How to Start Eating Healthy on a Budget

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Eating healthy is expensive.

It gets complicated when you want to eat healthy but you’re on a budget. How do you start? What foods should you be looking at? Is it really possible? Yes! 

There’re countless tips, benefits, and plans when it comes to eating healthier. Here’re three primary steps to help you stretch your food dollars without going off budget: 

  • Planning way ahead before you shop for your groceries
  • Purchasing your groceries at the cheapest price you can find
  • Preparing delicious food at the lowest cost

Planning way ahead before you shop for your groceries

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Before you start buying more than you need or disregarding the leftovers at home, you need to start planning. Tackle and utilise what you have first. This means planning your meals with your leftovers for the week.

Use leftover food creatively that brings out your appetite. For instance, stir fry your leftover meats and put it into your next day’s garden salad. Or take last night’s steamed salmon and stir fry it into a mixed dish with greens and red peppers. Planning ahead helps you to take control towards eating healthy. This is also an excellent way to ensure you’re preparing with food that’s in your fridge to clear space and minimise waste before heading to the store.

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Plan on what you want to get, plan on what you actually need, plan on what you already have with you at home. Think of what exactly to add into the stews or stir-fried goodies that you might want to prepare on your off-days. If you do not like eating the same food again and again, combine it with other healthy ingredients such as beans, brown rice, or oats. They’re inexpensive and can cook up a delicious meal completely on its own as well! 

Once you’re done with your leftovers, plan on buying food that you like eating. Don’t force yourself to go healthy by preparing and eating food you dislike. This does not help you in any way and could result in you spending more than you need. Do your research. There’re many healthier alternatives that comes with a reasonable price, taste good and beneficial to your health. Some examples of healthy foods are broccoli, salmon, mackerel, spinach, cabbage, sweet potatoes or avocados. 

Purchasing your groceries at the cheapest price you can find

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Going to a couple of grocery stores to get the best price in a product might seem too much of a workout on your off-days.

A simple way to get the best deals is to check out the local newspapers for discounted or sale items that you can work with. There’re usually coupons you can cut out to save some extra dollars for the more expensive items such as seafood or red meats. You can also opt for less expensive cuts of meat.  

Do your cooking homework, seek advices or borrow books to find out the best form of these cuts.

When you are at the store, you might want to ask for a loyalty or rewards card which can come in handy to save costs for future buys. 

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Once, you’ve done this a couple of times – you might be familiar with the “quantity” or “unit” price of a given product. As we all know, similar products are usually displayed near, if not beside each other on the shelf especially for different brands of the same good.

So, do your math and do some small calculations to identify perfect substitutes for goods at a more economical price.

Most of the time, buying in bulk is always the cheaper option – hence, try to round up your friends or family to get products in bulk. There’re family options in grocery stores where you can purchase family-sized or other economical packages.

For food products such as salmon, it’s always cheaper to buy the whole fish (which can weigh up to 3kg) and then ask the fishmonger to split it into different bags for family and friends to share the cost. 

At different times of the year, some goods can be cheaper than others, such as fruits or even vegetables. Seasonal goodies can help you lower your cost of grocery shopping and, best of all, you can get them at their freshest! Also, sometimes these grocery stores or supermarkets offer goods which’re unripe and usually a cheaper option. It’s a good idea to get these because they can last for months if you’re not going to use them all at once.

Preparing delicious food at the lowest cost

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We also know that there’re certain goods in the supermarket which are cheap and available all year round – these would be your greens such as potatoes, eggs, carrots, whole grain, or bananas. Try incorporating them into your everyday meals as they’re healthy food options with high protein and fiber.

In this aspect, also try to cook once (like on your off days) and then keep them in containers and freeze them for the week. You will need to prepare a list of items you will want to have and then prepare a huge batch of food to be cooked for that day. Remember, as always, planning is key!

There are countless ways to get healthy with your food on a budget without wasting them and trying out new healthy recipes. This involves bringing your meals to the office or even just having them for snacks.

Have fun, and always keep in mind that throwing your food away means throwing your dollars away, so try not to do that and more importantly, eat smartly!

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