Eating healthy doesn’t need to be expensive. Whether you’re considering healthy foods like whole grains, good protein “packages,” and fruits and vegetables, there are many options for you.
Healthy and balanced diets not only help in the proper functioning of the body but also helps to lose weight, studies have shown.
But here’s the problem:
Close to 37 percent (that is about 85 million people) of Americans choose to eat junk foods rather than eating healthy. And part of the reason is that junk food is perceived to be cheaper.
Now here comes the good news:
Deciding to eat healthy on a budget isn’t as difficult as you think. It turns out that the healthiest diets cost just $1.50 more than unhealthy diets, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Besides the issue of cost, some also argue that cooking healthy foods take up a high amount of undesirable time. That is also very false.
It is very possible to prepare the healthiest of foods in a short period. Homemade Flavored Instant Oatmeal, Spinach Lasagna, Chicken Tortilla Lettuce Wraps are a few foods that don’t take more than twenty minutes to prepare.
Deciding to live your life on a budget doesn’t mean you are broke or poor. It only means you are being economical and disciplined and that will serve you well. In this article, we will share some of the tactics you can use to eat healthy on a budget
1. Start with a plan
A plan is one way to give yourself some sense of direction. Your plan for eating on a budget can be a weekly list.
Several studies have found that shopping on a pre-determined list (a part of planning) can be a cost-effective way to reduce obesity and its related health conditions.
Pick out one day of the week to plan for the foods you’ll have in the forthcoming week. Write down a list of every ingredient you would. Be sure to check your cabinets, drawers, and fridges in order not to write stuff you already have.
Allocating prices to your list shouldn’t be a Herculean task but for some of us, it is. Consider the amount of money available to spend on your groceries. You wouldn’t use everything on food. Per what you have written, allocate prices that you are sure will sustain you throughout the week.
You can be tempted to give a higher budget to cover the other following week. One way to overcome this temptation is to use the cash envelope system to set aside money for your weekly shopping.
2. Stick to your list and budget
If it isn’t on your list, it should not enter your basket. This sounds easy in theory, but we all know how hard it is in practice. But part of how you can make sure the execution of the plan goes according to your plan is to take along your list with you when you go shopping.
Your list can be on a piece of paper or you can use any of the shopping apps. This will help you bring the clarity and focus you need when you enter the grocery store or supermarket.
Buying things out of your budget means you are going to cut some healthy things out. Is that what you want to happen?
3. Use proven shopping techniques
This is the tricky part – what to buy. Stand at the entrance of the store and you’ll see that there are lots of things you can buy. There will always be so many options to choose from, but remember, your budget and your goal for eating healthy is your guide.
Here are a few techniques you can use:
a) Load your carts with whole foods
For example brown rice and oats. These tend to be cheaper than processed foods. These also contain nutrients and fiber that help the body stay in good shape.
b) Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk saves you a lot of cents or even bucks than buying your items individually. It is possible to save up to $36.50 per year if you save $10.00 on items you buy in bulk.
c) Go generic
Generic foods are cheaper. They save you a lot of bucks but do not buy just any generic food. Make you’re buying health and a good life in that generic food.
d) Fruits and vegetables
There is no healthy way to live without these. Stock your baskets with all of them. Apples, watermelons, blueberries, oranges, bananas, celeries, carrots, all of them.
They are rich in all sorts of vitamins and minerals that are needed to keep the body healthy. Plus they can be used for several dishes and smoothies which are equally healthy and super delicious.
e) Buy nuts in bulk
Stay away from salted and oily nuts. Instead, go for fresh nuts. They are less cheap when bought in bulk.
They are super healthy for the heart and they contain essential vitamins and minerals for the body to live on.
f) Stick to your frozen veggies
Frozen vegetables are as good as fresh ones and they tend to stay edible longer than the fresh ones. Stay away from processed foods if you want to eat healthy on a budget.
4. Cook at home
You have everything you need to make the best homemade avocado toast. This is healthy, delicious, easy to prepare and above all, cheaper too. It is generally known that cooking at home is far cheaper than eating out.
It has been studied that the majority of people who eat out have a good income level. You and I can be in this category at some point but when things are on the rocks, let’s just stick to preparing some really good avocado toast.
It is eating healthy and on a budget; we’re killing to birds with one stone. You could decide to cook for the entire week or cook your meals day by day. Choose what works for you and stick to it.
5. Cut out the junk
Take some time out and calculate how much you spend on sodas, crackers, pizzas, burgers, hotdogs and all the other junk foods. It may seem quite insignificant but spending money on these for a whole week can save you a lot when you decide to cut them off.
That extra money can be used to eat healthy on a budget.
You could save the rest for more important things too. You are allowed to crave for them but you are not allowed to spend so much on them. Junk food, though unhealthy, can be eaten once a week just to satisfy your whims; and that should be it.
Now you see eating healthy on a budget is possible. It is not so difficult. You could try it and see how much health you’ll be attracting.