3 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Tight Budget
Everything is getting more expensive these days, and that certainly goes for the cost of groceries. Have you seen the price of eggs and organic produce? Geez. It is harder than ever to maintain a diet of whole, fresh foods. While we can’t reduce the cost of the good stuff, we can provide some tips and tricks for staying healthy on a budget.
Get Smart About Meal-Planning
Take some time at the end of each week to plan your meals for the upcoming week. It might take some time, but your wallet will thank you. When you have a plan and a list you are less likely to overspend. It is so easy to splurge or throw things into your cart on impulse when you go into the grocery store without a solid plan.
Plan meals that can be made in bulk to ensure you can purchase fresh ingredients at the best price available. It is easier to take advantage of bulk buying options and sales when you plan your meals and know exactly what you need. Whole grains, beans, legumes and produce are nutritious options and cost-effective when purchased in bulk.
For inspiration and motivation, check out fun meal-planning apps like Yummly to get new ideas and organize your meals. You are much more likely to follow through on your plan when you use technology to make it easy.
Once you have your list and plan, you are ready to hit the grocery store aisles. Be sure to choose seasonal produce for your meals. Do this not only for the freshness factor but because in-season fruits and vegetables are often less expensive. Check out this guide from the US Department of Agriculture to stay current on seasonal produce in your region.
Avoid pre-packaged and processed foods, which tend to be more expensive and less healthy. You can almost always recreate your favorite packaged foods with a comparable option using fresh ingredients.
Choose the store brands when you have the choice. You may default to brand names, but take a look at those price tags. Often there is a significant difference between brand name and store brand items.
Consider getting a membership at bulk-buy stores like Costco, discount stores like Aldi, or shop at your local farmer's market. These options can offer fresh produce and other healthy foods in larger quantities at better prices. Take advantage of sales and coupons. Read tags and signs while you shop so you don’t miss opportunities to purchase items at a discount.
Get Ready to Cook at Home
Not only is preparing your own meals usually healthier, it is almost always less expensive than eating out. Use your fresh grocery finds to make great meals in volume using a crock pot or air fryer. Your meals will be delicious and cost-effective!
Another great way to save money is to make your own condiments and sauces at home. Things like salad dressing, mayo, and BBQ sauce can be made cheaper than what you would pay for the packaged versions. Try your hand at some of these options in your own kitchen to squeeze every cent out of your cost-saving techniques.
If you are on a tight budget and have the space, it is time to consider a garden. Growing your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables can save you tons of money and be very rewarding. There are plenty of resources online, like this one from Almanac, on how to start a garden if you are a newbie.
Eating healthy does not have to feel like a luxury when you have a plan, stay the course, and get creative. Stay tuned to the MOXY blog for more tips on prioritizing your wellness and well-being.