprocessed foods. The center of the store consists of mostly junk food that is not healthy for your budget or your waistline.
Look for fruits and vegetables that are in season. These will usually be cheaper and are nutrient rich. If you have a farmers market, check there for great local produce that is in season. If you are able and it won’t go to waste, choose large bags rather than individual pieces of fruit. The larger bags are often cheaper by the pound.
Buy store or generic brands. You probably won’t notice the difference. I wrote an article about this earlier this year Generic or Name Brand – What’s the difference? Give it a try, you might be surprised!
Learn how to cook. It’s not as bad as it sounds, I promise! There are some really easy guides out there that will give you basic recipes to start cooking. One of my favorites is the Hillbilly Housewife. Here recipes are pretty simple and straight forward yet taste really good! Check out her ebooks here to get you started.
By following these tips, you will be able to eat healthy even when you are on a budget. Don’t try to make several changes at once. Start out small and work your way up to bigger changes. Each change you make will pay off in the long run!
Sponsor: Cantera Real Estate of Austin Texas.