It can be overwhelming. I can be daunting. It can be the hardest thing you have ever done. But it doesn’t HAVE to be! Eating healthy can be easier than your mommas homemade cooking, but you might not think it tastes as good….at first. You can make every excuse in the book not to eat healthy, but money cannot be one of those! Money is always at the top of the list…if you have the money you don’t have the time, and if you have the time you don’t have the money. It is a vicious cycle, but it doesn’t get to rule your health! This is my HOW TO guide for eating healthy on a budget!
There are a lot of different ways you can eat healthy without breaking the bank. This obviously means you are going to have to get creative and remember what is important to you! Like, for instance, it would be wise to buy produce that is NOT organic if you are in a bind because that is obviously more expensive. My biggest thing here is you having enough healthy food to last you the week/month rather than having a few items that are organic but having to buy pre-packaged meals/snacks for fill you up! So, here are my ways to save money and eat healthy.
This is a big one! Obviously it is a lot easier to go into one store and buy everything! But, it can be a lot cheaper to take some extra time and look around. This means price checking at different stores. If you have a few MSUT HAVES that make it on your list each week; maybe that is peanut butter or eggs, check around at different stores to see who has the best price. I mean, if you even save a dollar, that can add up big time!
Sams Club and Costco for the win! Buying in bulk can save you a lot of money, especially on meat! We go once a month and stock up on fish, chicken, egg whites, nuts, seeds etc. and it saves us so much money. Also, buy your meat frozen! I know it may not sound as appealing, but if you are saving money and you know you eat a lot of chicken or fish, buy it in bulk frozen. That way you can have a 10lb bag in the freezer that costs you $18 rather than 2lbs fresh that costs you $12.
Whenever there is produce on sale that you usually get, buy a bunch of it and again…FREEZE IT! You can freeze any kind of fruit, vegetable and it will be just fine! This will save a ton of money and you can have all those warm fuzzy feelings when your freezer is full…unless I am the only one who gets those. FUN FACT: you can actually freeze avocados! Wait until they are ripe and throw them in the freezer, when you want it you can just take it out and run it under warm water for about 10 minutes and it is good to go!
If you are really strapped for cash, check out the grocery store sales and make your meals accordingly! Yes, this is going to take up a lot more time but it can also save you a boat load of dollars. You know those super annoying flyers that come in the newspaper (do people still read the news paper?) they tell you all the sales going on for the week at your local grocery store. So if you plan your weekly meals around the sales, you are bound to save money!
This one is huge! So many people assume they need to make these big elaborate meals that are healthy. That is not the case. All you need to do it put a protein source, carb source, a fat source and a vegetable together! This could be something as simple as chicken, rice, peppers and onions sautéed in olive oil. This gives you all your macro nutrients without needing a bunch of different ingredients. This can obviously get really boring overtime, but once you have mastered the money, and the meal combinations you can start to get fancy! Counting macros for weight loss is also an option so you can see exactly what and how much you are eating everyday.
How many times have you had to throw away food because it went bad? This is usually because it got lost in the fridge and you forgot about it. When you get home from the store prepare your foods (maybe that is washing and cutting vegetables/fruit, separating out protein portions) and keep it visible! If your fridge is unorganized and you are struggling to find space for everything, chances are something will get pushed to the back and will go bad. So, keep it clean! Clean our your fridge frequently, only grocery shop when you need to (our fridge is literally EMPTY at the end of the week), and keep things visible in the front so you know exactly what you have!
There are fruits and vegetables out there that last a long time and go a long way! Things like cabbage, broccoli, and kale can last a while and they are very nutrient dense! As far as fruits, melons and bananas pack a big punch for nutrients and yield a lot of produce!
This is a great tool! You can use your leftover dinners for lunch the next day or even change it up and make it for dinner again! Things like ground beef can be used in SO MANY different recipes…stuffed peppers, spaghetti, tacos, burrito bowls, the possibilities are endless! Taking any kind of dish and adding it into a bowl with some veggies is a sure way to make your groceries last longer!
Eating healthy in general can be hard, but eating healthy at home can be a whole ‘nother story. Why? Because if you have kids or someone in the house that is not willing to change their diet with you, sometimes it is hard to fall into what I call “the snack trap.” This trap can be big, and dark and scary. But, there are ways around it. First of all, if its kiddos…make them eat healthy! They actually do not have the option to eat cheez-its and cosmic brownies if they are not in the house. And I promise you, your kid will eat whatever you make him before they starve to death. So, just don’t buy it! Stick to the outsides of the grocery store aisles and avoid even buying the crap!
As far as significant others, or kids old enough to go buy their own snacks, will power. Out of sight, out of mind is the easiest option, but not always practical. So it comes down to how badly do you want to be healthy, how badly do you want to see results. Always make sure you have healthy foods prepared, or find ways to healthify your favorite foods! Have fruits and vegetables prepared in the fridge so they are easy to grab, or even have protein bars on hand so you can snack on those!
These are all great options for how to eat healthy on a budget and lose weight. There will always be struggles to eat the cheaper, crappier food or order pizza instead of cooking dinner; but how you continue to handle that situation and set your self up for success is up to you! If you are looking to learn more about how to eat healthy while dining out you can check out my full blog post. Just continue to remind yourself that healthy doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t have to do it all at once. Small steps and small changes add up to big results over time!
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