Many believe that healthy eating is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. It takes a bit of planning, but with a few tips and tricks, you and your family can have healthy meals for less. Here are few ways:
- Shop at dollar stores. Dollar stores typically have a variety of options to choose from. Depending on the store, you can even find meat and produce. If these aren’t available, you’ll usually be able to at least find bags of dried beans and rice. Which brings me to the next tip.
- Buy bags of dried beans and rice. Depending on your family size, just one bag could last you up to a week. Both beans and rice are healthy, versatile, and filling, so they make a perfect budget friendly addition to your grocery list. For maximum savings, get them at dollar store whenever possible, as they’ll be more expensive at grocery stores.
- Shop at ethnic food markets. These alternative grocery stores usually have produce for a much lower price than regular stores. You can also find new and interesting ingredients to try in your healthy meals. An online search like “ethnic markets near me” will lead you to stores in your area.
- Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk is usually less expensive in the long run. If you have a membership to a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club, compare the price of a bulk items to the price you would be paying for the same amount of food at another store. Also, be sure to only buy items that have a longer shelf life or can be frozen to avoid wasting food (and money).
- Cook in bulk. Cooking in bulk saves money in nearly the same way buying in bulk does. However, it also helps you avoid spending extra money on unhealthy food in situations where you can’t or don’t want to cook, such as days when your schedule is packed. You can even freeze some of it so it lasts long.
- Freeze food. Whether it is cooked food or ingredients, freeze it if can be frozen and you don’t anticipate using it before it expires. This will prevent it from spoiling before you get to use/eat it. You can buy vegetables pre-frozen or buy them fresh and freeze them yourself.
- Buy generic. Whenever possible, avoid buying brand name items, which are almost always more expensive. Generic brands are typically the same quality as brand name products, so you won’t be sacrificing quality for a lower price.
- Make a grocery list. Going in with a plan will help you buy only what you need. This is especially important when you are eating healthy on a budget. List only the items you need, and the quantity of each if possible, and stick to it.
- Make a meal plan. In order to make the best grocery list, you need a meal plan. When you plan out your meals, you can figure out the exact ingredients you need, which will make it as easy as possible to stay on track. It will also save you the time it would take figure out what to make for each day.
- Stay out of the middle aisles. Other than dried rice and beans, the items in the middle aisles are mostly processed foods that are less healthy and more expensive. Stick to the outside aisles for whole foods like vegetables and meat.
These are just a couple of ways you can eat healthy on a budget. Most of them aren’t too difficult or time-consuming, and you’ll quickly get used to the changes you’ll make.
By Alecia Stanton of United Family Network
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