It can be a challenge to eat healthy food if you are on a tight budget. However, you can find wholesome, nutritious food at decent prices. This article will offer tips on how you can eat well without having to spend a lot of money.
We don't have to buy expensive food to get the nutrition we need. There are many foods that are reasonably priced and good to eat.
Make A Grocery List
You should make a list of everything you need before you go to the store. This serves two purposes. You won't forget anything, so making another trip to the store will be avoided. It also helps prevent impulse shopping. There will be temptations everywhere in the store to get items you had not planned to buy. This is particularly true near the cash registers. Grocery stores often place impulse items, such as snack foods, near the check out.
You will save money on your grocery bill by having a list and sticking to it. The only exception I make to this rule is if there is an item on sale that I regularly use. Examples of this would be laundry soap, cleaning products, and so on. I also will stock up on some sales items if I have enough in my budget for the week.
Tips For Saving Money on Fruit and Vegetables
Anyone who has some knowledge of nutrition knows we need plenty of fruit and vegetables every day. You can get plenty of nutrition in your diet eating fresh produce that is in season.
Some fruit and vegetables are reasonably priced all year. This includes bananas, oranges, carrots, cabbage and turnips. Others are inexpensive only when they are in season. You can buy berries in the summer months and freeze them for the winter. They won't taste the same as fresh ones, but they are good added to smoothies, ice cream or cereal.
If you live near a farmers market, you will find prices are a bit less than at grocery stores. Buying local food saves money and benefits the local economy.
Some grocery stores have discount areas where the fruit and vegetables are half price. They will be very ripe and need to be eaten that day so they don't spoil. Stores will sell these at big discounts because the only other alternative will be to throw them out. They can also be used to make home-made soup or frozen for later use.
I buy a lot of vegetables when they are on sale and freeze them. Almost anything can be frozen in freezer bags. The fruit or vegetables should be completely dry before packing them in bags. This prevents freezer burn and keeps them from getting mushy when they thaw.
Avoid packages of fruit and vegetables that have already been cut. Cutting it up yourself is a lot more economical. Frozen vegetables have almost as much nutrition as fresh ones. They also taste better than most canned varieties, at least in my opinion.
Saving Money on Meat
You can save money on meat by purchasing large family size packages. I buy big packages of ground beef and make my meat patties and meat balls. It is cheaper to do this yourself, plus it will taste better than buying frozen, ready to cook ones.
Meat is not the only source of protein. Lentils, beans, tofu, barley, brown rice and legumes are excellent sources. They also are a lot cheaper than meat. They do not contain any harmful fats either.
Peanut and almond butters also have protein. Other nuts and seeds do as well, although they aren't necessarily inexpensive. These items are usually available in the bulk food sections of stores where they can be purchased for quite a bit less than buying them in a package.
Avoid Processed and Convenience Foods
If you are wanting to eat healthy on a budget, you will save money by making your meals from scratch. Not only will you avoid the chemicals and preservatives found in processed foods, but they taste better.
I often make pasta sauce, chili, and other items in large amounts so there will be leftovers to freeze. If there is a day I don't feel like cooking, a meal just needs to be reheated. You can make large batches of almost anything and freeze the leftovers.
Processed foods are not cheap to buy. They also contain a lot of sodium, sugars, artificial flavors and colors. When we make all of our own food, we save money and it tastes better.
Check For Weekly Sales
Supermarkets have sales each week that they advertise in flyers. If you do not get a newspaper, you can check the store's website to find the weekly specials. I always read the flyers before going shopping.
Some stores sell items by the case. Buying food by the case is an economical way to stock up. If you have a large pantry, you can buy any non perishable food on sale that your budget will allow. This is how I stock up on staples that have a long shelf life like coffee, tea, rice and so on. In fact, I keep enough in the pantry so I never have to pay full price for many items.
Don't Shop When You are Hungry
I try to plan my grocery shopping after lunch or dinner. It is much less tempting to buy things on impulse if you aren't hungry. Many supermarkets prepare salads, sandwiches and other items for people on the go. It might only cost $5 or so, but doing this on a regular basis adds up over time.
I've had to break myself of the habit of getting things on impulse because they looked good, or I was wanting something to eat.
Saving Money on Milk and Dairy Products
Powdered milk is as healthy as regular, and costs less. I don't find there is much difference in taste either. It can be used in baking instead of regular milk.
The packages of shredded cheese are very convenient, but it is more economical to buy a large block of cheese and grate it yourself. Grated cheese freezes well.
Large containers of yogurt and cottage cheese are more economical in the long run than buying single serving containers.
I have found that it is not that difficult to eat healthy on a budget. Cooking food from scratch takes more time, but it tastes better and costs less. It helps if you have a lot of freezer and storage space to be able to store food.