Contrary to what you may have heard, it is fairly easy to eat healthy on a budget. You don’t need to be able to buy all organic products or shop exclusively at overpriced health food stores to stay healthy. In all actuality, buying fresh produce can be cheaper than expensive packaged foods, leaving room for purchases such as organic milk. Here are several tried and true tips to get you started.
-Shop at local fresh markets and farmers markets. Find your favorite, and get into the habit of buying produce from there. Not only can be a far cheaper option, but there is a greater chance that the produce is grown locally versus shipped, making it at least fresher. Produce can be washed in a vinegar/water mix to clean well, so don’t feel pressure to buy all organic on a strict budget.
-Find a local meat market. Stock up on grassfed beef and organic chicken. Meat is something that you do want to buy high quality, and you will find it cheaper at a market. Stock up when budget allows so you will have a supply available in your freezer.
-See if there’s a discount outlet in your area. Buy products such as canned beans, rice, dry pasta, salad dressings, and pasta sauce there. They won’t always have the same items, but you can get a great deal on staples.
-Meal plan, but be flexible. Be open to different cuts of meat or vegetables other than what you were thinking depending on price. Additionally, only buy seasonal produce! Produce will be cheaper and fresher.
– Buy the last few items you cannot find at these places at a regular grocery store that you know has good deals, and clip coupons when possible. Skip the packaged snack foods and learn to eat vegetables and fruit for snacks and prepare simple, balanced, and nourishing meals.
-Be aware that eating healthy may require more trips to the grocery store. Learn how much produce you and your family can consume before it goes bad in attempt to save on gas. Plan a certain day in which you grocery shop rather than buying ingredients for one meal, which is not only more gas money but can lead to you buying more expensive foods out of convenience. It doesn’t take many trips like this before you realize that you’ve gone over budget.
Bottom line: Buy large amounts of fresh, local produce, quality meat, and staples, all of which will lend themselves to many healthy meals.