Eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank! Believe it or not, eating quality, organic healthy foods can be affordable. Here are 10 budget minded tips to help you make healthy eating affordable.
01. PLAN YOUR MEALS
Planning your meals is essential to staying on a budget. For each day of the week, write down what you plan to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Then, write out your grocery list and stick to it! (Resource: Meal Planner App)
02. BUY WHOLE FOODS – SHOP THE PERIMETER
Whole foods are less expensive and provide more nutrition than processed foods. Whole foods are typically single ingredient foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, cheese, yogurt and so on. They’re mostly found around the perimeter of grocery stores. Less processed foods are often sold in greater quantities and yield more servings per container.
Tip: When you’re looking for a quick snack, a piece of whole fruit or a handful of nuts is cheaper than a processed food bar. Whole grains such as raw oats are less expensive to buy than a box of cereal.
03. AVOID BUYING JUNK FOOD
Junk food includes most all processed foods such as crackers, cookies and prepackaged meals. They’re expensive, contain unhealthy ingredients, and little nutrition. By skipping the junk food, you’ll have more money to spend on quality health foods.
04. BUY LOCAL SEASONAL FOODS
Buying locally produced and in season foods is typically the best way to save on produce. Produce that isn’t in season or local must be transported, often from other countries, to get to your store, which costs you more. Two additional benefits of eating local and seasonal: You’ll be getting the peak in both nutrients and flavor and you’re supporting a greener environment! (Resource: Seasonal Food Guide by State)
05. MAKE YOUR OWN MEALS
Eating out is expensive and often less healthy than making your own meals. When you cook at home, you save money and you’re in control of the ingredients. Using your weekly meal planner, you can be sure you have all the ingredients you need to prepare your meals, while avoiding last minute eating out.
According to The Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average cost of dining out is $13 per meal. By contrast, the average meal prepared at home is $4.
Tip: Cook once, eat 2-3 times – make enough to have leftovers for 2-3 meals and save even more money and time.
Resource: E-Meals.com makes meal planning simple. This is a site that helps you prepare healthy meals while saving you money and time. It offers sample menus, including diet specific, grocery lists and stores to shop at.
06. SKIP THE DRINKS
Sodas, juice and energy drinks are some of the biggest budget-busters, and most contain unhealthy ingredients such as loads of sugar, artificial sweeteners and food dyes. Hydrating with water is always you best bet for your budget and your health.
07. BUY LOWER COST QUALITY PROTEIN
Protein is often the most expensive item at the grocery store, but there are many healthy low-cost protein-rich foods available to choose from. Try adding these other less expensive, but highly nutritious sources of protein to your daily diet: ground turkey, eggs, beans, legumes, peanut butter, edamame, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, plain Greek yogurt, amaranth and quinoa.
Tip: Try eating a vegetarian meal once per week. It’s healthy and saves money.
08. PACK YOUR OWN LUNCH
Save money by brown-bagging it. Eating out is expensive and often much less healthy than bringing your own lunch.
Tip: Plan to use leftovers from home cooked dinners to save on time and money.
09. BUY IN BULK
You can save a lot of money when you buy some foods in bulk quantities. Look for grocery stores that offer bulk foods such as grains, beans, nuts, and dried fruit.
10. BUY HEALTHY FOODS FROM AFFORDABLE ONLINE RETAILERS
Buying healthy foods online is becoming increasingly affordable and can save you time with shipping them to your door. One good option is Thrive Market. This well-known online health food retailer focuses exclusively on whole foods and provides daily discounts and competitive prices.
Staying on budget when you shop for groceries is easier when you can quickly check your balance on your MOVO app.
By: Michelle Solis, MS Nutrition