A healthy diet is difficult to achieve at any age. Yes, there are people who truly enjoy eating their fruits and veggies, and for them healthy eating has never been given a second thought. But for the rest of us, ice cream after dinner can be hard to resist. Healthy eating is important for the duration of our lives. As babies our parents made their best attempts at feeding us mashed peas and sweet potatoes. At 10, they tried to limit our french-fry intake. And then when we became parents we did the same for our children, doing our best to save the candy for Halloween. Somewhere in between we started to make food decisions for ourselves. What we have allowed ourselves to enjoy has likely changed over the years. Diets change, exercise routines change, life is chaotic and it’s hard to keep track, fair enough. But as we get older, it is increasingly important to pay attention to what we are putting into our bodies. This doesn’t mean cutting your favorite foods out of your diet, but rather being mindful of what you are purchasing. Healthy eating can be an added challenge on a budget, as healthy and fresh food is often more expensive than pre-packaged non-organic food. But there are ways to trick the expensive health-food market to ensure that you are getting all your added nutrients, without breaking the bank.
The most difficult part about changing your diet is that you really are breaking a habit and then quickly trying to rebuild a new one. Bad habits are difficult to break and good habits are harder to create - but it’s possible with some determination. Perhaps you have been eating in one way for years, maybe for your entire life, and all of a sudden you want to change. It may seem challenging but your diet is a habit and habits can be modified. A habit can be formed in 30 to 60 days. When starting a new diet or utilizing budget-friendly tips, it’s important to remain determined. Sticking with a meal plan will eventually become your normal habit. Purchasing store brand foods will also become a habit. If you continue to follow the diet you want and purchase your food in the way that you want, these habits will eventually become ingrained into your everyday life. Before long, you won’t even realize that you once did lived a different way.
Plan Meals Ahead of Time
Planning your meals is essential to saving money at the grocery store. Pick one day per week to plan your meals for the upcoming week, and then make a grocery list. Check your fridge and cabinets to see what you already have so you only buy what you really need. Stick to the grocery list, and don’t go to the store while hungry. If you go grocery shopping while hungry, you are more likely to buy way more than you want or need, and you are more likely to go for the unhealthy processed food you are craving in the moment. Also, make your way around the perimeter of the store before heading towards the middle. The perimeter of the store is where whole foods are usually located, and you will fill up your shopping cart with that food before eyeing the processed foods in the aisles.
Another money-saving supermarket trick is to plan your shopping days around store sales. Consider shopping around what is on sale, and if your local grocery store offers a savings or loyalty card, be sure to sign up.
Go for Store Brand
Store brand grocery items are often pretty much exactly the same as the name-brand. If you put them side by side and did a blind taste test, you probably would not be able to tell the difference, and the grocery store brand is way cheaper!
Budget-Friendly Healthy Eating Tips: Economical Fruits and Veggies
Bananas, apples, oranges, cabbage, sweet potatoes, dark leafy-green vegetables, green peppers, and carrots are some of the most inexpensive fruits and vegetables you can buy. And they’re delicious and healthy!
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is a great way to save money. Bulk purchases typically cost more. If you know you will use a lot of one product, like pasta or rice, buy it in large portions and store what you will not use immediately. You can also buy meats, fruits, and vegetables in bulk and freeze what you don’t immediately need in portion-sized bags.
Convenience Costs More
It may seem easier to buy pre-cut chicken or pre-grated cheese, but doing a little bit of extra work will save you some money. You can buy a whole chicken for less money and cut it into pieces yourself, shred your own cheese, or chop and wash heads of lettuce.
It can be tempting to purchase unhealthy food. Processed food is typically far less expensive that whole food, and with bright packaging that highlights the nutritional value of each product, it can be hard to look away. While certain processed foods might hold more nutritional value than others, at the end of the day it’s still going to be worse for you that unprocessed food. Allow yourself a treat here and there, but don’t let this food sneak its way into your daily diet.
Stick to It
Eating well does not have to break the bank. There are many ways to eat healthy on a tight budget, just stay away from the classic grocery store traps. Stick to your plan and your budget by planning ahead, thinking smarty, and purchasing food that will help you feel good. Not only does junk food cost twice as much, but eating too much junk food can lead to increased medical and drug costs, and can reduce your ability to work effectively. You don’t have to put a price on your health, your body and the bank will thank you later.