One of the main reasons people give for not eating healthy is that it’s not a cheap lifestyle to maintain. While that is true to some extent, especially if you’ve got food restrictions and allergies, there are ways to eat well even when you’re on a tight budget. A lot depends on what you like to eat in general, but if you’re a fan of processed and sugary foods then just cutting them out of your diet will make a world of difference for your finances. Here are 6 smart tips for eating healthy without having to rob a bank.
Make Cooking at Home a Habit
Eating out is by far one of the most expensive things you can do and while you might be eating healthy, your budget will suffer greatly. True, it’s much easier to come to a restaurant and just order food, but for the price of one meal in the restaurant you can make dinner for a whole family. If you’re not that good of a cook, don’t be discouraged, practice makes it perfect. Besides, internet is full of recipes for beginners, so the only thing you need is your power of will. If you haven’t got the time to cook every day because of your busy schedule, then plan out your meals and take some time for meal prepping on the weekends, which brings us to our next tip…
Meal Prepping Is a Lifesaver
Planning what you’re going to eat throughout the week has many benefits – not having to come up with what you’re going to eat when you’re tired, going to the grocery store only once a week, stocking your fridge with plenty of fresh produce etc. Though it might be somewhat tiresome to spend a couple of hours cooking different meals on your day off, it will save you a ton of money.
Once you’ve figured out your menu for the week, write down the list of things you need and head to the supermarket. Make sure you’re not hungry when you go, because that will end up in buying things you don’t really need, but crave, and you’ll spend more. Stick to your list and focus on the things that you need, you will see just how much of a game changer it is. Another perk of meal prepping – you don’t have to buy lunch, simply bring something from home to nibble on at work and voila, even more money saved.
Banish Every Form of Junk Food
This is the first rule of eating clean, though it is very hard to uphold, with so many temptations constantly surrounding us. Processed food is extremely bad for your metabolism and it’s just as bad for your spending habits, which you will see as soon as you stop buying sodas, sweets, processed frozen foods and whatever else is your weak spot. Stop buying junk food and take notice about how much money you’re spending – most of the time we don’t even realize how expensive the things that are bad for us are. Even if you’re ordering food, opt out for healthy meal delivery instead of going for pizza or greasy Chinese food.
Buy Produce When They’re in Season
Though everything is available to us throughout the whole year, fresh fruit and vegetables are much more affordable when they’re in season. This isn’t just the matter of price either, but also about how fresh and organic the produce you buy are and if you’re giving your best to eat healthy, then you don’t want GMO products in your diet either. If the products had to be flown from another continent to get to your fridge, chances are you will pay a lot more for it. You can always buy frozen vegetables and fruit that still keep most of their nutrients and what’s best their shelf life is much longer, so there’s no rush to use it immediately.
Don’t Forget About Whole Grains
Whole grains are an excellent substitute for meat, which can be quite pricey. Brown rice, beans, whole wheat couscous and whatever else comes to your mind will incorporate nicely in basically any meal you can think of, they will keep you full longer and are quite affordable. You can buy whole grains (and everything else you know you’re going to use frequently) in bulks, as it is even cheaper that way. You can even prepare them and divide them into smaller portions, store them in your freezer and then use them whenever the need arises.
Keep It All in Sight
The amount of food we end up throwing out is ridiculous and this can easily be prevented just by going through your fridge regularly and keeping it organized. All you really need to do is keep the things you’ve bought and prepared in sight, that way every time you open your fridge, there they’ll be to remind you you’ve got plenty of food at the ready. Some people have also taken on the habit of labeling their food, even putting dates when they made them. This is extremely useful to keep track of what you’ve got and it will stop you from having to throw away food and money.
It’s not overly difficult to eat healthy when you’re on a tight budget, the trick is to devise a system that works for you. Saving money and not spending too much of it on food every month will make all the difference, both for your figure and for your bank account balance, just give these tips a try. – Vanessa Davis
Vanessa Davis is a 32-year-old fitness enthusiast, mother of two and content writer at http://www.diet.st. She’s originally from Long Island, New York, and when she isn’t cooking up some new health and fitness article, she enjoys doing yoga and figuring out new, delicious organic recipes for herself and her kids.