Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget
Many people believe that healthy eating comes with a hefty price tag. While some high-end grocers may be more expensive, there are many cost-effective ways to incorporate foods your body needs for proper nutrition into your diet. We are pleased to share five tips to help you save your waistline and wallet, while improving your overall health. Check out these ideas for preparing healthy budget meals you and your family will all enjoy.
1. Choose Wisely. Fruits and vegetables are staples of a healthy diet. Choose in-season and frozen options to reap nutritional benefits and savings. Beans are an easy and affordable protein substitution for higher-fat meats. For meat, check for price per pound deals and consider buying larger portions and freezing what you don’t use. Ask the butcher for lean and affordable cuts. A simple way to trim the fat from meat is to literally trim the fat. Cut it off before cooking to save unneeded calories. One of the easiest ways to cut down on expenses and reduce high-calorie, unhealthy meals is to eat at home instead of a restaurant or fast food joint. Eating healthy on a budget is much easier done at home.
2. Shop Savvy. Discount grocers and farmers’ markets can offer healthy options at the fraction of the cost of niche stores and premium name brands. In fact, some discount grocers are owned by the same companies as upscale grocers. Do your research and you might be shocked to find that many of the same products are carried in sister stores with different brand names. Be a smart shopper, and don’t let labels and prestige be a hindrance to eating healthy on a budget.
3. Compose and Clip. Did you know that grocery shoppers who plan before they visit the store can save hundreds of dollars on food purchases every year? Making a list – and sticking to it – cuts down on those impulse buys that you really don’t need. Check the weekly advertisements of the grocers in your area to find the best deals on healthy options. Cutting out or printing coupons can also help with savings. Making things even easier, many grocers now have their own apps that let you make a shopping list, “clip” electronic coupons and view their advertised sales. It’s a convenient and simple savings tool right in the palm of your hand and makes eating healthy on a budget easier than ever before!
4. Repurpose and Reuse. Leftovers don’t have to be boring! When planning healthy budget meals, be creative and think about how you can cook once, eat twice. For example, whole chickens are usually a cheaper protein source that can extend into multiple meals. Bake the chicken with veggies for dinner one night, then use the leftovers for the next night’s meal. From tacos to stir-fry to soup, the possibilities are endless! Be imaginative to stretch your dollars as far as possible.
5. Share and Store. Going in with a close friend or family member to purchase discounted bulk items or high-priced food items helps keep your spend and unnecessary food waste down. If you don’t have anyone to share bulk items with, after you purchase large portions of proteins or perishable items, break them down into small individual quantities. Freeze individual packs of food in freezer safe storage bags to allow for fast and easy food preparation when you’re ready to unthaw and cook the item.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Please always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Programs and services are subject to change. Managed Health Network, LLC (MHN) is a subsidiary of Health Net, LLC. The MHN companies include Managed Health Network and MHN Services, LLC. Health Net and Managed Health Network are registered service marks of Health Net, LLC or its affiliates. All rights reserved.