Let’s face the facts: food isn’t cheap. Sure, you can hit McDonald’s or Wendy’s and feed yourself for a few bucks. But if you want quality meals that are healthy, you’ll have to reach deep into your pockets. Given that, this article will list a few ways to make your dollars (or euros, pounds, etc.) go a bit further so you can still eat healthy without breaking the bank.
For starters, avoid all packaged and processed foods in the supermarket. Not only are these loaded with sodium and other unnatural, disease-causing preservatives, they also tend to be more expensive.
Stick to whole foods such as meat, chicken, eggs, fish, etc. And if you want to stretch your budget a little more, opt for frozen instead of fresh. Typically, the former are cheaper. Not always, but most of the time so be sure to compare.
Next, eat out as little as possible. Now, I know it’s convenient to grab that bagel or muffin in the morning and head off to work. It saves a lot of time and I’m sure you’re a busy person. But those costs can add up quick. And again, most of the ready foods you’ll buy aren’t good for you.
That also goes for dining out at restaurants. Yes, you can get quality meals but nothing beats the meal you put together – in your home – with your own two hands (i.e. knowing full well exactly what goes in it).
Another thing you can do to eat healthy on a budget is to buy in bulk. You can get some amazing deals at places like Costco when you purchase large quantities of meat. Just load up the trunk, stick it all in the freezer, and thaw out throughout the week. And again, stick to whole foods because there are plenty of “nutritional landmines” in that store as well.
Now, one of my favorite ways to save money is to shop at local farmers’ markets. And while this tends to be more expensive than the above-mentioned options, it’s worth it on many levels.
For one, you’re getting the freshest, healthiest food money can buy. You’re also helping your local community. Finally, you’re doing the animals a huge favor. Small farmers (in contrast to CAFOs) tend to treat animals humanely. So, vote against animal cruelty with your wallet and maybe one day these practices will change.
Of course, when I mention farmers’ markets and CSA’s to city folk, many of them tell me there are none around. Not so, my friend. There are thousands all over the country – surely there’s one close to you. And you can find it easily by going to http://www.localharvest.org and doing a simple search.
One final way to eat healthy on a budget (one that can also be a great hobby) is to start your own garden. If you’ve never done this, you don’t know what you’re missing. There’s nothing like eating a fresh salad made with your own lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes. It’s multiple times cheaper than buying veggies at the store and the taste difference is night and day.
Now, there are many more ways to save on your grocery bill but the above tips are a good start. Remember, eat whole, natural foods and avoid processed junk. And like with other consumables, keep an eye out for sales and deals. Stock up when food is priced down and you can eat healthy all the time without breaking the bank.