Eating healthy usually costs more than a normal person could afford daily. That’s the reason why some people tend to settle on unhealthy foods that are usually cheaper and always available at the local grocery and convenience stores near the office and home. Filling your grocery cart with good foods doesn’t have to break the bank. In reality, you can still eat healthy while sticking on a tight budget. Truth to be told, pre-packed meals are sometimes cheaper than fresh produced, protein-packed fruits, vegetables, and meats but there are ways that you can fill up your pantry with nutritious but delicious meals.
Prioritize your healthy eating needs
People are usually having difficulty in shifting their unhealthy or poor diets. This may be due to their laziness or stubbornness to make an effort to improve their eating habits. Dining in fast food can be much easier compared to preparing a healthy home-cooked meal on their tables daily. They prefer having a drive-thru on their favorite fast-food chain and grab large deep-fried chicken nuggets and fries along with their large soda and a burger, or they can easily pick up their phones and dial the pizza home delivery while having a movie marathon of their all-time favorite movies on Netflix.
“You are what you eat”. This is what fitness trainers always tell their students. Exercise can only help you keep yourself into a healthy state by 10-20%. Having a healthy balanced diet instead would eat up most of the percentage of your success rate for weight loss and healthy living. No amount of exercise can do justice for having a poor diet.
Adding few more bucks on your grocery budget can help you save thousands of funds for healthcare in the future. While cleaning up your diet will add years to your life, lose weight, a smaller waistline, give your better good night sleep, younger-looking, and feeling, and living better.
Eating and living healthy is a decision, commitment, and a constant battle. You need to decide to start eating better. Commit to giving up on unhealthy things that you are used to, and constantly battling the urge of junk food on the stalls from your local grocery or the nearest fast-food chain.
Limit the Unnecessary
In your everyday life, skipping coffee would help you save money that you can add up to your grocery budget. Have you tried counting your soda consumption in a week? Or how often do you grab your favorite bag of chips in between meals while working?
Omitting these small purchases daily will help you lessen your unnecessary expenses which only provide you no nutritional value. But if you need to drink coffee to help boost your brain and body function, you may bring in coffee from home or you may try consuming green tea which has more nutritional value than coffee.
The best part of healthy eating is that once your body adjusts from constantly expecting empty calories, these cravings will gradually start to disappear. Those healthy meals and snacks that you prepare will keep you going and satisfied without even thinking of taking a trip to a snack bar.
Prepare your food
If you know how to cook two or three basic healthy meals and you’re ok on doing it regularly, you can master a week of healthy cheap eats.
This is what we’re up against for a cheap meal: Pricing will depend on your area
- Mc Donald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal – $5.25
- Wendy’s Dollar Menu Meal that consists of 2 burgers, small fries, and small soda – $3.96
- Burger King’s Double Whopper Meal – $4.89
Estimating that the mentioned meals would already make you full. Possibly, you would be grabbing other snacks throughout the day, along with the soda breaks and others. Comparing the price of the meals above, you have to look for good food that has the same cost or lower. This may sound impossible for some, but it is possible.
Here are some staples that will help you achieve healthy eating on a budget. A healthy meal consists of protein, vegetables, fruit, and some healthy fats.
- Protein – eggs, chicken, fish, pork, or steak
- Vegetables and Fruits – your pick
- Healthy fats – almonds, walnuts, almond butter, cooking with things like olive oil or coconut oil
How to choose and buy right
- Scan different flyers, but only go to a single store. Scan on those grocery ads and check out which meats are on sale. Visit a grocery store that sells the cheapest meat since are a good source of protein, the main component on your every meal. Avoid going to multiple stores just to save few bucks, it will only make you waste money and time.
- Buy fruits and vegetables that are currently on sale. This will be against the usual diet advice but never go in with a list. Following a list of foods that you would want to eat in a week would cost you more money. Instead, purchase the meat and scan through the fruits and vegetable section and choose what is on sale.
- Be creative. Creativity in preparing your meal would help you find alternatives to cost you less money, especially if you missed out on getting something when you visit the grocery hours ago.
- Compromise. If you have a preferred variety of fruit, but the other has a cheaper price during your trip to the grocery. You can try out items that are on sale, it is most likely to have the same nutritional value than your preferred variety but would cost you less.
- Prepare in Advance. Prepare your meals and portion things out. It would be easy for you to slice the meat into pieces and have them cooked on your oven and store them in individual plastic bags on your fridge which you can bring at work the next working day for lunch.
- Buy in bulk and freeze. If you can buy a pound of boneless chicken or steak at a cheaper price, grab the opportunity to save up. You can cut it into smaller pieces and separate them in smaller bags and freeze them.
- Need a funky snack? Instead of munching on a bag of chips that could only give you empty calories, try eating the untraditional foods like chicken snacks if it tends to cost you less but will keep you healthy.
- What about normal snacks? Don’t forget to buy your nuts, seeds, spices at the bulk area of the grocery store, the kind that would allow you to pick the amount that you want and the amount that you need since individually packed snacks would cost you more.
- Frozen Vegetables. Steam bags of veggies can be bought in a bulk. It may be not a delicious as the freshly picked ones, but they won’t go bad, they are easy to prepare, they are cheap and you can also mix it with the meat that you just bought.
- Eat everything you buy. Make sure that you consume every single food that was put on your grocery cart. Throwing away food means wasting your money.
If you don’t know how to cook…
Cooking can be very therapeutic, it’s not scary and it doesn’t need to eat up most of your time. You just need to learn the basics. Once you were able to make a single meal, you can mix it up with a small variation.
And once you were able to create a meal, you may start scanning for recipes that are available online and there are millions to choose from. For a start, pick a recipe and get good at it. And then pick another and get good at it. Try cooking more and different dishes as you progress.
Should you go organic?
If budgeting is a challenge, you can avoid buying organic, just be sure to properly wash your fruits and vegetables. If you have some extra, you may start buying some organic fruits and vegetables.
I hope this helps you budgeting while doing groceries to eat healthier. To learn more about nutrition, diets and weight loss tips. Click HERE!