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3 Cheap Ways to Eat Healthy on any Budget

Eat HealthyWe all know that we need to eat healthy, well most of us do at least. 😉 We also know that we need to save money. Balancing those two can be a challenge at times, though you certainly shouldn’t use it as an excuse not to eat healthy.

When you walk around the grocery store, it can seem like all of the healthy foods are the most expensive, and that you will have to break the bank if you want to keep stick to your dietary choices.

That fact is that really isn’t the case, but a myth in my opinion. While it may not be easy you can find some cheap ways to eat healthy. You just have to want it and stick to a plan. The good news is that it can be done, and plenty of people have done it before you. If you’re looking for some ways to eat healthy on a budget, the simple tips below should give you an idea of how to get started.

Eat Healthy by Cooking at Home

Prepared healthy foods are some of the most expensive items in the grocery store. If you are buying prepared and packaged meals and other food items that are marketed as ‘health food’, you are sure to pay a premium. You may save time by going this route, but that time savings comes at a steep cost.

Instead, cook your own food using healthy ingredients. Fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t that expensive, and they can be used to create a wide variety of meals and snacks. If you want to cook at home but you don’t know where to start, there is a simple solution to that – the internet. The internet is a great resource to learn how to prepare some basic, healthy meals for you and your family. You will find that you can save a lot of money by cooking for yourself over buying health food, and you just might enjoy doing it as well.

Don’t Throw Out Food

Buying food gets much more expensive when you don’t actually use everything that you purchase. Plan your menus carefully for each week and only buy food that you are sure you will use in a timely fashion. If you get off-track and aren’t going to use something before it spoils, freeze it if possible so it can be used later. We do this quite a bit with vegetables we pull from our garden as it allows us to prolong the shelf life of the produce.

Food items that go unused are a complete waste from a budget perspective, as it’s basically the same as throwing money in the trash. By being more efficient with your grocery shopping and meal planning, you can save a good chunk of money and stretch your grocery budget even further.

Eat Seasonally

Buying fruits and vegetables that are out-of-season can be rather expensive, and they often don’t taste as good either. Try to plan your healthy meals with seasonal foods in mind so you can find fair prices and high quality product. This might take a little bit of a learning curve to discover what the seasons are like in your area, and when certain items are their most affordable.

Do a little internet research on your area to get a good idea of the timing of the seasons and look for recipes that take advantage of what is available currently. That way, you get a nice variety of foods throughout the year, and you are able to eat healthier without completing breaking the bank in the process. Going back to gardening, this is another great way to save money through gardening. By planning your gardening strategy you can have items that may be out of season but at little cost to you as it came straight from your garden.

Eating healthy while staying on budget is something that you will likely need to practice, but you can certainly do successfully with a little effort. Saving money and cutting calories is a powerful combination that just about anyone can benefit from, so focusing on this process is certainly worth your time.

 

Have you found it a challenge to find cheap ways to eat healthy? What are some of the tricks you use to balance eating healthy and staying on a budget?

 

 

Photo Courtesy of: AmySelleck

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John Schmoll is a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. He's passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes so that they can live lives free from the shackles of debt and empowered to make their money work for them. You can check out his other sites: Frugal Rules, for ways to improve your financial literacy; and Sprout Wealth for tips on different ways to make more money. John has been featured on Forbes, Lifehacker, Yahoo Finance and US News & World Report and more. If you're wanting to grow your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

22 comments

  1. Funny timing – I just posted yesterday on how challenging it was being a vegan on a budget. I’m challenging my family to get our grocery bill to under $100 a week, not counting diapers for daycare, cleaning supplies, or hygiene items which I put into other categories. We easily spend over $200 a week now, but we also have a lot of food waste. We have a bunch of challenges that add up to a unique situation, so we are just baby stepping our way through the process to see how we can make cuts.

    • Great minds do think alike. 🙂 That food waste can really be a killer to a budget. We’ve thankfully found ways to cut it quite a bit so that helps a lot. That said, we’re not vegan though we’ve moved to a largely organic produce diet and it can be a challenge to keep within our budget but have been successful thus far.

  2. Eating at home is something I always do, and I still manage to get some pretty high grocery bills. I think shopping for sales and looking for what’s seasonal is really something I could improve on at the grocery store. I like cooking healthy food and that can really get expensive if I’m not careful.

  3. I like to cook bulk meals as a way to save money. All I do is make just a little bit more such as when making dinner. This way I have a snack for later or a meal for the next day. Saves time and money!

    • We do that quite a bit as well, especially now that we both work from home. It makes it much easier to walk into the kitchen and microwave something and we have lunch in two minutes or less. 🙂

  4. That’s how we do it. Cooking at home is really the most important one. You know exactly what you’re putting in your food and it is also a lot cheaper. We also love leftovers – okay maybe not love, love them, but we don’t mind them at all.

  5. We not only save money but eat better when we eat at home. It always blows my mind when I see client’s spend $15 for a meal at McDonald’s when they could have made something much better, tastier and healthier at home for $5. I love using Pinterest for finding healthy meals at home. It’s great because it is a bunch of food bloggers posting stuff and they are “regular” people like me and not the food network or professional chef crew. Because I may cook at home, but it doesn’t mean I am good at it. 🙂

    • I completely agree Shannon. I look back at how I used to spend money on food and it just boggles my mind. Not only are what we doing now is healthier, but it’s also cheaper.

  6. I posted recently about how to keep grocery costs down, including eating healthily. I think that cooking at home really does make a massive difference to how healthy you can be – there’s so much added to ready made stuff!

  7. I really struggle with keeping the grocery bills under control. Thanks for these tips!

  8. I completely agree that the theory that eating healthy is spendy is a myth! By taking advantages of the methods you mention, we actually spend less on groceries than when we were eating more processed foods.

  9. Anyone CAN eat healthy on a budget. You don’t have to get take out meals from Whole Foods to be healthy. It might not always be convenient to make a home cooked meal, but that’s another story!

  10. We eat pretty healthy on a budget. For us, it all boils down to eating cheap meals at home. I can afford plenty of fruits and vegetables, but eating out absolutely kills our grocery budget.

    • We’re the same way Holly. We budget $100 for eating out and we rarely spend all of it because why spend $50+ on one meal out for the family when we can get so much more by doing it at home?

  11. Once I started cooking at home, I think I realized how unhealthy a lot of foods that I used to eat when dining out was. The amount of salt, oil, grease, etc that I would need to use to get the taste I got from eating out is enormous. And cooking at home also made me realize how expensive it is to eat out. Why would I pay so much for a meal outside when I can make the same thing for a fraction of the cost. Sure we still eat out sometimes, but I honestly prefer cooking and eating at home sometimes. And food waste really bothers me…especially people who refuse to eat leftovers. It’s perfectly good…what a waste!

    • I feel the same way Andrew. It really is crazy how much healthier you can make many things at home. Don’t get me started on food waste, I absolutely hate it, it’s like throwing cash in the trash can.

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