Over the past few years I really started to look closer at my eating habits. I became serious about the gym, my fitness and I just wanted to be healthier. Food plays such a huge role in how our bodies work. Food is fuel. I have cut out visits to the fast food drive-thru (those visits here & there add up quickly money-wise too don’t they?), learned more about how our food is actually produced in this country (do some research…it’s eye-opening to say the least), started choosing organic over GMO as it fit into the budget, and cooked from scratch more so I could control what was in my meals.
Below I’ve listed some ideas to help you try to eat healthier while still being on a budget.
- Shop the Sales – Open up the store flyer and check what’s on sale. Even better if you can combine a coupon with the item on sale. I typically shop at two grocery stores and I opt to get an item at a certain store if it’s cheaper. I’ve heard that Aldi is a great option to go shopping at, but unfortunately there isn’t one by me.
- Plan Your Meals – To add onto #1, I’ve made it a habit to always make a list before I go to the grocery store. It saves money because I’m not in there spending money mindlessly. If I make a list of what meals I plan on making for the week ahead of time I can compile a list of what ingredients I need to purchase. I set a budgeted amount of how much I want to spend on groceries and try to stick to that amount every time, but honestly sometimes I do go over. I just try to make up for it the next time I go to the store. I’ll tweak my list next time to make cheaper meals. Baby steps towards progress.
- Be Prepared – When you’re hungry you’re more likely to get the most convenient food option. Whether that’s a stop at the closest convenient store, a trip to the vending machine, or going to the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant. Instead, try to keep snacks on you, put your dinner in the crockpot in the morning before you head out work and prepare freezer meals ahead of time for those nights when you need something quick.
- Local Farmer’s Market – If you have access to a local farmer’s market please go! It will give you access to better produce and you’re helping out a local farmer. The quality of produce is so much better than what you get at the grocery store because it hasn’t been shipped for miles and miles.
- Eat What’s in Season – It’s no secret that buying produce that is in season will be cheaper for you. Depending on the season there is an abundance of the certain fruit or vegetable and then it’s sold at a cheaper price. The added bonus is when a fruit or vegetable is picked at its peak (during its season) it tastes so much better and has more flavor.
- Meatless Meals – I come from a culture where most meals consist of rice, beans and meat. So at first it was hard for me to not cook with any meat. Then I realized how much cheaper it was to replace meat with other protein options. Eating meatless meals is more cost effective. The added bonus is that it’s also better for my health.
- Grow Your Own Food – I wish I had the space to do this myself. I would love to be able to harvest my own vegetables & herbs. I seriously cannot wait until I own a home and have my own little garden. Even if you don’t have the ability to plant outdoors you can buy potted plants that you can keep on the porch (make sure you have enough sunlight) to grow.
- Buy Organic – You’re probably thinking how you can buy organic food on a budget? I know organic can be more expensive, but in the long run it’s so much better for your health. When it comes to the dirty dozen it’s best to purchase organic due to the amount of pesticides on the produce. Pesticides can present real health risks so it makes sense to pay the extra amount for organic if you have wiggle room in your budget.
What are some ways that you’ve managed to eat better while still keeping your budget in mind?