- Plan your meals (snacks too). Plan your weekly meals out in your calendar or meal planner if you have one. Also, plan out snacks. This will give you an idea of how much of certain items you need to buy and if recipes can borrow from one another.
- Stick to your list. If you’re going to eat healthy on a budget you MUST write a grocery list and you absolutely have to stick to it. Not having a list (or not sticking to the one you’ve written) will cause you to either wreck your diet or go way over budget.
- Learn to read price labels. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know how to read a pricing label. Look on the tag for the “price per ounce.” If you make your decisions number you’ll get the most for your money.
- Shop “around” the store. Save money by avoiding the middle aisles. They are usually the ones with the junk food anyway.
- Calculate while you shop. If you’re like me and have a strict food budget you already do this. Carry a calculator with you while you shop and add things up as they are put into your cart. Don’t go over your budget.
- Cook at home. Stop eating out! Many restaurants do offer healthier options now but they’re almost always more expensive. You’ll save money cooking at home.
- Eat leftovers. Another huge part of learning to eat healthy on a budget is eating leftovers. Make a large batch of soup and eat on it throughout the week. You can use the government’s website for proper proportion amounts.
- Don’t shop hungry. If you go to the store hungry you’ll buy more food than you need and you’ll buy food that isn’t diet friendly. Just don’t do it.
- Buy generic brands. Don’t be a brand snob. Buying generic brands can save you tons of money and still help you shed the weight you want to lose.
- Don’t buy junk food. You’ll save money while eating healthy by simply not buying any more junk food. Skip the chips, candy and pizza and cash them in for healthier, cheaper snacks like carrots and apples.
- Look for sales and stock up. Keep an eye out for sales on certain items (especially meats) and stock up when you can. You can prepare and freeze or raw freeze many items.
- Check out Trader Joe’s (and Aldi). Trader Joe’s has some good prices on bulk items like nuts. Aldi, on the other hand, has great deals on many health-food items. Check out this article about Aldi’s prices. Costco is also a great place to shop if you want to buy in bulk. Check out Costco’s prices here. They also have great customer service, a terrific return policy and great automotive products. I love them.
- Buy cheaper meat or substitute proteins. Instead of buying expensive meat opt for chicken or ground turkey. If you want to cut cost even more you can substitute your protein intake with beans or soy (much cheaper than most meat).
- Pack your lunch. Instead of heading to lunch with everyone at the office, pack your lunch. This will keep you control of what you eat and the cost of what you eat.
- Have already-made meals ready. You can make meals ahead of time and freeze them for an easy reheated meal. Check out these awesome recipes on Buzzfeed.
- Use coupons. There are people who actually make money shopping by using coupons. While you don’t have to be that extreme, you can benefit from coupons and save quite a bit by using them. You can find them online or use a coupon app.
You can eat healthy on a budget without much effort. Both saving money and adopting a healthy lifestyle both take time but you can do both at the same time!
Photo: with wind
Meet Amanda! She is an editor and writer extraordinaire with a passion for sharing information that helps people and communities to better themselves in some way. As you may be able to tell by her work on Plunged in Debt, she loves keeping up with celebrities and, more importantly, what they are doing with their wealth.
She has written for a number of other online publications and you can also catch her on our sibling sites: Saving Advice, Budget and the Bees, and Our Debt Free Family. In addition to writing online, she also freelances for local newspapers in her hometown of Charlotte, NC.