Healthy eating is one of those things that many people strive toward, but often come up short. It can be a challenge to change your eating habits to embrace healthier items. Some healthy foods are also more expensive than their refined, processed, and easier to find counterparts. For these reasons, many people who try to improve their diet simply give up after a while. However, healthy eating doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are six ways to eat healthier for less.
There are many diet plans out there that promise a significant amount of weight loss by using their pre-made foods and snacks to replace your normal meals. Whether or not these plans work, they are expensive. Your food budget will end up being significantly higher than it would be even if you just chose frozen meals from your grocery store. If you want to eat better on a budget, avoid expensive meal subscription diet plans.
2. Prioritize Your Spending
With the tough economy and high cost of foods, many people need to stick to a tight budget. This can be hard at the grocery store when you are trying to buy healthier foods. A good way to keep your spending in line is to prioritize your shopping list and decide which foods are worth a larger price tag.
For example, when you are considering organic produce, there are some fruits and veggies that are worth choosing organic as you’ll be avoiding lots of chemicals and pesticides. With other produce, there isn’t as much difference between organic and conventional. Do some research to determine the foods that are worth the extra cost.
3. Shop the Freezer Case
Most people associate healthy eating with fresh ingredients, and especially fresh produce. However, fresh fruits and vegetables (especially organic and out of season choices) can be expensive. For many items, especially vegetables, it’s more economical to buy flash-frozen options instead of fresh. You can easily find several organic choices for frozen produce. For certain veggies, frozen varieties are even better nutritionally, as the frozen ones were harvested and frozen at exactly the right time instead of sitting on shelves for months.
4. Eat Less Meat
If you eat meat as part of your new healthy diet, you know that budgeting for fresh meat can be tough. Seafood is often even more expensive. However, you can help your budget by spending wisely. Stock up on frozen bulk options where you can. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are staples of a healthy diet, and you can often find large quantities on sale in the freezer case.
You should also consider adding a vegetarian meal at least one day a week. Embracing Meatless Mondays not only helps your budget, but encourages you to eat a more varied diet. Additionally, choosing a vegetarian meal once a week helps you eat more vegetables, another healthy goal.
5. Plan Your Meals
Nothing will destroy your healthy eating goals and your budget faster than going for takeout frequently. One way to keep your restaurant trips to a minimum is to plan out your meals. There are many ways to do this. Some people plan their meals for the coming week. Other people use recipe box subscriptions. There are even people who prep, cook, and freeze all meals for the coming month. Find a method that works for you. When you have your meals planned out, it drastically cuts down on trips to restaurants and calls to the pizza delivery guy.
6. Choose Healthier Premade Foods
Even if part of your healthy living goal is to cook from scratch often, there are still some things that are worth buying premade. For salad dressings and condiments, it costs less and takes far less time to buy premade rather than make from scratch. Fortunately, there are many healthy options on the store shelves. For example, Hampton Creek offers several flavors of vegan mayo, along with high-quality salad dressings and baking mixes. These are healthier alternatives to traditional brands.
Learning how to eat healthy on a budget is a long process. Some weeks life just happens and you’ll live on takeout and pizza delivery. Don’t give up, just start fresh next week. You may need to try several different ways of meal planning and grocery shopping before you find the one that works best for you. However, it’s well worth the time and effort. With practice and persistence, you’ll become a master at planning, prepping and cooking healthy foods all while sticking to your budget.