So many times I’m asked by people how to eat healthy, when healthy food is so expensive. Well, when money is an issue there are always ways to cut some cost and save as much as you can. Many times, when your trying save money, it just takes a little bit more planning, really paying attention to what you’re buying, or using grocery sales to your advantage.
10 tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget
Go Frozen – Frozen veggies are usually fresher and more nutritious than standard produce. This is because frozen produce is usually frozen soon after harvest while conventional produce must be boxed, shipped, unpacked, and shelved before you eat it. Frozen produce is usually harvested, blanched, and package while that particular produce is in season as well, giving it more nutrients than the conventional version you may buy out of season.
Shop Locally – I love going to my local farmers market and picking up fresh and local produce. They are a great source for bargains because there are no shipping costs. This produce will also be fresher than produce found in stores because what the farmers are selling have usually been picked only a day or two earlier. For the best deals, shop in season and look for specials at the end of the day when farmers are trying to sell off their goods. (Check out my other farmer’s market tips here!)
Grow your Own – One of my favorite ways to save money on foods is to grow my own herbs. Herbs are especially expensive at the store and many times, stores require you to buy much more than you actually need. If you grow your own, there is no cost to you AND you only need to pick what your recipe calls for. Herbs are fantastic to grow in a city apartment too, because many times they do very well in just a sunny window and a small pot. If you have more space also try growing tomatoes or green beans, both do pretty well in pots.
Eat Less Meat – Eat more legumes and beans instead of buying expensive meat for your protein. Beans and legumes add heaviness to a meal, are super inexpensive, and pack a powerful nutritional punch.
Buy in Bulk – When you can, buy in bulk! Things such as legumes, grains, pastas, dried fruits, nuts and flours have a long shelf life. Also, load up on frozen produce when you notice it on sale. I love Costco for some really great deals on some of my pantry staples like nuts and organic coconut oil and even on fridge staples like Ezekiel bread and Greek yogurt! While it seems more expensive in the beginning, you will save BIG in the long run. (Check out this ULTIMATE Clean Eating COSTCO Shopping List to help you save BIG!)
Be Smart about Organic – Know The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen. While buying organic is always preferred, sometimes buying organic can be quite costly! So always remember, the Clean Fifteen and buy these items conventionally grown so that you can save some money to buy the Dirty Dozen items organic.
Invest in a Community Supported Agriculture Program – This is a program where you buy a “share” of crop in the beginning of the year and are delivered a box of fresh produce each week during the farming season. It’s great because it helps local farmers, and allows you to get the freshest vegetables that are in season at a pretty cheap price. For my CSA, I paid $450 for a 20 week organic share that will generously feed two, that comes to only $22.50 per week…I don’t know about you but I can spend wayyyy more than that each week at the grocery store. For more information, check out the CSA Website.
Preserve it when it’s Cheap – Canning, drying, and freezing fresh produce is an excellent way to cash in on seasonal foods that are lower in cost, but higher in taste and nutrition. Freezing is the easiest way to preserve some produce. Most fruit can be cut into bite-sized pieces and frozen on a baking sheet. Once frozen, just put it in an air-tight baggie, and use when needed. For information on how to preserve produce at home, check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Buy Produce in it’s Simplest Form – It is much less expensive to buy produce in their simplest form. Any “pre-cut, pre-washed, or ready-to-eat” produce are sold at a steeper price than those in their basic form. While it may take a few extra minutes to do the prep yourself, you could save quite a bit os cash.
What’s you favorite budget-friendly healthy tip? Let me know in the comments below!