Food is expensive. And healthy food is especially expensive. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m pretty good at stretching a dollar. I do my best to fill my nutritional needs with high quality foods, without spending more than I have to.
Here are some eating-healthy-on-a-budget tips for you:
Plan ahead and shop the sales
The best way to eat within a budget is to plan your meals. Try to shop once a week, based on what meals you’ll be making. Start by shopping from what you already have by taking inventory of what you have on hand in your cupboards, crisper bins, and in the freezer. Then, look at the flyers to see what healthy stuff is on sale, and plan your meals around that. If you have a can of black beans in the cupboard, a jar of salsa in the fridge, some corn in the freezer, and chicken breasts are on sale, plan to make a casserole out of those ingredients for one night. If you have some oats in the cupboard, fruit in the freezer, and yogurt’s on sale, you can plan for overnight oats for breakfasts through the week. If there’s a great deal on ground turkey and you have sweet potatoes kicking around, plan a meal around that.
When you know what you’ll be preparing ahead of time, not only will you save money, but you’ll be able to stay on track with your eating, too.
Change up your protein
If you’re trying to get in lots of protein to meet your macros (always a good idea), you don’t have to just exist on chicken breasts and steak. Stock up on canned tuna and salmon when they go on sale. Mussels are a great, affordable protein option, and here in Morell you can buy them directly from the Mussel King plant on Red Head Road. Egg whites are great, too. Lean pork and lean beef are also good sources of protein, but if you’re watching your budget, keep an eye for sales and buy it when it’s cheap. When turkeys are on sale, buy one to get you through a week of salads, wraps, and soups. You can use the carcass, too, to make your own soup broth which saves you from buying it. Plus it tastes a lot better!
Reduce (or stop) waste
I hate food waste. And when you’re watching a budget, the last thing you want to do is to be throwing out food. One trick I use is to buy a mix of fresh and frozen produce, and I use up the fresh in meals during the first half of the week, relying on frozen at the end of the week. Don’t forget to freeze stuff before it goes bad. Spinach can be frozen and added to soups and egg dishes. If you have any peppers, broccoli or cauliflower in the fridge that you aren’t going to use up before they go bad, chop them and put them in the freezer for later use.
Watch your portions
The funny thing about portion size is that it tends to get bigger and bigger as we get more comfortable with not measuring our meals. If you pay closer attention to your portion sizes, you’ll probably notice that you’re overeating and overspending on weekly grocery costs.
Prioritize organic items
For some people, buying organic is important. Make sure that when you’re buying organic, you’re spending that extra money on foods that are more toxic then others. Check out the dirty dozen and clean fifteenth list.