Eating Healthy on a Budget – Save Money and Lose Weight
Keeping Your Waist and Your Wallet in Check
If you’re like one of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who resolved to lose weight during the New Year, eating healthy is probably at the top of your to-do list. But if you’ve taken a trip around the grocery store lately, you may have noticed that eating well isn’t cheap. Fortunately, there are several ways to cut back on your healthy eating expenses. Let’s look at a few that you can easily incorporate into your life:
Tip #1 – Buy in Season
If you live in a tropical climate, that’s great – you probably have access to fresh, delicious produce year round. However, if you live in an area where produce goes in and out of season, you’re going to have to adjust your shopping list to keep your grocery budget in check.
In general, out of season produce is more expensive because so much more effort goes into getting it to your grocery store. For example, strawberries can be grown outdoors in northern states during the summer, but in the winter, they have to be shipped in from southern states – often at a much greater cost in terms of freight and spoiled produce. Do a quick Google search to see what fruits and vegetables grow naturally in your area each season and try to incorporate more of these local products into your diet.
Tip #2 – Purchase Healthy Items in Bulk
Buying in bulk will get you the best price on just about anything, and this goes double for healthy foods! Obviously, you won’t want to buy perishable fruits and vegetables in bulk, but what about items like dried beans, pastas or even shelf-stable root vegetables like potatoes or squash? A bulk-sized box of pasta can easily be separated into smaller portions at home, but at a much lower per-serving cost. Just remember to stay on top of their “use-by” dates. Things like potatoes or raw whole grains will store for awhile, but not for forever – and spoiled food is nothing more than money down the drain!
Tip #3 – Eat at Home
Preparing more meals at home is a real double whammy for both your wallet and your waist size. Cooking at home is significantly less expensive than eating out, and by preparing your own food, you’ll be able to cut down on the hidden fat and sodium that’s packed into commercially-prepared foods.
To get the most bang for your buck, experiment with recipes that produce plenty of servings and freeze well, like soups, stews or pasta dishes. Not only can you take the leftovers with you to work the next day, you can store extra servings for future nights when you don’t feel like cooking but still want to avoid the extra calories and expense of going out to eat.
Tip #4 – Choose Economical Proteins
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are a staple of many healthy eating plans, but they don’t come easy on the wallet. Barring the occasional sale, packages of this poultry cut can cost as much as $10 per pack. Instead, buy packages of meat when they’re on sale (just keep an eye on the expiration date, as sale packages are usually nearing their deadlines) or experiment with new, less expensive cuts. For example, cooking up a whole chicken yields breasts, thighs and leftover bones and meat that can be simmered down into chicken soup. It’s like getting three healthy meals for the price of one!