14 Aug Eight Tips To Eat Healthy, On A Limited Budget
In 2017 vegetables continue to be on the rise on our dinner plate as more and more animal proteins and heavy side dishes make way for more vegetarian options. According to Pinterest, people are moving away from “emotional” comfort food like mac-and-cheese to dishes that reflect more healthful considerations. The word “veggies” in its comfort food searches rose 336% in 2016, while words such as “lasagne”, “macaroni” and “Stroganoff” were off by 69%, 55% and 50%, respectively. This means that people are likely to order mashed cauliflower instead of rice and pasta, or go for the healthier pizza with vegetables instead of four cheeses.
You may want to make a change in your life too, or have just started to live the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, and find it difficult to eat healthy on a limited budget. Don’t worry! There’s hope! Here are eight tips to eat healthy without spending much.
1. Plan Your Meals
When it comes to saving money at the grocery store, planning is essential. Use one day each week to plan your meals for the upcoming week. Then, make a grocery list of what you need.
Also, make sure to scan your fridge and cabinets to see what you already have. There are usually a lot of foods hidden in the back that can be used. Only plan to purchase what you know you’re going to use, so that you don’t end up throwing away a lot of what you buy.
2. Stick To Your Grocery List
Once you’ve planned your meals and made your grocery list, stick to it.
It’s very easy to get side-tracked at the grocery store, which can lead to unintended, expensive purchases. As a general rule, try to shop the perimeter of the store first. This will make you more likely to fill your cart with whole foods.
The middle of the store often contains the most processed and unhealthy foods. If you find yourself in these aisles, look to the top or bottom of the shelves rather than straight ahead. The most expensive items are usually placed at eye level.
3. Always Check The Ingredients Lists
Always check the ingredients list of the item of your choice to make sure you’re not getting a product of lower quality. You’d be surprised to see the difference in sugar of one item compared the one from a different brand; from cereal to pasta. It’s a quick win!
If a product screams “Pick me, I am the healthier option”, you should definitely check the back, because these products are often worse; from whole-grains to
4. Don’t Eat Out
Cooking at home is much cheaper than eating out. Make it a habit to cook at home, rather than eating out at the last minute.
Generally, you can feed an entire family of 4 for the same price as buying food for one or two people at a restaurant. Some people find it best to cook for the entire week on the weekends, while others cook one meal at a time. By cooking yourself, you also gain the benefit of knowing exactly what is in your food.
5. Cook Large Portions and Use Your Leftovers
Cooking large meals can save you both time and money. Leftovers can be used for lunches, in other recipes or frozen in single-portion sizes to be enjoyed later on.
6. Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry
If you go to the grocery store hungry, you are more likely to stray from your grocery list and buy something on impulse. When you’re hungry, you often crave foods that aren’t good for you or your budget.
Try to grab a piece of fruit, or another healthy snack before you go to the store.
7. Stock Up on Sales
If you have favorite products or staples that you use frequently, you should stock up on them when they’re on sale. If you’re sure that it’s something you’ll definitely use, you may as well stock up and save a little money.
Just make sure that it will last for a while and won’t expire in the meantime. It will not save you any money to buy something you’ll end up throwing out later on.
8. Buy Fresh Produce That is in Season and Freeze It
Local produce that is in season is generally cheaper. It is also usually at its peak in both nutrients and flavor. Produce that is not in season has often been transported halfway around the world to get to your store, which is not good for either the environment or your budget.
Also, buy produce by the bag if you can. That is usually a lot cheaper than buying by the piece.
If you buy more than you need, or find a good deal, consider stocking up.