Eating Healthy on a Budget

Eating Healthy on a Budget

You may want to eat healthy, nutritious food but fear it's beyond your budget. While food prices continue to increase, there are several ways in which you can eat healthy on a budget.

Plan Meals: Each week before you go grocery shopping, sit down and plan out all of your meals and snacks for the upcoming week. Put all the ingredients you need on a grocery list. That way, when you go to the grocery store, you're less likely to make impulse buys, and you're more likely to purchase only the things you need.

Use Loyalty Programs and Coupons: Join your supermarket's loyalty program to save money on groceries. Some stores even put their coupons online so you can download them to your loyalty card. When you scan your loyalty card at checkout, the coupons are automatically applied to your bill.

Farmer's Market: Purchase produce at your local farmer's market. Produce typically costs less at a farmer's market than it does in the grocery store. Try going to the farmer's market toward the end of the last day it's open. Oftentimes, people will begin cutting their prices because they want to get rid of their produce.

Buy Seasonal Produce: Purchase produce that's in season; it costs less. For instance, beets, carrots, grapefruits, lemons, pears, turnips, pumpkins, kale, celery, apples, avocados, and bananas are in season during the winter months while apricots, bell peppers, cantaloupe, blueberries, green beans, nectarines, peaches, tomatoes, strawberries, lima beans, cucumbers, and corn are in season during the summer months. Only purchase what you'll use before it goes bad.

Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables without any added butter or sauce last much longer than fresh produce. Frozen fruits and vegetables without added butter or sauce are just as good for you as fresh produce. Similarly, canned fruit in 100% fruit juice and low-sodium and, “no salt added,” vegetables are as nutritious for you as fresh produce. Buying frozen or canned fruits and vegetables may even be cheaper than buying them fresh, especially if the produce you need is out of season.

Buy in Bulk: One great way to save money on lean meats, such as chicken and turkey, is to buy it in family-size or value packs. You can freeze whatever you don't need right away. Split peas, lentils, and kidney beans are great sources of protein you can substitute for meat in main and side dishes. These ingredients cost much less than meat does.

Don't Go to the Store Hungry: Going to the grocery store hungry makes it more likely you'll make impulse buys on things that aren't on your list. Before you go to the store, eat a healthy snack, such as a yogurt or a piece of fruit.

Grow Your Own Food: If you can, grow some of your own produce. If you live in an apartment in a major city, look for a local community garden you can use to grow your own produce.

The price of food keeps going up, which makes it more difficult to eat healthy on a budget. Buying seasonal produce, joining loyalty programs, using coupons, and meal planning are great ways you can stick to your budget and still eat healthy, nutritious food.

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