Updated: Sep 30
A question I get asked quite a bit involves eating well on a budget. It can seem overwhelming. Food in general is going up in price, and healthy foods tend to be a bit more expensive than processed junk foods.
So, how do you eat healthy and still stay on budget? Here are three tips that I use with my clients (and myself!) to help balance the desire to eat well and not break the bank...
1) Mindset. If you are simply looking at dollars, it will always be cheaper to pick up junk food. But, if you think in terms of value, you will soon realize that you get what you pay for. If food is the building block for good health, do you want the cheapest, most processed foods? The answer is probably no. I do realize that there are some budget limitations, but I also realize that sometimes it helps to take a closer look and prioritize healthy eating. Maybe cut something else out of the budget? Consider it an investment in your future health. Whatever your budget is, make sure you are using it wisely. Make every dollar count toward better health!
2) Leverage the discount stores in your area. Compare prices at different places. I find that my local Aldi has the lowest prices on many of the healthy things I buy. When I make my meal plan and shopping list for the week, I check Aldi first to see what I can find there. I am a huge fan of the local health food store and of Farmer's Markets, also, but staying in a tight budget can sometimes require taking advantage of the best deals at the discount stores for things that are available there. You can use the health foods stores for items you can't get anywhere else. Places like Costco and Sam's can sometimes offer savings when buying in bulk, but not always. Get our your calculator and do the math. It's not always a deal. Those stores can be a great place to stock up on some things, however. Also, when you find a sale, buy in bulk if you can. I will find sales on grass fed beef at Aldi occasionally, and I stock up.
3) Make the most of each meal you prepare. I find it saves money to make sure you are eating leftovers, and using all of what you buy. For example, if you like chicken, cook the whole chicken. This will give you a meal or two from the bird and then you can use the leftovers to make bone broth and boil off leftover meat to use in a soup or stew. That's a great way to stretch a budget. Or, use things like lentils or beans mixed in with chilis or soups to increase bulk and cut cost. These things are high in fiber and generally very healthy. If you are on a very low carbohydrate diet, this might not work, but for many people it's a great way to stretch the budget and incorporate healthy items like beans and lentils.
I hope you found this to be helpful and you feel inspired to make the most of your food budget so that you and your family are eating well!
To your health,