Have you ever heard someone say it costs too much to eat healthy? If you have a specific food budget and are trying to eat better or just overall healthier, there are ways to make the most of your food budget.
10 Tips to Help Make the Most of your Food Budget
*Plan and make a list. Try to plan your meals for the week and prepare a list. Look in your pantry and fridge to see what you have and what you need. Making soups or casseroles are good for leftovers for lunch or to freeze for future meals.
*Compare prices. Check around several stores or online to get the best prices. I go to the same grocery store every week but I also go to Trader Joes and Whole Foods every couple of months and stock up on favorite items. Coupons help as well. It’s also worthwhile to check sales or specials and plan your meals around that.
*Look at the “unit price“. At the grocery store, look at the unit price located on the shelf below the item. I tend to do this most with paper products, but it’s helpful with any food item. With all the different sizes, weights, and brands of products, you can easily save money by checking the unit price.
*Bulk foods. Generally, it is cheaper to buy foods in bulk. One downside though is having enough space! Larger bags of veggies or fruits that you know you will use is a good choice. I always get large bags of frozen blueberries since I use them daily. One thing I’m leery of is buying nuts or grains from bulk bins because I’m never sure how fresh they are.
*Purchase in season. Buying vegetables and fruits in season are definitely less expensive and taste better. Check out this seasonal food guide. Also buying local is usually cheaper as well.
*Beware of convenience foods. It’s tempting to buy food pre-cut, seasoned, and ready to go. These convenience foods cost more than preparing them yourself. Frozen meals, pre-cut veggies and instant rice are nice and easy, but if you take the time to make or prepare your own you’ll save some money.
*Buy foods that are cheaper in general. Some foods are just cheaper all year long. Using beans for your source of protein in replace of meat, carrots or potatoes for your vegetables, and apples or bananas for your fruits are great options.
*Prepare large batches. Make large batches of your favorites to use all week. Many people do this on Sundays, prepare big batches of rice, quinoa, or roasted veggies. Or when making soup or stews, double the recipe and freeze individual servings for quick lunches.
*Liven up leftovers. Get creative with your leftovers. Find new ways to use them, such as throw veggies in a soup, use leftover chicken to make a salad, or use rice for pudding or eat it for breakfast.
*Dine out strategically. Go out to lunch instead of dinner, drink only water with your meal, skip the appetizers, share a meal (there’s usually enough for two!), or order a couple of sides for your meal.
If you ever feel you can’t afford to eat healthy, I hope these tips will bring awareness to the many ways to save money. Although we always want the best deal, keep in mind that we still want to purchase quality items with optimal nutritional value.
Do you have any tips to add? Please share!
(Source: Ace Fitness Nutrition Manual)