Maintaining Healthy Eating on a Budget
Healthy eating, on a budget, is possible. It just takes a game plan and a bit of creativity. In this article i’m going to discuss some tips on how to keep your meals healthy, nutritious and budget friendly.
Budget Friendly Tip #1: Go in with a plan
When food shopping, go to the store with a plan of action and stick to it! Never go to the store hungry, this will make you more susceptible to the lure of the snack foods that will take money away from your healthy eating options. Check the circulars before you head to the store, look for discounts on fruits and veggies and then build your meal plans around what you can get the best offer on.
Budget Friendly Tip #2: Buy Seasonal and Avoid the Exotic
If you buy fruits and vegetables that are in season they are likely to be more budget friendly than their non-seasonal friends. In the winter squash, broccoli, endive, sweet potatoes and cabbage are in season, to name a few. Winter fruits include pears, clementines and grapefruit. Save the exotic fruits for special occasions, as these are usually much higher in price since they are shipped in from where they are grown.
Budget Friendly Tip #3: Meatless Mondays
Lean meat, such as chicken, is a fantastic protein, but can also be on the expensive side especially if you are buying organic. Legumes and grains, mixed, can be a fantastic source of protein and will leave you with some extra cash in your wallet. Quinoa is a complete protein, is easy to make and matches well with a vegetable stirfry. A three bean chili is a great winter warmer that is delicious, meatless, and will satisfy even the biggest meat eater.
Budget Friendly Tip #4: Leftovers are your Friends
When you’re cooking, think about what you can make that will allow enough for leftovers for lunches for the week. If you’re craving soup, make a large batch. Put the remaining into individual containers and take it to work for lunch. Try an overnight crockpot oatmeal. Oats are cheap, healthy and in a limited amount of time, you have made yourself breakfast for the entire week.
Budget Friendly Tip #5: Stock your Freezer While Your Favorite Fruits and Veggies are in Season
Going back to tip #2, if you see a great deal on fresh berries during the summer, buy in bulk! Place them into freezer bags and save them for the winter. Same rule goes for vegetables. Before you freeze your veggies, blanche them first (submerge in boiling water for a brief interval, then place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process). Be sure to dry them thoroughly and then store in a freezer bag. Some vegetables that freeze well are broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, peppers and peas.
With a little pre-planning, you can be a healthier eater on a budget. You can enjoy greater variety, avoid deprivation, and gain a shopping strategy that is both easy on your waistline and your wallet.
Written By: Shannon Benedetto, ACSM-cpt
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