Eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank! These 10 tips will teach you how to eat healthy on a budget and still have food that tastes amazing!
I’m constantly asked by people how to eat healthy, when healthy food is so expensive. But trust me, when money is an issue there are always ways to cut cost and save as much as you can. Many times, when you want 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.
I put together some of the best tips I’ve learned over the years to teach you how to eat healthy for CHEAP!
10 Tips for How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
Go Frozen – Frozen veggies are fresher and more nutritious than standard produce. This is because frozen produce is usually blanched, frozen and packaged right after harvest, while conventional produce must be boxed, shipped, unpacked, and shelved before you eat it. More nutrition AND cheaper? Yes, please!
Shop Locally – I love going to my local farmer’s market and picking up fresh and local produce. They’re a great source for bargains because there’s no shipping costs for the farmer/seller. Your produce will also be fresher here 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 some of my other farmer’s market tips for more ideas!)
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, it’s FREE…and you only need to pick what your recipe calls for. Herbs are fantastic to grow in a city apartment too, because they do very well in just a sunny window and a small pot. If you have more space, 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. Maybe try doing a “Meatless Monday” for you and your family. I promise, they’ll start to love vegetarian cuisine!
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. Load up on frozen produce when you notice it on sale. I love Costco for great deals on healthy pantry staples like nuts and organic coconut oil, and even on healthy refrigerator 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. Even though organic produce is preferred, it can be expensive! 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 helps local farmers, and allows YOU to get the freshest vegetables 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 on produce at the grocery store. Plus, you get to try out things you may never have purchased before! Below is an example of just part of one of my CSA hauls, and I never buy radishes! For more information and to find a CSA near you, 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. Cut your fruit into bite-sized pieces and freeze it 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 its Simplest Form – It is much less expensive to buy produce in their simplest form. “Pre-cut, pre-washed, or ready-to-eat” produce costs more than regular produce. It’ll take a few extra minutes to do the prep yourself, but you’ll save cash.
Plan Ahead! – Create a monthly budget for groceries. Look in local newspapers for sales and specials and create a meal plan for the week. Write a weekly grocery list based on your plan and ONLY BUY WHAT YOU NEED. Sticking to your plan will help with impulse buys and will ensure you don’t buy things that may go bad.
What’s you favorite budget-friendly healthy tip? Let me know in the comments below!