Did you know that food is the third-largest expenditure in Americans’ budgets? (1) And did you know that eating healthy can be an expensive decision too, with organic fruits and vegetables costing often upwards of $10 per pound? If you’re not looking to spend more than 10% on groceries, then it’s time for some careful thought about how to eat cheap and healthy without spending a fortune.
In this blog post, we’ll go over seven tried-and-true ways to do just that!
7 Key Ways to Eat Cheap and Healthy
1) Start with a plan
It sounds obvious, but you need to have an idea of what it is you’re going to eat. Before you go shopping, make a list of everything that you will need for your weekly meals. This includes not just what’s on your dinner table that night, but also snacks and breakfast items as well. Having a clear list will help keep you from making impulse buys that are just not needed.
You can save a lot of money and eat healthy by doing some research before you go to the grocery store. The post covers staples, common food ingredients, and how to locate the best deals.
2) Start small and scale big if needed
A lot of the foods in your home are things like fruits and vegetables, or grains that can be easily transformed into other things like bread or pasta dishes to feed a crowd for cheap (or even for free!). Look at everything in your refrigerator and pantry, then decide what recipes you can use to make multiple meals out of a single item. Save anything that’s leftover for a future meal, or even better, throw it away so that you know that no food is being wasted.
3) Buy generic when possible
It is possible to find food at low prices even in expensive groceries stores like Whole Foods and the Fresh Market if you buy the generic line of items they offer (they’re usually store brand). The generic versions usually contain most of the same ingredients, but are much cheaper and can often be found at a lower price than store-branded items because they use less packaging.
4) Buy local
Whenever possible, try to support local farms by buying whatever produce they sell. Locally grown foods tend to be more nutritious and flavorful, they’re also likely to be fresher since they’re picked that day or days later instead of sitting on a shelf for weeks before being sold.
5) Don’t buy highly processed foods
It’s ironic that many of the foods in America are highly processed and refined, yet people still end up eating them. The top five culprits? Candy, cheese, bread, chips, and soft drinks. Eating these foods can be pricey if you buy them every day since they’re full of empty calories and fillers. Instead, focus on eating foods with healthy fats (nuts and seeds) or other superfoods that are natural sources of protein.
Instead of eating highly processed foods, eat cheap and healthy with the vegetables we list below:
11 Best Healthy Vegetables For Weight Loss Now!
6) Don’t eat outside
If you love to eat out and barbecue with friends every weekend, then go ahead and do so as usual. But if eating out is not part of your life now or in the future, then don’t go to any restaurants or fast food joints on a regular basis. Then make up some lunches instead and skip dining out altogether.
7) Control your portions
It’s amazing how much food we actually eat in a sitting, even when it looks like we’ve stopped. Portion control is especially important when eating at restaurants, as plates are usually larger than they need to be. When at home, try to use a salad plate or any other small platter instead of a dinner-sized one. This will mentally trick you into thinking that you have more food than you really do.
So, how to eat cheap and healthy at the same time? In short;
- If you take the time to research your grocery store’s offerings and find better deals, then you can save quite a lot of money on food.
- By planning what to eat at home instead of having a huge list of optional foods, you can reduce your food bill significantly.
- Avoiding processed foods and using more whole foods than packaged ones will also help with cutting costs.
- If you are out to eat at restaurants and grill with friends, then make sure that you purchase local produce from a farm whenever possible.
- Lastly, if you can, try to control how much you eat by portioning your meals while still enjoying the experience.
Thank you for reading.
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