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Nutritious food can be expensive, and it can be difficult to eat a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables when you’re on a tight budget. The good news is that there are many ways you can save money and still eat healthy.
6 Clever Ways to Eat Healthy on a Tight Budget
Eating healthy on a budget has always been a bit of a challenge, but with today’s shortages and price increases, it can be more difficult than ever.
You want to make sure that your family is eating healthy meals, but you also need to be mindful of what you are spending each week at the grocery store.
That’s why you need to check out these tips for how to eat healthy on a budget.
Plan Your Meals
The first essential step for eating well on a budget is to plan your meals ahead of time. Meal planning can take some getting used to, but it can save you time, money, and energy, and help to reduce food waste in your home.
By planning your meals in advance, you can use common ingredients like chicken, pasta, or vegetable stock where you might come out better to purchase the items you need in bulk.
That doesn’t mean that you are eating the same meal over and over, just that one night you might use chicken in a skillet stir fry, while the next night you use it in a chicken pot pie, and the next a chicken chili recipe.
You can do the same thing with all sorts of common ingredients. This can make your budget go just a little further. If you do end up with too much of a meal, make sure that you freeze the uneaten portions, and you can have them another time.
Helpful hint: Plan your meals for the week based on the sales ad and what you already have on hand.
More Meal Planning Resources;
- Common Mistakes That First Time Meal Planners Make
- 7 Easy Weekly Meal Planning Ideas That Really Work
- Frequently Asked Questions About Meal Planning
Shop with a List
Do not head to the grocery store without a shopping list. It is so easy to get overwhelmed once you get in the store, especially these days when you might find the price of an item has gone up considerably from one week to the next, that you can forget what you actually came to get.
Take your list with you and stick with it, and make sure that you eat a snack or meal before going to the store. Going to the grocery store hungry is a recipe for disaster because everything is going to sound good, even if it’s not good for you or your budget.
Helpful hint; Stick with your list. Off list purchases will end up costing you more because they were not planned for.
Use Frozen or Canned Produce
One way to eat healthy on a budget is to make sure that most of your healthy fruits and veggies are either canned or frozen. This extends their shelf life dramatically and reduces food waste.
This is also an affordable way to keep fruits and veggies that may not be in season right now in your pantry and freezer. Make sure that you look for no-salt-added canned vegetables and fruits that are packed in fruit juice and not heavy syrup.
When you do buy fresh produce, try to stick with what is in season and locally grown.
Helpful hint: by purchasing in-season produce, you will save more. Think about buying extra and preserving for later (such as canning or freezing).
Have Some Meatless Meals
Have some meatless meals one or two nights a week. Protein is probably one of your largest grocery expenses, so try having some meatless meals in your weekly rotation.
Veggie stir-fry, big salads, and healthy vegetable soups are some options that your family might enjoy. Beans and pasta are great filling options that are inexpensive too.
Helpful hint: Try replacing meat 1 or 2 times per week with beans, legumes, eggs, or canned fish. These are all cheap and nutritious sources of protein.
Try Store Brands
When purchasing your canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, give the store brands a try.
They are usually of just as good or better quality than the big name brands and they are considerably cheaper. If you or your family don’t like some of them, you can always buy the big name brand next time, but at least give the store brands a try.
Helpful hints: Be sure to compare unit pricing on both store brand and big brand purchases. By comparing, you can save per item.
Grow a Garden & Eat Healthy
Another way to eat healthy on a budget is to grow some of your own fruits and vegetables.
It doesn’t take a lot of space to grow your family’s favorite fruits and vegetables. Even if you don’t have much of a yard, you could try container gardening.
Any produce that you don’t have to purchase is money that you are saving! If you have an abundance of produce from your garden, make sure that you learn how to can, freeze, or dehydrate it so that you can enjoy it all year long!
Helpful hint: With a little care and dedication, your garden will produce enough vegetables to help you get through the summer, fall, and winter months.