We all love that quick cheap food from the dollar menu. But these foods come with a hidden price: your health! These foods are loaded with added sugar, sodium, saturated fat and empty carbs. Does not really sound like a bargain when you factor in the cost of managing obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Eating healthy on a budget does not mean that you have to give up flavor or speed. It is possible to buy fresh foods without blowing your paycheck. With a little planning and prep work, you can eat well and still have money to enjoy life. Keep these tips in mind for eating healthy on a budget the next time you hit the grocery store.
- Eat Before Grocery Shopping
Impulse buys when you are hungry add up fast. Plus, those quick grab treats will do nothing for the waistline.
2. Buy Store Brands
Items such as butter, milk, cereal, brown rice and frozen veggies are just as tasty if they are in-house brands. And they can be dollars cheaper! Big savings on in-house brands.
3. Grocery Specials
Check out the sales flyer at your local grocery and find out what deals are happening. Also, when walking up and down the aisles, look for the little hang tags that are sale reminders.
4. Ripe Produce
Do not pass the ripe produce! Usually the ripe produce is displayed at discounted prices. Cut up everything when you get home and freeze it! Now you have fresh fruit that will last for weeks! Frozen fruit gives a vitamin boost to oatmeal, smoothies and more.
5. Skip the Fancy Steaks
Save the fancy cut steaks for special occasions. Opt for leaner and less expensive cuts of meat instead. Flank steak can be seasoned to add lots of flavor and roasts provide a great meal with plenty of leftovers. Also, consider buying beef in bulk. Stock up when meat goes on sale and freeze what you will not be using that week.
Eggs are packed with protein. One whole egg contains all the essential amino acids the body needs. Eggs are also inexpensive when compared to other protein sources.
7. Buy Whole Chickens
It may seem like less work to pick up packages of pre-cut breasts, but it is more cost effective to buy the entire bird. Whole chickens are a bargain when compared to the cost of individually cut and packaged pieces. Although it may take more time to prepare, you will have several meals worth of food that will save you time in the long run. Try having roasted chicken for Sunday dinner, use the dark meat to make lunch wraps or chicken tacos and then throw the bones in a slow-cooker overnight to make a broth for a hearty soup!
8. Frozen Fruits and Veggies
Frozen fruits and veggies are packaged at their peak of freshness. This locks in the nutrients making them just as healthy as their fresh counterparts. Just be sure to read labels and make sure there is no added sodium or sugars. Other great frozen items are fresh caught fish and pasture-raised beef and bison.
9. Buy in Bulk
Buy your staples in bulk for some money savings. Brown rice and beans for example, are a huge savings when bought in bulk. Another food item to look for in bulk is oatmeal.
10. Go to the Farmers’ Market
Because the middle man is being cut out, local growers can have the best deals for fresh, in season produce. Buy a bunch! Cut it up and freeze when you get home. In this way, none of what you purchased will go to waste.
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