Healthy Eating on a Budget

Unless money is no object, eating smarter often requires shopping smarter

Written by Caitlin Schille

Ask people what “eating healthy” means, and you’ll probably get varying answers. Some think a healthy diet involves lots of fancy, organic health food from expensive boutique grocery stores. However, it is very possible to eat a healthy diet on a smaller budget. Let me tell you how.

Avoid pre-packaged foods, especially single-serving pre-packaged foods. While these products are convenient, they are not worth their high cost if you are trying to eat healthy on a budget. Cooking from scratch will save money.

Do your grocery store research. Take some time to figure out what grocery store in your area has the most consistently low prices. This may take some effort and time, but the savings will pay off in the long run. Stores like Aldi and Wal-Mart often have lower prices than competitors.

Organic is not the only way to eat healthy. Foods that are certified “organic” are perhaps ideal, but a non-organic apple is still a fantastic choice for your body. Organic foods are typically more expensive, so eat healthy for less by choosing non-organic fruits and veggies.

Buy non-organic produce that is in-season. As you increase the fresh fruits and veggies you eat, you’ll start to notice “normal” prices for various things, so you’ll know that something is out of season when the price spikes.

If you’re worried about fruits and veggies going bad, freeze them before they are unusable. For best results, chop frozen fruit and veggies into smaller pieces before freezing. Chopped frozen fruit works great for smoothies, and chopped frozen veggies work great for stir fry, steamed veggie sides, etc.

Look for inexpensive staples. Frozen chicken, whole wheat pasta, inexpensive produce, beans, rice, eggs, etc. are nutritious and also won’t break the bank. Keep it simple!

Always buy the store brand instead of the name brand. Odds are, you wouldn’t be able to tell a difference in a blind taste test. Store brands offer high-quality foods and ingredients for a lower price.

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