Eating Healthy on a Budget

We all want to eat a little more health conscious and with increased consciousness of mind we wish to treat our temples as best as we can. But we definitely aren’t trying to break the bank or spends insane amounts of money doing so (a trip to your local grocer, Whole Foods, or health food store uninformed and ill prepared can certainly have you emptying your pockets relatively quickly. I speak from experience folks) So here are some tips to assist you in living the healthiest you can and to arm you and assist you in making the most financially savvy and health conscious choices possible.

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Photo Credit: GIPHY
  1. Plan your trips accordingly. I currently shop for the majority of my food once a month and try and cut and freeze everything that I can. I have a strategy of eating fresh produce first and everything else that can be flash frozen and stored next. I usually try to limit my grocery store trips so that I am not making multiple trips unless I actually NEED something. Plan your trips according to your household size, needs, eating patterns, and convenience.
  2. Prepare a list based off your meal prep and favorite snacks. I absolutely recommend making a list because it’s the impulse buys that will throw your budget completely out of whack. Nothing wrong with an occasional splurge but if it doesn’t fit into your meal prep or pantry or fridge staples you may want to leave it behind or ask yourself if it’s a need or a want.
  3. Meal prep. Meal prepping will not only save you time and money but it allows you to know what you are eating, plan your meals and snacks out, and keep you from getting off track and just buying takeout or eating fast food all the time. Additionally, it will allow you to mix and match with different foods and flavors to keep things interesting and may help you discover foods, herbs, or spices you never knew you would love.
  4. Check out the ads and compare prices BEFORE shopping. Knowing what’s in season and the normal price for various produce can save you TONS. Checking out your local coop, farmers market, or indoor markets is also a great way to stock up on fresh produce and save.
  5. When you can buy fresh produce,  but frozen veggies and fruit  are always a great substitute and contain the same nutritional value as fresh produce. Additionally, shop around for whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, etc. Sometimes the organic store brand of some pantry staples is cheaper and similar in taste to your favorite name brand version.
  6. Buy beans and lentils in the bag and season them yourself. If you soak them for a few hours prior to cooking they are really tender and hold flavor like you wouldn’t believe. Plus, they are much healthier for you than canned items.
  7. Stay away from canned items whenever possible and items in fruit cups or anything processed. Good rule of thumb: If you can’t pronounce it or it sounds like it could kill you don’t eat it.
  8. Experiment with herbs and spices to add flavor to your favorite fruits and veggies.
  9. Try different cooking methods such as roasting, baking, sauteeing, and grilling.
  10. Buy a water filter or a pitcher that filters your water and experiment with fruits,  veggies, and spices  in making your own version of your own favorite flavors of infused water. You can use these to substitute for juices or sodas.
  11. Try out different varieties of herbal tea if you still want some flavor and can’t quite make the drastic switch to infused water just yet.
  12. Freeze your favorite fruits for a sweet treat. You can also make your own homemade ice cream with your favorite, frozen fruits,  favorite type of milk and spices.
  13. Pack leftovers from your meal prep and take them with you to work for lunch. If you get bored easily like I do with eating the same things throughout the week, make two meals that don’t require a lot of preparation or use ingredients that can be paired different ways like beans, fresh veggies, grains, protein (animal and non-animal) and store them in portable containers.
  14. Zip seal containers will become your best friend. You can use them for your leftovers, storing pantry staples, snacks, etc. Mason jars are also great for food storage and overnight oats.
  15. Shop the outside aisles as much as possible. That’s where all the REAL food lives.
  16. Don’t shop when you are hungry. Self explanatory.
  17. When you can stock up on your favorite pantry staples on BOGO and with a coupon. If the store runs out ask for a rain check and you can get that same item when they restock at the same price.
  18. Coupons!!! Most stores will allow you to stack their coupons as well as manufacturer’s coupon and any other applicable savings, so do your research and plan accordingly with a strategy in mind. I shop Publix and the indoor market for my fresh produce and mainly my meat (when I eat it) from Publix, my household items (tissue paper,  laundry detergent, dish detergent, little snacks, etc) from Winn Dixie because of the gas perks and all my toiletries from CVS (yayyy Extrabucks) Sounds like a lot but you would be surprised how much strategizing will save you money.
  19. Be aware of what things cost. Just because a retailer tells you something is a deal doesn’t make it true. DO YOUR RESEARCH AND BE AWARE.
  20. Be open to trying out new foods, vegan and vegetarian meals, meal types from other countries or with different flavor profiles. You may surprise yourself with all there is out there that tastes amazing and is HEALTHY to eat!
  21. Shop ethnic markets or foods. The flavors are explosive and you are guaranteed to get more bang for your buck!
  22. Organize your freezer, fridge, and pantry so you don’t buy things you already have and can take inventory of what you are actually using.
  23. Invest in a  good blender, spiralizer, and/or crock pot/slow cooker. Try out them and thank me later. LOL.  But seriously these are great tools to slowly add to your kitchen tool arsenal and that will encourage you to try new recipes
  24. Try out and research new recipes. There are so many resources online and via email list serv.
  25. Prepare and drink your own veggies via smoothie. Experiment with your taste buds but my go-to staple for green smoothies is a mix of kale, spinach, frozen, mangos, and peaches, almond milk, and protein powder of choice. But only your taste buds can tell you what works for you. This is a great and EASY way to get a full serving of veggies and fruits in early in the day. The earlier the better so you can burn off the sugar from the fruit.
  26. Most of all have fun! You are creating a greater YOU and what’s not to love about that?

healthy eating