Eating healthily can be expensive – but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some handy tips to ensure your food budget is still healthy and nutritious.
1. Make Sure Fruits and Veggies are the Bulk of Your Diet
Fruits and veggies are cheaper than other sources of nutrition, especially when you buy in season. They are also full of minerals, vitamins and fibers – making them an essential part of a balanced diet.
2. Buy Bulk & Freeze
Buying in bulk is an effective way to save money while ensuring you have nutritious foods on-hand. Frozen fruits and veggies are just as nutritious as fresh, and they are generally much cheaper.
3. Stick To Your Shopping List
Having a shopping list in advance, and sticking to it, will help you save a lot of money. You are less likely to be tempted by unhealthy and expensive junk food, and more likely to get the healthy items you need.
4. Buy Local & In Season
Buying local and in-season fruits and veggies is generally cheaper than buying out of-season. It also supports local farmers and reduces your carbon footprint.
5. Look for Discounts
Be on the lookout for discounts, and buy fruits and veggies in bulk when possible. Most stores have discounts on bulk items, which means more nutritious food for less money.
6. Plan & Prepare Meals
Planning your meals in advance and preparing foods in bulk can help cut down on food costs. Cook in batches at the beginning of the week, and freeze or store the extra meals to save time and money.
7. Cook from Scratch
Rather than buying pre-packaged and processed foods, try making meals from scratch. Cooking with whole ingredients like grains, beans and fresh produce is cheaper and far more nutritious.
8. Shop at Cheap Stores
Try upscale health food stores as well as discount grocery stores. Also, look for sales, and take advantage of your store loyalty card. All of these things will help you get more nutritious food for less.
9. Buy Whole Foods & Pre-Cut Alternatives
Whole foods tend to be cheaper than pre-cut and pre-washed alternatives. Also, buying in bulk will help get you more for less.
10. Plant a Garden
Having a garden, even just a small one, means you can easily pick fresh vegetables and herbs whenever you need them. It will also save you money in the long run.
11. Make Healthy Snacks
Rather than spending money on unhealthy snacks, look for easy, healthy snacks. Fresh fruits, homemade trail mixes and whole-grain crackers are all good choices.
12. Cook Once, Eat Twice
Cooking large batches of food can help save time, money and energy. You can cook a larger amount of food once and eat it twice or freeze it for later.
Eating nutritiously on a budget is possible, with a bit of planning and preparation. By following these simple tips, you can eat healthy and save money.
What are the healthiest food options on a budget?
1. Canned beans – Choose quality dried or canned beans (such as black, kidney, garbanzo, white, or pinto) for an inexpensive and healthy source of protein, fiber, and other nutrients.
2. Frozen vegetables – Not only are frozen vegetables affordable, but they are also convenient and just as nutritious as fresh produce.
3. Oats – Oats are one of the least expensive and most nutritious whole grains. They are rich in fiber, protein, and vitamins.
4. Eggs – Eggs are a cheap and versatile source of protein and nutrients such as choline, iron, and zinc.
5. Canned tuna – Canned tuna is a cheap and shelf-stable source of lean protein.
6. Frozen fruit – Frozen fruit is a great way to get the nutrition of fresh produce that is often out of season.
7. Lentils – Lentils are an inexpensive and nutritious source of protein, minerals, and fiber.
8. Peanut butter – Peanut butter is a nutritious spread that is rich in protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
What are the least expensive healthiest food options?
1. Cooked dried beans. They provide plant-based protein and dietary fiber, and are low in fat and calories.
2. Frozen vegetables. They are inexpensive, low in calories, and contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals.
3. Oats. They are a good source of fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, they are inexpensive and can be prepared in many different ways.
4. Fruits. Most fruits are low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
5. Popcorn. It’s an excellent option for a low-calorie, high-fiber snack.
6. Whole grains. They are an excellent source of fiber, and can provide a variety of vitamins and minerals. Plus, they are inexpensive and can be used in a variety of dishes.
7. Natural peanut butter. It’s a good source of protein and healthy fats, and can also be used in a variety of dishes.
8. Plain Greek yogurt. It’s a good source of protein and calcium, and it can be used in several different ways.
What are some affordable and healthy meal ideas?
1. Bean and vegetable burrito bowls: Cook brown or black beans in a pot, combine with cooked quinoa or brown rice, add sautéed peppers and onions and top with avocado, salsa and cilantro, if desired.
2. Ground turkey and sweet potato tacos: Cook frozen sweet potatoes in the microwave and stir together with cooked ground turkey. Wrap it in warm tortillas with desired toppings like shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa and Greek yogurt.
3. Baked salmon and roasted vegetables: Drizzle olive oil on salmon fillets and season with salt, pepper and herbs. Place the salmon and cut vegetables (like bell peppers, zucchini, carrots or potatoes) in a baking dish. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Serve with a side of whole grain couscous or brown rice.
4. Vegetable soup: Sauté diced onions and garlic in a pot, then add desired vegetables (like carrots, celery and potatoes) and cook until tender. Add canned or jarred diced tomatoes, vegetable broth or water and seasonings like salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Simmer until vegetables are cooked through, then serve with a side of bread or a piece of fruit.
5. Lentil curry: Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pot and add minced garlic, ginger and curry powder. Add diced onions and carrots and sauté for a few minutes before adding in dry lentils and vegetable broth. Simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are cooked through, then serve over cooked quinoa. Top with fresh cilantro for extra flavor.