Food can be expensive. There’s no doubt about that. However, it doesn’t mean that only healthy food is expensive. Surprisingly, junk foods are costlier at most times than healthy options. You may not agree with this if you’ve never taken time to consider healthy options that you can take on a budget. It all boils down to two key things; preparation and decision-making.
You have to prepare to only buy healthy options. You also need to be decisive on what you plan to buy on a budget. This not only saves you money but your health too. The primary source of defense for your body is the food you eat. So, the healthier your options are, the healthier your body is likely to be. Having said that; here are 10 steps to eating healthy on a budget:
Step 1 – Create and Stick to a Healthy Meal Plan
We’ve already mentioned planning as a critical point. To get you started, you need to establish your budget. Out of it, make a grocery list that features healthy food items. Ensure that it’s indicated how much you are willing to spend on every item on your grocery list. You should never visit a store on a budget if you are not decided on what to get.
Though it’s tempting to buy fancy foodstuffs when you visit a store, it’s paramount that you stick to your meal plan. In case you are left with some money after you’ve bought everything on your grocery list, you can buy the fancy stuff. But make sure they are not unhealthy.
Step 2 – Buy what’s Seasonal
Healthy foods, more so fruits, have seasons in which they are abundant in the market. This forces their prices to go down and thus affordable for someone on a budget. For example, berries, apples, and apples are normally in season during the summer. So, they are likely to be cheaper than in any other season.
On other seasons, fruits like oranges and bananas may be a cheaper option. It’s argued that foods bought in season tend to contain optimum nutrients and their flavor is desirable. This might be true considering that they are not transported or stored a lot as they are available locally.
Step 3 – Prepare Your Healthy Meals
Ordering a healthy meal from a restaurant or a meal service may be expensive. However, preparing the same meal at home may be cheaper. You are allowed to shop around for ingredients on a discount. If some ingredients are left after preparing your healthy meal, you can keep them for future use. Moreover, you can economize on expensive options like meat, butter, and spices.
Step 4 – Look for Sales and Discounts
In most stores, there are occasional sales for healthy foods. You just have to keep your eyes open when you visit them. You can also ask for the offers to save yourself some time. Often, sales are offered around holiday seasons. So, it’s a nice time to do your shopping. You should also look for discounts. Some come in the form of vouchers and others in the form of coupons. Both options will guarantee you considerable discounts. You can inquire about them at the stores that you visit.
Step 5 – Grow Your Vegetables
If you have a kitchen garden at home, it’s time you make the most out of it. Start by planting your vegetables to consume at home. This will help to cut cost on the grocery. You can plant spinach, kales, onions, and any other vegetable you prefer. The advantage is that you can decide on what seeds varieties to use and what pest control methods to apply. Simply, you are in control of your yields.
Step 6 – Buy Economical Healthy Foods
Some greens and fruits are more economical than others. Therefore, you should focus on them as they also promise beneficial nutrients similar to what you find in costly options. For example, buying cabbage and kales may be more economical than buying lettuce and broccoli. Similarly, buying bananas and oranges may be more economical than buying grapes and apples. If you are on a budget, you have to do comparisons whenever you shop.
Step 7 – Substitute Meat with Cheaper but Healthy Alternatives
You don’t have to eat meat all the time just because you want some proteins on your plate. Meat is expensive and thus may mess up your budget. Instead, you should go for plant-based alternatives like legumes. Options to consider include beans and peas. They are rich in essential amino acids that you need for muscle boost and bodybuilding. You can also consider animal-based alternatives like canned fish and eggs. Like legumes, these options are also amino acid-rich and very economical.
Step 8 – Shop in Bulk
Generally, shopping in bulk saves you money. You just have to ensure that you don’t waste your money on foods that would go bad easily. Some of the best options to consider are frozen vegetables, cereals, and legumes. If you have the money to buy them in bulk, don’t hesitate to do it right away. It’s a great strategy for saving on your monthly grocery expenditure. Most stores offer you a discount when you shop in bulk. Others allow you to earn points that you can redeem for free foods.
Step 9 –Put Your Freezer into Use
A lot of times, we ignore the freezer without realizing how much it can save us financially. When you shop in bulk, especially healthy food items on sale or those in season, you should learn to store them in the freezer for future use. This is what a freezer is meant for. You don’t have to keep your healthy foods for a month but you can do it for days or a week. This ensures that they don’t go bad, translating to financial loss. The nutrients are also locked and preserved.
Step 10 – Shop Store Brands
Lastly, you should check out healthy food items that have store labels. Most stores usually put items that have their labels next to other brands. The difference is that theirs is mostly cheap. So, make sure you keep watch. You can also inquire from the store attendants.
From now onwards, you don’t have to waste money on unhealthy diets. You don’t even to struggle to buy some mouthwatering options that you know are not healthy. Just resolve to eat healthily and make it customary in the family. This will save you money and improve your general wellbeing.