Eating healthy on a budget? Is it possible? Why not?
You hear it everywhere,”Healthy Food is expensive!” For most people, it has come to represent only going for the “organic aisle” in the grocery store section.
They are wrong!
Allow us to show you how, eating healthy, does not mean breaking the bank. You can still stay healthy while eating on a budget.
Check our helpful tips below to learn how.
14 Tips for eating healthy on a budget?
Here are a list of our 14 helpful tips for eating healthy on a budget.Read on to learn how….
When it comes to saving dollars at the grocery store, nothing says it better than meal planning ahead for the entire week/fortnightly/month.Read all about meal planning and how it saves you time, stress and money in our blog post here.
Take one day in the week or the weekend to plan your meals. Jot down your grocery list accordingly and only then step out to do your grocery shopping.
Make this a regular habit and very soon it will be routine for you to follow a pattern. If you want help with tracking your new habit till you master it, our FREE Habit Tracker will do it for you. Click here to get your for free now.
When you do this you are only going to buy what you need and what you are sure you will use for cooking that week, instantly saving you dollars on food going waste.
Check out both your pantry and refrigerator before you go grocery shopping, so you know to bring home only what you need and what you are running short off.
Stick to your Grocery List
Now that you have gone through your pantry and refrigerator, you have a grocery list ready to go. The important thing to remember is to stick to your grocery list when at the store.Do not get side-tracked into unintended , expensive purchases.
To make life easy for you, we have made a complete grocery list for Indian cooking required in a month.Check it out here, so there are no, “I just forgot to put it on my list” moments for you, when you go grocery shopping next.
One Hot Tip : Shop the perimeter of the store first, that is where the whole foods are at. The middle of the store contains the unhealthy and most of the processed foods, with the most expensive ones placed at eye level. Get the picture? Be a smart grocery shopper!
Use Grocery List Apps
Are you someone who wings it, we mean grocery shops on you way back from work? Have you often forgotten your list at home, during these “wing it” moments? No worries!
We live in a tech savvy world, where there is an app for almost anything under the sun.Grocery List apps are nothing new.You can have the list handy on your phone and even keep a score of your most shopped favorite items each week.
Some of these apps also help you remember what you already have in store at home, while saving the list for you.
Using an app is also a great way to make sure you don’t forget your list at home.
Cook your meals at home
Cooking at home is not only healthy, it is economical too.
You know exactly what goes into your food, when you cook it yourself.
What’s more you can try new recipes and add variety to your meal when you meal plan ahead.Pick a day in the week or a few hours on a weekend to plan your meals, grocery shop and cook for the whole week.
Add a bit of creativity in your cooking.When you cook in large amounts you can get creative with your food.
You can use left overs in your stir fries, wraps, stews or curries and create a new dish out of it, to take to work for lunch or freeze it for later.What better way to budget than this neat trick.
Pack your lunch to work
In the long run, taking your own homemade lunch to work, will save you dollars. No standing in line at the drive throughs, no impulse buys of grab and go’s , just plain healthy home cooked meals for you is good.
Eating out can get very expensive, so watch your wallet and pack your lunch to work.
Never shop when you are hungry
Have you noticed that when you shop hungry, you invariably pick unhealthy processed foods ? Your grocery list goes out of the window when you shop hungry and you end up buying on impulse?
Not a good thing if you want to stay on budget. Simple solution, have a fruit, or a healthy snack, maybe even some yogurt before you step into the store.You not only will make wise choices with your shopping, you will not impulse buy for sure.
Buy whole foods
Whole foods are often less expensive than their processed counterparts. A bag of brown rice will cost you much less than processed food.You will also get a larger quantity for the dollar amount.
Avoid junk food as much as you can.They not only are unhealthy, but are also expensive. Next time think before you grab the box of cookies, soda or any processed foods.
Shop for seasonal produce
Local produce that is in season is generally cheaper. It is not only abundant when in season, it is also usually at its peak in both nutrients and flavor.
Read all about the benefits of shopping seasonally in our blogpost here.
