Eating healthy on a budget
Many people think healthy eating means bland food and a higher budget, but that’s not the case. Sure, you can play the grocery game and get Kraft Mac N Cheese for 10¢ a box, but is that the healthiest option for you or your family? Here are some ways to eat healthy without blowing your budget.
Avoid processed food
Foods that are highly processed and packaged in lots of plastic are not unhealthy, they cost more. The first step in healthy eating is to avoid processed food. It may take some psychological tinkering if you’re accustomed to couponing, but you will come out ahead in the end because you will buy less food overall. Processed food lacks nutritional value, which means you get hungry sooner so you end up eating more than you would otherwise.
Know your staples
Whole grains, beans, chicken and canned fish are full of nutrients and vitamins and inexpensive. If you plan the majority of your meals around these items, your budget will be a lot smaller. You can also find great recipes for tuna or chicken casseroles if you’re in a rush. Substituting beans for red meat will still give you a lot of protein and won’t do as much damage to your budget.
Water is not only great for you, it’s almost free. Sure, you pay the city or county to deliver water to you, but the amount you drink only costs you pennies. Skip the bottled water and buy a water filter at the grocery store. Most of them require a new filter a few times per year, but you are still making an incredible deal. This will not only make you healthier (and even help you lose weight), but it will save you loads of cash.
Buy seasonal fruits and veggies
Do you know why pineapple is so much cheaper in March — because it’s in season. If you buy fruits and vegetables while they’re in season, you’ll be able to get a much better deal. You can also stock up on frozen veggies during a sale and steam or sauté them. Be careful of boiling, veggies lose a lot of nutritional value that way.
Wait for sales
This applies to all shopping, but definitely deserves a mention. While it’s true you can’t find as many coupons for ingredients as you can for packaged foods, you can find the same store sales. Wait until a sale and stock up on items you often use. I wait until boneless, skinless chicken breast is on sale for $0.99/pound (normally $2.xx or more here) and buy enough to get me through until the next sale. You can also ask the meat department when their sale cycle is to take advantage of all the great deals.