7 ways to eat healthy on a budget
Eating healthy can be really challenging, especially since processed foods are often cheaper and quicker to grab. Eating healthy on a budget can feel like a far off dream. So, how can you feed your entire family healthy food and still save money? Here are seven tips to help!
Frozen fruit & vegetables
Frozen fruit & veggies are often much cheaper than fresh, so when you’re on a tight budget, but still want healthy options for your family, go frozen. We’ve all been told that fresh is best, but research and articles are suggesting that frozen veggies are an excellent option because they’re still packed with nutrients and fibre due to the fast way they’re frozen.
In an ideal world, we would all be able to afford beautiful, fresh produce all year long (or even grow it ourselves!) but sometimes this isn’t feasible. You should feel good about giving your family vegetables and fruit no matter what form you got them in.
Cut out the unhealthy snacks
This is probably the hardest part about being healthy, am I right? I love snacks! But when you’re trying to save money, snacking is your worst enemy. Don’t get me wrong, you absolutely should snack on veggies, hardboiled eggs, etc. The real criminals here are sugar-loaded snacks that don’t keep you full, make you crave more after you’ve eaten them, and drain your wallet. If you looked at your grocery receipts for the past month and added up all the money you spent on snacking alone, would you feel good about it? I’ve done this before, and I certainly didn’t feel good!
Plus, it’s been suggested that when you eat sugar, you crave sugar more. So when you give into that sugar craving, you’re setting yourself up to want it more and more. By cutting out sugary snacks you save money and you’ll feel better about it. Here’s an article on The Washington Post about why sugar can prime your brain to want more!
When I’m at home and I’m craving a snack, I try to have a cup of tea instead (no sweeter – you’re feeding that sugar craving still). Or, if you really need something, popcorn without butter is a great snack because it has fewer calories, carbs and grams of sugar than other snacks do.
Plan your meals around seasonal produce
There’s a reason salads are so great in the summer: they’re filling, delicious and super affordable. In the winter? Not so much. I love adding berries and cheese to salads. But in our area, berries and peppers skyrocket in the winter, as do plenty of other produce items.
By incorporating healthy seasonal vegetables we save money, and still get to eat healthy. This year we grew our own spaghetti squash and I am thrilled about the idea of having delicious homegrown squash for months to come!
Buy cheap produce
This goes hand-in-hand with seasonal produce, except certain produce items are cheap all year round. Like bananas! Bananas are a staple in our house because I love having carbs in the morning, but hate how wheat and grains make me feel. Bananas and eggs are perfect!
Where we live, avocados are also super cheap. We can get a bag of six for about $5, and they last us all week. We make guacamole, put them on salads, put them in smoothies. They’re versatile and delicious.
Avoid nuts (unless they’re on sale)
Now, this is hard to say. I absolutely love cashews, almonds, or any type of nut. Nuts are a great source of healthy fat and protein. But the cost attached to them? Insane. And if you’re getting unsalted and unroasted, or ‘raw’ they’re often even more expensive. I stick to our budget by avoiding nuts, unless they’re on sale.
Embrace eggs (& other protein sources)
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, and they are cheeeeeap. Especially when compared to chicken, pork, beef, etc. You can even buy cartons of egg whites to mix with your eggs so it lowers the fat content of your meal.
Other frugal protein sources: tofu, beans, chickpeas, edamame, and more.
Always watch the check out screen
Sometimes it can be hard to guess how much something is going to cost because the store doesn’t have scales, or we just suck at guessing weight and size (me! I’m terrible at it). It’s important to watch when things are being scanned. If you don’t like the price, very kindly tell them that you’re going to pass on that object. You are not obligated to buy something, even when you’re standing at the till.
Recently I was at the grocery store and I almost spent $11 dollars for five apples. $11 DOLLARS! That’s crazy to me! I knew I could get cheaper apples elsewhere, so that’s exactly what I did.
I hope some of these tips help inspire you to try eating healthy on a budget! If you’re looking for a few ways to save money at the grocery store, check out my post 16 ways to save money on groceries. If you have any more tips to eat healthy on a budget, share them below in the comments!