Our E-Book : The 12 Monthly Seasonal Produce Guides, has the entire list of fruits and vegetables available each month of the year, which will help you meal plan ahead by making your grocery shopping experience a breeze.Get it here now.
If you live in an area where seasonal produce is not available at all times during the year, buying frozen fruits and vegetables is a safe and inexpensive bet.
Grow your own produce
If you have a green thumb, an interest and a little patch of a garden or even a large container, you can grow your own veggies like tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and even herbs. Read all about how we grow tomatoes in our little patio garden here.
With a little time and effort, it is easy to grow your own produce. They are more delicious when home grown and seeds are so easy to find.
Growing your own produce not only becomes your hobby but also saves you much on shopping, when you have a steady supply at home.
Balance your protein sources
It need not be meat or seafood everyday of the week.
Incorporating other rich sources of protein like legumes, lentils, beans, hemp seeds etc is a wise choice.They are not only nutritious and easy to prepare, they also have a long shelf life and are inexpensive.
Stock up on sales
Every store comes up with sales during different times of the year. If you have a particular product or a staple food that you use frequently, stock them up when they are on sale.
Buying in bulk and storing them in airtight containers, helps keep for a long time.
Make sure to check the expiration date on each of these products when you buy them, so you know to use them before the date. No point buying extra if you are not able to use them within the expiry date, since you will only be wasting precious dollars.
Put online retailer store to good use
Some online retail stores like Thrive market often offer products for 50% less.It is a very good online retailer that focuses exclusively on healthy and unprocessed foods.What’s more they deliver goods to your door!
By registering, you get access to daily discounts and deals.
You can save a lot by buying as much as you can through such online retailers.
Use coupons wisely
Using coupons to stack up on cleaning products and healthy foods is always a wise choice.
Coupons are a great way to save money. Make sure you don’t end up buying junk food with coupons coz most coupons are for unhealthy, processed foods.
The Bottom Line
There are many ways to eat healthy even on a small budget, pick yours from our list above.
Our helpful tips on meal planning, grocery shopping and home-cooking will save you dollars in the long run, apart from you keeping you healthy.
Unhealthy food choices will cost you more on medical bills and even reduced work capacity, so why choose that?
Armed with the knowledge now on eating healthy on a budget, now it is your turn to make wise choices!
These are wonderful suggestions! I actually enjoy meal planning and shopping for the best prices.
Thank you. Both are wise choices, indeed!
These are all great tips! We always buy in bulk directly from farms in our local area and the freeze or can for future use. It’s work, but it definitely helps with the budget.
Yup, that certainly works too. But it is important to make sure we note the expiry date on each product when we buy in bulk & also know if we will be using the item within the specified date.The produce can be tricky, so it is wise to cook and freeze for later use. Thank you, for sharing your thoughts!
As a personal finance person, I agree with all these tips! It really does help keep your food costs under control.
Thank you, for affirming and supporting our blog post about the need for budgeting when it comes to food choices, yet being able to eat healthy. It is encouraging to hear from readers like you, especially with your background in personal finance, it helps all our blog readers understand the importance of it.So appreciate your encouragement & support.
We always plan our meals and grocery list around the menu. This has been both a time and money saver for us! The shopping while hungry is definitely BAD!! Whenever Hubby does it, he comes home with junk food! LOL
Such a smart way to meal plan and I have deep respect for the ones who are so organized & manage it so efficiently. I was late to the meal planning game, but a fast learner.I realized how much of a difference it makes to our lives when we plan ahead for grocery shopping ONLY for items we will need for meal planning that week.Saves money, time & a lot of stress. Totally agree on the junk food grabbing when hungry & shopping bit, we have all done it one time or another, hence the tip to snack before going shopping if you are under a time constraint 😉 😀
I used to be so good at meal planning, but I’ll admit I have dropped the ball on this in recent years. I really need to get back at it. It has so many benefits for your health, finances, time management, etc.
