Healthy Eating on a Budget
Eating nutritiously and living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are some handy tips to help you stick to your nutrition goal within your budget constraints:
Prepare Your Meals
- Make a plan for the week’s meals and snacks ahead of time.
- Create a shopping list and stick to it, only buying what’s on the list.
- Make large batches and invest in storage containers so you can prep meals for part of the week.
Buy In-Season Fruits and Vegetables
- Shop your local farmers’ markets, where seasonal produce is usually much cheaper.
- Think ahead and freeze your food – it’s cheaper and you can use it later!
- If you can’t get to the farmers’ markets, shop the frozen food aisle – you’ll find it to be much cheaper and every bit as nutritious.
Cut Back on Processed Foods and Eat Whole Grains
- Whole grains are cheaper and more nutritious than processed, refined grains.
- Choose whole wheat bread and pasta over their white counterparts.
- Buy grains like oats, quinoa, and millet in bulk, as they are both affordable and nutritious.
Make Your Calories Count
- Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s healthy – aim for nutrient-dense foods like avocados or nuts.
- Get creative and experiment with plant-based proteins and recipes.
- Try to limit foods with added sugars and saturated fat from products like processed meats.
Eating healthily on a budget is possible. With a little planning and creativity, you can stick to your nutrition goals and still save money!
What are some healthy meals I can make cheaply?
1. Roasted vegetables and quinoa bowl: Roast vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, onion, and bell pepper then cook quinoa according to the package instructions. Serve them together with a simple olive oil and lemon juice dressing.
2. Lentil and sweet potato curry: Cook together red lentils, diced sweet potato, canned tomatoes, garlic, and spices. Serve over a bed of cooked quinoa or brown rice.
3. Burrito bowl: Cook black beans with onions, garlic, and spices. Serve over cooked brown or white rice with chopped tomatoes, lettuce, and avocado. Drizzle with a creamy tahini or salsa dressing.
4. Pasta and vegetable skillet: Cook small pasta shapes such as macaroni or shells in a pan with diced vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini. Finish with a simple garlic and olive oil sauce, and top with grated Parmesan cheese.
5. Chickpea and vegetable wrap: Mash together cooked chickpeas with spices, diced vegetables such as bell peppers, onion, and tomato. Serve in a lightly toasted wrap with a crunchy coleslaw.
What are some inexpensive ingredients that make healthy meals?
1. Eggs – scrambled eggs with vegetables make for a quick and healthy breakfast.
2. Brown Rice – a great source of complex carbs and vitamins, can be made into a main dish or side.
3. Oats – high in fiber and a nutritious breakfast option
4. Legumes – provide protein and can be made into a variety of meals, including soups and stews.
5. Fresh Vegetables – adding them to salads or eating them raw is a great way to get in your daily dose of vitamins and minerals.
6. Bananas – perfect for a healthy snack or part of a smoothie.
7. Greek Yogurt – high in protein and calcium, and makes for an excellent topping or dip.
8. Nuts – an excellent source of healthy fats and can be used in a variety of dishes.
9. Seeds – a great source of nutrients and can be sprinkled on top of salads for extra flavor.
10. Frozen Fruits and Vegetables – high in nutrients and great for smoothies or simmering sauces.
What are some healthy and affordable meal ideas?
1. Beans and greens: Throw together a mix of beans, spinach, peppers, tomatoes and onions to make a nutrient-packed and delicious meal. Serve over brown rice or quinoa.
2. Peanut butter and banana wrap: Spread a whole wheat wrap with PB and top with a sliced banana. A simply delicious and portable meal.
3. Stir-fry: Create a flavorful, no-fuss stir-fry with your favorite vegetables, lean protein and low-sodium soy sauce.
4. Veggie tacos: Stuff a whole-grain tortilla with your favorite vegetables and beans for a quick and easy meal. Top with salsa or Greek yogurt for added flavor.
5. Lentil soup: Cook a batch of lentils and store them in the fridge for quick, easy meals throughout the week. When you’re ready to eat, add a cup of the cooked lentils to your favorite soup.
What are some meal ideas for college students on a budget?
1. Ramen Noodles with Veggies: Opt for the low-sodium version and add in some frozen or fresh veggies to turn a bland meal into something more nutrient-packed.
2. Beans and Rice: Canned beans are a great way to get protein on a budget. With some cooked rice, combine the two for a filling meal.
3. DIY Wraps: Throw together some assorted fillings and wrap in a soft tortilla or lettuce wraps.
4. Omelettes: Eggs are a cheap and versatile staple. Make omelettes and fill it with assorted veggies and cheese for a protein-packed breakfast or lunch.
5. Corn Tacos: Easy and fast to prepare, canned (non-GMO) sweet corn and some fresh diced tomatoes and lettuce make for a fresh and flavorful meal.
6. Fried Rice: Use cold, leftover cooked rice, some frozen veggies, and an egg for an easy fried rice dish.
7. Frozen Pizza: Opt for the thin crust, whole wheat version for the healthiest option.
8. Pasta Primavera: Cooked pasta, frozen veggies, and a jar of pre-made sauce make this an easy, budget-friendly meal.