Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget
When you’ve got a tight budget, meal planning and grocery shopping has its challenges. And, when you have a tight budget and you’re dedicated to eating healthy, it’s even trickier.
Here are some quick tips and tricks to get you by, living well and saving money!
1. Buy fresh produce when it’s in season and freeze it.
Fresh produce is always great, but the cost can add up fast. Stick with buying what’s currently in season, and consider stocking up when you find a good deal.In the summer I will buy three or four dozen ears of corn when it is two ears for a dollar (or less).
2. Look for sales and plan meals accordingly.
If your local grocery store offers a savings card be sure to sign up, and check the weekly circular to see what’s on sale. Instead of shopping for groceries based on your weekly meal plan, consider planning your meals around what’s on sale.
3. Try less expensive cuts of meat.
You can still enjoy meat, even when you’re on a tight budget. Look for less expensive cuts of meat, like chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, and try different cooking methods, like the slow cooker, to make tougher cuts of meat tender and juicy.
4. Embrace whole grains and beans.
Beans and whole grains, like quinoa, freekeh and brown rice are an inexpensive and tasty way to bulk up meals, and can even be a meal in themselves.
5. Plan and prep meals ahead.
Whether it’s veggies for the week, tomorrow’s breakfast, lunches or dinners, prepping food in advance is a step in the right direction towards eating healthy. Plus, it’s also a good way to make sure you’re eating what’s in the fridge, to minimize waste.
6. Broaden your culinary horizons!
Cuisines, like Mexican and Indian, rely heavily on inexpensive ingredients, like beans and rice. In both cuisines, rice is a staple, which is cheap. Both are not meat heavy, which is also cheap. Both also allow a lot of ingredients to be used interchangeably. Less waste which equals cheap.
If you like Mexican food, you could do burritos filled with anything you like. Very filling, loads of protein and fiber.
7. Keep an organized fridge and pantry.
Leftovers are always great, but it totally defeats the purpose if they get lost in the back of the fridge. Label leftovers and keep your fridge organized to help minimize food waste.
8. Repurpose leftovers.
If you don’t like eating the same meal over and over, consider repurposing leftovers into an entirely new and delicious meal.
9. Go to the farmers market at the end of the day.
Depending on where you live, farmers markets may or may not save you money during regular hours. Consider visiting the market at the end of the day, when you could very likely score some great deals.
My best tip: When I was on a *really* limited budget, I would go to the public market/ farmer’s market about an hour before they closed.
10. Shop at ethnic markets.
Consider checking out local ethnic markets. Not only are you likely to find a bargain on certain products, you’ll also find some really interesting ingredients. You can buy really varied, interesting, cheap noodles in an Asian market.