Yes, it certainly is a time, money & stress saver for sure. Hopefully our blog post has encouraged you to get back on the game again. We all need a little encouragement, now & then, we are human after all and at times we slip. Here’s wishing you the very best on your meal planning game this year. You can do it!
All great tips!!
I love it! We are a family of 6 so we plan our meals and grocery list in advance. It had save us time and money. We bring lunches and we rarely eat out.
So happy to hear such stories! It just goes on to prove that meal planning really works. Thank you, for the encouragement and hats off to you, for being so efficient with a big family!
Planning makes such a difference.
It definitely does! One baby step at a time and before we know it, it has already become a habit, we enjoy!So keep at it 🙂
Love your printable!
Thank you, so much. It is so encouraging to hear that from our readers, coz we want to help our readers in whatever little way possible to make their daily lives easy (just like we learnt from someone else to make ours). We are all in this together. Enjoy!
Great tips here! When I was a stay-at-home mom, we really struggled on one income. But, groceries were easy. I cooked everything from scratch, shopped the sales, shopped the loss leaders (so visited several stores each week), and prepared enough food to have “planovers” – rather than leftovers.
If you only buy basic ingredients, staying on the perimeter of a store, you can eat really well for very little.
Thank you, for enlightening all of us here in the SMSS community, about the “plan overs -rather than leftovers” .I learnt something new today.Definitely agree on home cooked meals & shopping on the perimeter.You said it so beautifully, “…eat really well for very little”.
Great tips! I always shop on an empty stomach – my worst habit!
When we know better, we do better! Hopefully, our tips helped you understand why we bring junk food home, when we shop hungry. No more! Next time, you will shop smarter and pat yourself on the back for the wise & healthy decision you made. Here’s to good health & wise choices in 2021 & beyond!
Lots of great tips. We started doing the meal planning & cooking at home and you really do see the savings just there alone.
Totally agree. Thank you.
Meal planning really helps us. I try to stick to only purchasing the items on my grocery list. But when I see something fun, it’s hard!
It’s perfectly OK to get a little adventurous sometimes, in your shopping and try cooking some new food, only make sure not to make it a habit. Like recently, I had no idea what pomegranate molasses was & had never used it in my cooking before, yet when I saw a recipe for a Mediterranean salad with the pomegranate molasses as an ingredient, I was so tempted to try it. I asked a friend about what it tasted like before I bought it & then went ahead & bought it. Made the salad, all of us enjoyed at home & will definitely make many more times. So it paid off, to be a little adventurous in my cooking. I don’t do it often, but definitely think it is OK to try sometimes. So enjoy your little detours 😉 😀 Here’s my Mediterranean Black Bean Salad recipe with the pomegranate molasses, if you want to give it a try. Here’s the link :https://stirringmyspicysoul.com/mediterranean-black-eyed-peas-saladhow-to-make/
These are things I try to do all the time! Shop the sales and never shop when I am hungry!
Great going!Keep at it, life becomes so much easier.
Yes to all of these! Especially don’t shop when you’re hungry lol.
😀 LOL! We all agree on that bit for sure, coz we have all been there at one point or another, shopping hungry. It never works 😀
Yes planning is key!
I love the challenge of using seasonal produce. It’s like being on Chopped. We see what they have and then figure out what we can do with it.
Exactly & you will be surprised to find the creative ways you come up with in a dish.Make cooking a fun adventure!
Lots of great tips to remember. I always make a list before I go to the store and try to stick to it. Meal planning is so helpful especially when trying to lose weight. I am going to try a veggie garden in the spring!
So happy to hear that our blogpost was informative and helpful to you. I am big on growing our own veggies too. in our lil’ patch of a patio garden.It’s a lovely hobby and to cook out of the produce you grew, double the fun. Enjoy!
great tips and advice! Sometimes trying to eat healthily can be expensive and this will help me stay on track! Thank you!
Thank you, for your kind words. Yes, there are so many ways to eat healthy on a budget, when we remind ourselves of the number of ways we can do that.Glad to know our blog post was helpful.