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Clever Ways To Eat Healthy On A Budget

Toni Ann DiSantis

Here are some clever tips that can help you eat healthy on a budget.

PLAN YOUR MEALS

When it comes to saving money at the grocery store, planning is essential. Use one day each week to plan your meals for the upcoming week. Then, make a grocery list of what you need. Also, make sure to scan your fridge and cabinets to see what you already have. There are usually a lot of foods hidden in the back that can be used. Only plan to purchase what you know you’re going to use, so that you don’t end up throwing away a lot of what you buy.

STICK TO YOUR GROCERY LIST

Once you’ve planned your meals and made your grocery list, stick to it. It’s very easy to get sidetracked at the grocery store, which can lead to unintended, expensive purchases. As a general rule, try to shop the perimeter of the store first. This will make you more likely to fill your cart with whole foods. The middle of the store often contains the most processed and unhealthy foods. If you find yourself in these aisles, look to the top or bottom of the shelves rather than straight ahead. The most expensive items are usually placed at eye level. Additionally, there are now many great grocery list apps to help you shop. Some of them can even save favorite items or share lists between multiple shoppers. Using an app is also a great way to make sure you don’t forget your list at home.

COOK AT HOME

Cooking at home is much cheaper than eating out. Make it a habit to cook at home, rather than eating out at the last minute. Generally, you can feed an entire family of 4 for the same price as buying food for one or two people at a restaurant. Some people find it best to cook for the entire week on the weekends, while others cook one meal at a time. By cooking yourself, you also gain the benefit of knowing exactly what is in your food.

COOK LARGE PORTIONS AND USE YOUR LEFTOVERS

Cooking large meals can save you both time and money. Leftovers can be used for lunches, in other recipes or frozen in single-portion sizes to be enjoyed later on. Leftovers usually make very good stews, stir-fries, salads and burritos. These types of food are especially great for people on a budget.

PACK YOUR LUNCH

Eating out is very expensive, especially if done regularly. Packing your lunch, snacks, drinks and other meals is less expensive and way healthier than eating out. If you have adapted to cooking large meals at home, you’ll always have a steady lunch to bring with you without any additional effort or cost. It does require some planning, but it should save you a lot of money at the end of the month.

REPLACE MEAT WITH OTHER PROTEINS

Eating less meat may be a good way to save money. Try having one or two days per week where you use other protein sources, such as beans, legumes, eggs or canned fish. These are all very inexpensive, nutritious and easy to prepare. Most of them also have a long shelf life and are therefore less likely to spoil quickly. Try replacing meat once or twice a week with beans, legumes, eggs or canned fish. These are all cheap and nutritious sources of protein.

STOP BUYING JUNK FOOD

Cut out some of the junk food from your diet. You would be surprised to see how much you may be paying for soda, crackers, cookies, prepackaged meals and processed foods. Despite the fact that they offer very little nutrition and are packed with unhealthy ingredients, they are also very expensive. By skipping the processed and unhealthy foods, you can spend more of your budget on higher quality, healthy foods.