Committing to eating healthier may seem like an intimidating or expensive task, but there are many ways you can fill your plate with nutritious foods without breaking the bank. These tips can help you make better-for-you choices that fit within your lifestyle and grocery budget.
When it comes to saving money and eating healthier, a little meal planning is key. Brown advises picking and building around a theme each week – think chicken or chickpeas. “Buy foods that give you options,” she says. “Canned tomatoes, for instance, can be added to anything. You can make salsa or sauce. If you buy a can of pasta sauce, then that’s all you’ve got. It’s the same for spinach instead of lettuce or flour instead of pancake mix.” When learning how to eat on a budget, it’s wise to choose ingredients that are versatile and work well together.
Shop Seasonal Produce
Not only is produce generally cheaper when it’s in season, but it’s also at its peak in both nutrients and freshness. To get a wider variety of nutritional benefits, shop fruits and veggies of different colors. If you end up with more than you need, simply freeze or can any excess and enjoy it at a later date.
Grab Go-To Items
Want to stock your pantry and fridge with healthy ingredients for cheap, easy meals? In addition to keeping an assortment of vegetables and fruits on hand, there are a few more staple items to pick up, such as eggs, peas and beans. These items are all affordable and incredibly versatile. Brown recommends always buying dried beans. “Those are very, very cheap,” she says. “And soaking them doesn’t take much more time to prepare when you need them. Serious bean people always say you have to get the dried ones anyway,” proving the more affordable option is sometimes actually more gourmet.
Cook at Home
Preparing food at home instead of eating out multiple times a week may be the best way to keep costs – and calories – down. Plus, says Brown, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction that comes from preparing a wonderful meal. “Cooking makes life better. Food makes life better. Every chance to eat is a chance to bring a little joy into your life, and I don’t think that should be wasted.”