A common myth about eating healthy is that it is too expensive. However, there are many ways to eat healthy and stay within your budget. Here are a few tips to help make your meals inexpensive and nutritious.
- Stay in – Preparing your own meals at home is cheaper and healthier than eating out. Cooking at home allows you to control what goes into your food, so you can prepare dishes that have fewer calories, are lower in sodium, and still taste great.
- Pack it up – Instead of going to the cafeteria, a fast-food restaurant, or that tempting vending machine throughout the day, prepare your lunches and snacks ahead of time. Not only will you save money, but you also have more control over your salt and sugar consumption.
- Make a list, check it twice – Make a shopping list based on the meals and snacks you plan to prepare for the upcoming week, and stick to it to avoid less healthy impulse buys.
- Have a plan – Figure out how much you can comfortably spend on food, and use this number to guide purchases. Everyone’s budget looks different, and healthy foods can be found in every price range. Weekly sales, coupons, buying in season, and choosing store brands over name brands can help cut costs where necessary.
- Fresh and in season – Did you know that fruits and vegetables are the tastiest when they’re in season? They are also less expensive! Check out local farmers markets for fresh, in-season produce. Have a craving for something that isn’t in season? Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are also good choices! For vegetables, look for lower sodium versions without sauces or gravies. Fruits should be packed in water, 100% fruit juice, or light syrup.
- Let’s be real – Keeping healthy foods on hand is important, but only if we actually eat them! Hate the taste of spinach? Don’t buy it. There are lots of other dark green veggie choices. Food waste is wasted money, so be sure to keep fruits and veggies on hand that you know will be eaten. By all means, try a new food or recipe, but be sure to stock up on things you know you enjoy, and sprinkle in a new recipe or food here and there until you’re sure it’s a winner.
- No Hangry shopping – Timing your shopping trip for after you’ve eaten can help you stick to your list. Tempting treats are hard enough to ignore on a full stomach. Keeping a healthy snack handy can help tide you over during any last-minute trips to the grocery store.
Source: Scale Back Alabama