Knowing you need to eat healthier foods is one thing; incorporating healthy eating into your lifestyle is another. And let’s face it – you don’t want to suddenly see a huge increase in your grocery bills because you’re choosing fresh, whole foods and doing the right thing for your body.
Don’t worry – I have the solution that will help you eat healthy without blowing your budget, and it’s simpler than you think!
First, you need to remember the components you need to create healthy meals with nutrients that your body can use. Protein, healthy fats, vegetables and smart carbs are key. You want to make sure these foods are as close to their original form as possible, because that means they carry the most nutrients and will make your body feel satiated for a longer period of time. If you wonder about the benefits of whole foods over processed foods, you can check out a post from the team at Precision Nutrition that talks about why it’s easy to get hooked on processed foods, and how to break free from that addiction.
Once you’re ready to make healthy eating part of your day-to-day lifestyle, you’ll want to implement it in a way that is sensible and budget-friendly. Here are the three simple steps to eat healthy on a budget:
Buy only what you need. You can achieve this by planning your meals and snacks in advance. Then you’ll know exactly what you need for the week. Check out what’s on sale, and buy in bulk if you can. For example, when pork loin is on sale, you can buy more and slice them into individual pork chops and freeze them. Also, consider which fruit and vegetables are in season, and focus on using those, because they will be cheaper. Once you’ve decided on your meal plan and what you’ll be buying, put it all on a list, and don’t stray from the list once you’re in the store.
Keeping your eye on what’s in season and what’s on sale isn’t the only way to shop smart. You can add different flavours to your meals with different types of seasoning. Many different seasonings can be found at your local bulk food store. You’ll be surprised about the selection of seasonings available, and you’ll save money by buying them in bulk. Also, look for rice, beans, legumes and whole grains in bags or at your bulk food store – they will be very inexpensive this way, instead of purchasing them in boxes.
Shopping local is another good way to get fresh, whole foods at a lower cost. Big box stores have big overhead costs and often charge more for the same product that isn’t fresh or locally produced. Buying local and from smaller stores will give you better quality food and better savings.
Avoid buying ready-made foods, because they will contain preservatives and other things that don’t contribute to healthy eating. Check the labels – if you can read and understand all the ingredients, then you can be confident about what you’ll be eating. If not, leave it in the store.
Learning how to safely and properly store your food will help you make the most of your shopping every week. Clean and chop your vegetables right after your shopping trip and store them in the refrigerator in proper containers. Keep in mind that some vegetables don’t store well in their raw form, but will last a few days if you roast them first. Wash your fruit and store in the fridge as well – you can access the fruit quickly to use with meals or snacks and not need to worry about cleaning it. Separate, wrap and freeze any meat products you don’t plan to use quickly.
When you’re cooking soups or stews, make a large batch; store what can be eaten during the week in the fridge and freeze whatever is leftover to be used later. I have a blog post that shares more food prep tips – check it out here.
With a little planning, smart shopping and proper storage, you’ll be able to eat healthy without spending a fortune. It’s a win-win!
Have questions about eating healthy on a budget? I want to invite you to my Facebook group, Simply Getting Fit and fire away – I’d love to help!