I won’t deny it can be a challenge for those on a tight budget to stay healthy because many healthy foods are expensive. But if there is a WILL, there is a WAY. In this blog, I will show how you can stay healthy even on a frugal budget.
Have a Plan in Place
Without proper planning, it is not possible to save a chunk on your grocery shopping list. Plan in advance (for example, use a weekday to start planning for the next week). Check your kitchen cabinets and fridge to find out what is already there. You will be surprised to discover a lot of foods tucked in the cavity of cabinet or refrigerator. Stay away from impulsive purchase and stick to what you really need.
Stick to Your Plan
Sometimes, being flexible is not GOOD. When you have already prepared a Grocery List, don’t try to stretch it further. Many people stick to their plan when they are at grocery store. Who not knows unplanned purchase spills over your estimated expenses?
Prepare Meal at Home
Home cooked foods are cheaper and healthier. Cooking for your loved ones also makes you happier, does not it? Cooking food for a family of 4 will cost you as much as giving a treat to 1 or 2 people at a restaurant.
For some people, cooking is a hobby and great stress-buster. Many busy professionals use the weekends to prepare meals for the entire weekends. A HOME CHEF is always aware of what is going inside a dish and so can stick to healthier choices.
Buy Whole Foods
Some foods in less processed form are less expensive. Canned beans and a block of processed cheese are cheaper than fried beans and shredded cheese respectively. Most processed cereals are more expensive than whole grains per serving (for example, brown rice, oats etc). Less processed foods are generally sold in a larger quantity and so you can get more servings per package.
Never Shop If You Feel Hungry
If you are a grocery store and feeling hungry, don’t buy anything; otherwise, you will easily get side-tracked. This is because, you will love to eat what is BAD for your health and/or budget. Satiate your hunger with yogurt, a piece of fruit or any healthy snack before going out.
Buy Generic Brands
Some buyers, especially those with a deep pocket, prefer buying reputed national brands. The truth is, generic brands don’t offer any lesser GOODs and moreover, their products are less expensive. However, make sure not to buy a product that is inferior in quality that you are used to.
Avoid Junk Foods
Junk foods are bad for your health and budget. Make a diet chart without junk foods. You will be shocked to see how much you were spending for cookies, crackers, soda, processed foods and pre-packaged meals. Junk foods come loaded with unhealthy ingredients and so offer little nutritional value. On top of that, they are expensive.
Stock up Favorite or Frequently Used Items
Make a list of your favourites and frequently used items and buy a large quantity of them when they are on sale. Make sure these items are not something that will go bad in few days. There is no use of buying something that you will have to throw away in a few days. You can save a significant amount by stocking up on them.
Shop for Seasonal Produce
Local produce is easily available in season and much cheaper. It is also rich in nutrients and taste.
Out-of-season produce changes many hands halfway around the globe before reaching at your store. It is BAD for either Your Budget or Environment. If possible, buy produce by the bag and not by the piece. Even if you more than what you need immediately, store the extra amount in the freeze and incorporate it in your next week’s meal plan.
Buy Cheaper Cuts of Meat
Fish and fresh meat don’t come easy on pocket. Fortunately, there are different cuts of meat and you can buy the cheaper ones. You can use these in casseroles, burritos, stir fries, soups and stews. It also makes financial sense to purchase a large and cheaper cut of meat that you can use in different meals throughout the week.
Eat Less Meat
Replacing meat with other protein-packed foods is a good money-saving idea. Try to use other protein sources such as, eggs, canned fish, hemp seeds, legumes etc. These alternative protein sources are very nutritious, easy to cook and less expensive options to fulfil your required protein intake. Most of them have a long shelf life and so won’t go bad quickly.
Buy Frozen Fruits & Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are usually available in season for a few months a year. As a result, they are expensive. Switch to quick-frozen alternatives. They are as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, easily available throughout the year, usually sold in large bags and come at a cheaper price.
Other Important Points to keep in mind for a budget-friendly healthy eating plan:
- Buy in Bulk
- Use grocery coupons wisely
- Buy foods online
- Use left-over foods
Eating healthy won’t burn a hole in your pocket. There are several ways of healthy eating even if you are on a tight budget. You must have a proper planning in place and strong determination to stick to it. Axe the junk foods, incorporate more healthy alternatives in your list and control your impulsive purchase habits – these make all the differences.