Eating Healthy on a Budget

Thank you to my sister Michalene for this awesome guest post on Eating Healthy on a Budget!

 Living a healthy lifestyle is extremely important, but can you afford to buy fruits and vegetables? Find out how you can eat a healthy foods while still being on a budget.

 

There are so many misconceptions with healthy eating and the cost of living a healthy life.  Many people have the idea that eating healthy can be too expensive, especially for an entire family.   I am here to tell you that this is not true! In fact, I actually save money by preparing fresh, healthy meals for my family.

The key to saving money while eating healthy is meal planning and preparation. Believe me, this was a hard concept for me at first. I was always the one to just make a meal with whatever we had and if there wasn’t enough time then fast food it was. It’s ok if it is only every once in a while, right? Wrong. Meal planning is actually much easier than it seems. By planning and preparing for your meals, less food is wasted and you don’t have to worry about throwing away money when fresh fruit and vegetables sit too long and spoil. The easiest way to do this is to plan your meals over the weekend and do your grocery shopping and meal prepping for the week ahead. Some schedules do not allow for this, so you can always do the mid-week meal planning/prep or you can even break it up into 2 separate plans for the week depending upon your family.

 

Meal Planning/Prepping: 

-Use a blank calendar that reflects 1 week at a time, or you can make your own on a sheet of paper.  Remember, this needs to work for your household so you may have to tweak some things in order to do this.

-Plan out your meals: This includes daily snacks.  I like to choose my meals based upon recipes that we like to eat.  Write out each day of meals on the calendar while creating your grocery list at the same time.  This way you can see how much of each item you will need in order to get through the week. Check with your local grocer to see if there will be a sale on certain items that week.  For instance, if chicken is a feature for the week, you can incorporate more meals that include chicken so that you can take advantage of the sale.  The internet is such a great tool because you can find millions of healthy recipes just by searching key words.  Here are some healthy recipes to help you get started.

*Time saving tip- If your schedule during the week is hectic, slow cooker meals can be a lifesaver.  You can also cook on Sunday’s and freeze the meal for later in the week.

-Prepping for the week: Prep all fresh fruit and vegetable for easy and quick grab-n-go. Wash and prepare all fresh food.  Cut vegetables such as celery, carrots, broccoli, and store in separate ziplock bags or Tupperware containers.  This is easy to pack for lunch or grab as a snack on the go.  Do the same for fruits.  Portion out strawberries, blueberries, grapes, etc.  I also do this with nuts and seeds as well. This way you are not wasting food because you are in a hurry and don’t have time to portion it as you’re running out the door. Since you will also be buying meat in bulk, cut and separate the amounts according to your recipes and store in the fridge or freeze for later.  This is all about convenience! That way you are not stuck with little time and no options. Choose the best system for your household.  You can incorporate other family members in this step as well, it is fun family bonding time! I incorporate my kids as much as I can so that they practice healthy habits early on.

 Here is an example of a healthy meal plan for the week.

Be smart with the choices when grocery shopping. When meal planning, choose items that are in season because they will be much more affordable that items that are not.  There are staple items that should be on the grocery list each week.  This does not mean that you have to eat bland or the same thing over and over, these are items that are packed with tons of nutrients and can be incorporated into many recipes.  When shopping fresh, only buy enough for your recipes.  It is always better to have to run to the store to grab something than to waste food and money.  Always shop the perimeter of the store, this is where the freshest foods are located.  You should not spend much time or money on the middle shelves of the grocery store.  The only items you will need in those areas are your grains (rice, noodles, breads, etc) your seasonings, and some other occasional items such as coffee or oatmeal.  Always check for coupons on these items to save extra money.

Suggested Grocery List:

{Get your FREE copy of this Healthy Grocery Shopping List to take with you the next time you go shopping}

Use our example grocery list the next time you go shopping so that you know which items to purchase.

 

There are other ways to save money on healthy, fresh foods.  It may take a little researching, but it is well worth it! Believe me, your wallet will thank you for taking the extra step.  You may need to check online or in your community newsletter to find where these options are offered.

Save money on groceries while still buying healthy foods

Money Saving Tips :

Farmers Markets -Usually farmers markets set up shop once a week and feature fresh fruits and vegetables.  Not only are you supporting your local economy, but you’re saving money too.  These items are usually priced lower than grocery stores.

Local Farms – If you are in an area that is more rural, there is likely a farm within driving distance.  These farms offer local fresh produce.

Co-ops – These small markets feature locally grown produce.  They are a great place to check out if you are looking for seasonal fruits and veggies.

Bargain Grocery Chains. – Stores such as Aldi and Bottom Dollar Foods offer a wide variety of produce.  Often times their items are more limited than other grocery stores, but you can find a lot of fresh fruits and veggies at these stores for a discounted price.  I find many items on my grocery list and these types of stores.  Be careful when purchasing meat from these vendors.  It is important to buy from butchers or trusted sources.

Store Discount Programs – A lot of grocery stores now offer a customer loyalty program, make sure you take advantage of this.  You can save money on your grocery bill and they often times mail coupons that are specific to the items you frequently buy.

Homegrown Produce – If you have an area in your yard that you can turn into a small garden, you can save a fortune! Even if you are only growing a few types of vegetables during the season, seeds cost significantly less.  This takes dedication though, so make sure you plan ahead for this option.

 Living a healthy lifestyle is extremely important, but can you afford to buy fruits and vegetables? Find out how you can eat a healthy foods while still being on a budget.

Be sure to check out more articles about living a healthy lifestyle on Michalene’s website. 

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Hi There. Found you from Frugal Friday Link Up Party. Eating healthy is hard when you have a skinny budget. Health foods always seem so much more expensive. I am printing off your suggested shopping list now as I type this for my trip to the grocery store this weekend. Thanks for the great tips!

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