How You Can Eat Healthy on a Budget

You want to feed your family healthy, nutrient-dense foods. But everyone knows that eating healthy has to be really expensive, right?

Not necessarily!

Read on for some of our best tips for how to eat healthy on a budget!

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

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Meal planning is a must to save money while eating healthy food

Meal planning may seem like an overwhelming, time-consuming chore, but honestly it doesn’t have to be that way!

If you’re like most of us when thinking about meal planning, you may ask, How do I start? Will I actually save money? How exactly do I go about saving money?

To get you started on how to save money when meal planning, we’ve put together an awesome list of tips and tricks for you to follow.

Tip #1 – Create a week-long meal plan

Getting into the habit of creating a meal plan can take time, but being consistent will go a long way to helping that habit take shape.

Pick the same day each week when you sit down and create a week-long meal plan for the upcoming or following week.

Some people even make a monthly meal plan rather than a weekly one.  You could try both approaches to see which works best for you.

how to eat healthy on a budget

Tip #2 – Involve the whole family in meal planning

Meal planning can actually be made into a fun activity for the whole family. Instead of just one person picking all the meals, get everyone to pick at least one healthy meal they want.

If you’re married and your kids are too young to help out, see if your spouse would be willing to spend 30 minutes with you brainstorming healthy meal plan ideas.

If you have school-aged kids, rather than giving them money for the school cafeteria, pack leftovers from dinner the night before.

Leftover meat from a whole chicken or beef roast dinner are perfect for making sandwiches for lunch the next day. This way you’ll know your kids are getting a good healthy lunch, plus you’ll be saving yourself some money.



Tip #3 – Create a shopping list from your week-long meal plan

Once you have a list of all the meals for the upcoming week, you’ll then need to see what ingredients you will need, including which ones can be used in multiple meals.

Once you have worked out what meals you want to make over the next week, use your favorite cookbook or do an online search to find out all of the ingredients you will need.

Make a list of all the ingredients, divided up into categories like fresh meats, frozen goods, fresh produce, etc. This categorized shopping list will help make your supermarket shopping trip much more organized.

Eat healthy on a budget

Tip #4 – Include ingredients that can be used for more than one meal

When coming up with your meal plan, think about ingredients you can use in multiple meals as this will be a great way for you to save money.

Buying in bulk is one of the smartest hacks for saving money on healthy food. If you have three recipes that call for onions, buy a 10-pound bag of onions at Sam’s or Costco rather than one smaller bag.

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Including lots of fruits and vegetables in you diet is central to healthy eating.  Fresh produce is always cheaper per pound in bulk than it is in smaller quantities.

Produce like potatoes, winter squash and onions are long-lasting when stored in your pantry and are great choices for stocking up.

How to eat healthy on a budget

Consider buying a slightly bigger whole chicken for a Sunday meal so you are able to have sandwich fillings for a few days.  Look for bigger sized packages of beef that can be spread across several meals. These “family packs” of meat and poultry can really help slash your grocery bill.

Here’s a great example of ingredients that can be used for more than one meal: If a weekly meal plan includes spaghetti and chili, instead of having one at the beginning of the week and one at the end, why not have them one day after the next?

This way you can purchase a large pack of ground beef (which is cheaper than two smaller portions) as well as bigger jars of tomato sauce or puree. You might even be able to prepare all of the beef on one day, then use the precooked beef the next day to save extra time in the kitchen!

Tip #5 – Stick to your list when shopping

Everyone knows how impulse purchases can really stack up in the supermarket and make a huge dent in your budget.

Supermarkets are actually even laid out in such a way as to try and encourage impulse buys!

It’s important that you try to stick to your shopping list as much as possible if you want to save money when grocery shopping.

Buying one or two items that aren’t on your shopping list may not be the end of the world, but every additional item can add up.  

Do your best to avoid unplanned purchases. If you take your kids shopping with you, explain to them ahead of time that you are only going to buy the items on your shopping list.  

Avoiding impulse buying to stay within a budget and not spend extra money.

Tip #6 – Go for generic or store brands

Well-known food brands spend a lot of money trying to promote their products and convince consumers that their brand is best.  All of the money spent promoting their brand leads to higher prices for these brand-name products.

The quality of store brands is usually similar to name brands.  By simply going to generic or store brand products rather than popular brand products, you can really save on your groceries.

How to eat healthy on a budget

Tip #7 – Shop ads and use coupons

If you live in an area with more than one supermarket, do comparison shopping to find which store offers the best prices.

One of the best ways to eat healthy on a budget is to shop at Aldi.  Aldi grocery stores are found across the country and offer a great selection of quality foods at reasonable prices.  You can even save 20% or more off of supermarket prices at Aldi!

If you have a grocery surplus or “scratch and dent” store in your area, that is another smart way to save on your grocery bill.  These stores buy up lightly dented, overstock, or slightly out of date food products and resell them at steep discounts.  Check the clearance aisle at your favorite supermarkets for additional great savings.

Finally, store and manufacturer’s coupons can provide real savings.  Check your local Sunday newspaper or go online for printable coupons.

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Last updated on December 10, 2018 12:49 pm

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Final thoughts on how to eat healthy on a budget

Learning to eat healthy on a budget can seem more costly than buying process or packaged foods.

Using these helpful tips and tricks can cut your grocery bill while still feeding healthy food to your family.

You’ll feel much better about using nutrient-dense whole foods, and your family’s health should be better as well due to the increased nutrition of a healthy diet.

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