Very often, it seems like you have to be willing to hand over absurd amounts of money in order to eat healthy. The truth, though, is often just the opposite. Of course, there are a few tricks you need to know to get around all the traps at the grocery story. To help you out, here are 5 tips for eating health on a budget.
- Shop for the season – Everybody loves fresh produce. Or, at least, we like the idea of it. But all those fruits and vegetables can add up fast at the register. By buying what’s in season, though, you’ll be able to pick up your greens when the price is at it’s lowest. As a bonus, your produce will also be nutritionally superior at this time of year and would not have been chemically ripened.
- Shop the sales – It seems obvious but is still worth saying: Sales save you money. The problem, though, comes up when you already have your list made before you check the sales. Then you see that nothing on your list is marked down. But, if you do things the other way and plan around the sales, you’ll be able to always get the lowest offered prices.
- Use your freezer – Once you have all that glorious, seasonal produce, though, it can be a struggle to use it before it spoils. The same goes for items you buy on sale, whether it’s meat or produce. So, throw it in the freezer. If it’s done properly, some items can keep well for over a year and will help you avoid spending money in the future. For vegetables, blanch them and then dry them thoroughly before packing them away. Once their frozen, they can be heated back up in the microwave, in the oven or on the stove quickly – no defrosting necessary. Just be aware that the frozen versions won’t have the same texture as the fresh vegetables.
- Plan ahead – Along with knowing the sales and planning around them, know what meals you want to make. It’s also important to have a realistic food budget in place and stick to it. That way, if things get away from you and you overbuy one week, you can balance it over the rest of the month.
- Learn cheap protein sources – There is a big difference between the price of chicken thighs and chicken breasts. But, nutritionally they’re pretty close. The same goes for many less popular cuts of meat. Don’t be afraid of the bone-in, skin-on, less tender cuts of meat. It might take some extra work but you’ll get the same nutrition and, with some tricks, flavor. In the same way, get to know your vegetarian protein sources, too. Beans are a great, inexpensive way to stretch your protein. Canned or dried beans can also be stored for huge lengths of time without any problems, just in case.