Eating Healthy on a Budget
Eating healthy on a budget is not as far fetched as it sounds. Incorporating just a few changes each week can help you save your hard earned cash.
The best way to start saving is to plan ahead. I know, easier said than done. Every week I tell myself to make a grocery list and every week I forget. That is until I realized the crazy amount of money I was spending at the grocery store. So I decided to get serious about meal planning. Ok, you might ask, that sounds good, but HOW do you meal plan? First stop, your BFF, Google. There are some great websites out there that do all of the work for you. A favorite is Oh My Veggies. This awesome site charts out healthy dinners for the week AND gives you a shopping list PLUS tips on how to stretch your meals so they last longer. The other cool part – it archives all the old meal plans so if you don’t love the current week, look at past months to see if you like something better. No sign up or subscription required.
Next up, the fun part, shopping! First things first, make a grocery list. This may seem obvious, but how many times has something caught your eye that you really don’t need? Make a list based on your meal plan, and stick to it. Don’t forget to look for local specials and coupons before you head out; even stores like Whole Foods can have great deals if you look for them.
Freeze! Is there a sale on tomatoes and you have an awesome tomato sauce recipe? Buy extra, make in bulk, and freeze – your delicious sauce is ready for the nights you don’t feel like cooking.
When buying snacks keep an eye out for fruits and vegetables that are in season. This helpful site let’s you know what’s in season by month AND by where you live. Seasonal produce will not only be cheaper, but will taste better too.
Buy organic when you can; knowing which fruits and vegetables are the most contaminated by pesticides is really useful, these are called the “Dirty Dozen” and should be organic whenever possible: Apples, Peaches, Nectarines, Bell Peppers, Cherries, Strawberries, Pears, Celery, Grapes, Spinach, Lettuce, Potatoes.
Don't forget about your local farmer’s market, especially in the summer! There is so much beautiful produce and you can score great deals here. Added bonus, most of the items are usually organic.
Tired of all of the cooking? Host a healthy potluck. Pick a theme that lends itself to lots of nutritious options - a vegetarian fiesta or Mediterranean work well. Having your friends do some of the work lets you try new and delicious things without the added cost :)