Healthy Eating Can be Done on a Shoestring Budget!
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, if you prepare most of your healthy meals at home, it’s a lot cheaper to eat this way than to eat out at a fast food restaurant a few times a week.
Most McDonald’s combos now cost more than $10; that’s not so cheap anymore, especially for food with such little nutritional value. Junk food doesn’t keep you feeling full, in fact, it just keeps you craving more of it, so you eat more of it! Cheap healthy eating is possible!
My Top 4 Tips for Cheap, Healthy Eating
Create and follow a grocery list.
Figure out your meals for the week a head of time. Build a list of food items you need to buy for your upcoming meals, that you don’t have on hand. This will help you save money. If you don’t do this, you will end up with 3 bottles of balsamic vinegar – it has happened to us!
Follow your list when you are in the store. This will help stop you from buying those overpriced, calorie-filled, impulse items located at the cash registers. A bag of chips is now $4, that’s not a cheap snack! A bowl of veggies with hummus will cost you less than $2 and it’ll fill you up a lot more! An apple is less than $1, it’s a really cheap snacking alternative.
The great thing about stocking your kitchen with healthy snacks and ingredients, is you’ll be more likely to make healthy choices throughout the week when you’re time crunched.
Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season and more readily available.
We’re heading into the season here in Ontario, when it will soon be less costly to purchase root vegetables (ie. celery root, beets, carrots, turnips, onions). Take advantage of this upcoming season by making more vegetable filled stews and soups.
Apples are about to get very cheap in Ontario. Toss this fruit into your salads, enjoy it with a thin slice of cheddar cheese for a snack, or treat yourself to a homemade apple sauce, or apple crisp.
Regardless of the season, there are always some vegetables and fruits that are cheaper than others. Familiarize yourself with the produce section of your grocery store and you’ll soon realize this.
Try buying fresh produce when it’s in season and freeze it for later. Frozen vegetables and fruits taste great in shakes, soups and stews. This will save you a lot of money throughout the year!
Buy no name products when possible.
No Frill launched their ‘imperfect’ vegetable line, this summer and we took full advantage of it! They sold their ‘less than perfect looking’ veggies in bulk, for a cheaper cost. It doesn’t matter if your zucchinis are the perfect shape, especially when you spiralize or chop them up.
Look at the labels of the dry beans, canned veggies and sauces you’re buying. The no name products often have identical components of the branded products, and they’re usually 30% or more cheaper!
Buy in bulk and batch cook.
For any of ingredients you find yourself using week after week, see if there’s a larger package you can purchase, or head to Costco to pick the product up. We go through steel cut oats, hemp hearts and most nuts quite quickly, so Costco’s bulk packages make a lot of sense for us to purchase.
I love batch cooking because it not only enables me to use the bulk ingredient we buy, but it also saves time! A big batch of stir fry, chili or soup often freezes perfectly. Defrosting one of these meals during our busy weeknights is a perfect way to stay healthy when we have no time to cook.
To Sum it up…
Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. In fact, it can often be done at a cheaper cost than making processed prepackaged meals and it’s definitely less money than eating out! Try following a grocery list, shopping for seasonal produce, eating no name products and buying in bulk to eat healthier for less!