How To Eat Healthy When You’re On A Budget
Written By: Suzanne Kvilhaug
If your breakfast has been a bowl of cereal followed by ramen noodles for dinner, deciding to eat healthier will probably give you serious sticker shock the next time you go grocery shopping. I think one of the reasons people feel that eating healthy is expensive is because they’ve been buying crappy food for so long. And by food, I really mean “food.” Processed stuff that’s not good for anything besides the wallet. With that said, if you splurge on all of the latest healthy food trends and buy organic everything, it can add up and get pricey. As a former food buyer who eats really healthy and loooves to grocery shop, here’s some ideas to help you stay on budget.
1. Store perishable items accordingly
Am I the only one who finds it sad to see food rotting? Just makes me want to turn back the hands of time and consume it regardless if I had no desire to eat it. When it comes to perishables, be mindful of how you store them. Different items call for different storage, so if something starts to go south fast, see if there is a way to make it last longer. Here’s some handy hacks to get you started.
2. When you find something you love, see if it’s cheaper online
Amazon, Thrive, directly from the brand, a random online store you’ve never heard of, look around and see where the best deals are and buy them! I can’t say I do much online shopping because I’m stuck in the 80’s and like I said, I looove to grocery shop, but I know people swear by it. You’ll save time, money and the headache that I hear grocery shopping can cause some people to have.
3. Choose produce that’s in season
When you choose produce that’s in season, it’s going to cost less. And there is your supply and demand lesson of the day...mic drop!
4. Start to grow your own food
How can you not be impressed when someone says they grow their own food?! Or when they have you over for dinner and what you’re eating came from their garden. Talk about feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. So if you have a green thumb or a burning desire to learn how to grow your own food, not only is it boujee, it’s budget-friendly.
5. Check out stores around you and find the best prices
I guess this is common sense, or maybe it’s more like insight from chronicles from a girl who grocery shops for fun. You’d be surprised how different prices can vary from store to store. Some stores are extremely expensive when it comes to snacks but cheaper when it comes to ingredients for meals and vice versa. A lot of people love to say “Whole Paycheck” when it comes to Whole Foods and yes, some things cost way more there, but I also find a lot of things cheapest there. What gives? Who knows? Not I. Pricing inside grocery stores remains a mystery to me but where to find stuff the least expensive doesn’t. It really depends on what you buy and what stores are near you, so the best way to go about figuring it out, in two words, Inspector Gadget.
6. Stop buying lunch at work
Ah, how tempting it is when hunger kicks in to drop $10+ every day at lunch especially if you have access to great options. So long Seamless, hello last night’s meal. Assuming you don’t get sick of things easily, cooking a big enough dinner to bring leftovers can be clutch. If that’s not for you, be mindful about putting things on your grocery list that you can bring to lunch.
7. If you love bananas, capitalize on it
If you love bananas, you’re one of the lucky ones. They’re a super cheap snack, healthy and the epitome of convenience. Plus there’s a lot of different cool things you can do with the peels (who knew?). Add walnuts, cinnamon or honey on top if you’re looking for ideas to keep it interesting.
8. Be smart when it comes to drinking water
Tap water isn’t always safe to drink and buying water over time can add up. Consider buying a water filter, refillable jugs or use a water delivery service. Do the math and see what saves you the most.
9. Don’t go shopping when you’re in a bad mood
Usually you hear “don’t go shopping when you’re hungry” but I think it’s more like don’t go shopping when you’re angry. Hitting the store when you’re in a bad mood could easily turn into money saving goals out the window. When you’re on your A game you are going to make way better decisions.
10. Learn how to make your own snacks
Snacking is probably one of the reasons a lot of people think eating healthy is expensive. When you start to quit packaged snacks you find that the really healthy snacks are way more money. If you want to cut back on spending, one of the best things you can do is learn how to make your own healthy snacks. Besides the obvious choices like fruits and vegetables, consider dates with nut butter, energy bites, and homemade trail mix to name a few.