How can I Eat Healthy on a Budget?

K T Solis

Millions of people wish to maintain a healthier lifestyle, but consistently eat fast food instead of preparing their own food at home. Some people feel that it's too expensive to buy nutritious food, but that it is cheaper to buy items that may not have much nutritional content. This way of thinking keeps many people from saving money, losing weight, and achieving a healthier body. Purchasing fast food every day is a drain on the wallet and eating hamburgers and French fries on a daily basis can make the waistline expand. If a consumer plans and displays a bit of creativity, she can eat healthy on a budget.

Inexpensive cuts of meat and fresh vegetables can be used to create affordable, healthy meals.
Inexpensive cuts of meat and fresh vegetables can be used to create affordable, healthy meals.

Consumer should remember several basic ideas in order to eat healthy. First, refrain from eating a great deal of junk food. This will only lead to health problems. Cut down on alcohol consumption. Purchasing alcohol products is often expensive and can cause weight gain. Another important fact is that consumers should avoid eating too much salty or sugary food.

Replacing fattening choices with a fruit salad can help people who are trying to eat healthy.
Replacing fattening choices with a fruit salad can help people who are trying to eat healthy.

Excessive amounts of sugar and salt is found in most prepackaged foods, so a wise shopper will avoid filling the shopping cart with these items. It's also a good idea to stay away from foods high in saturated fats -- another type of food that sidelines a healthy diet. Finally, strive to eat a variety of foods in order to maintain a healthy diet.

Canned salmon is an inexpensive choice for those on a budget.
Canned salmon is an inexpensive choice for those on a budget.

In order to eat healthy on a budget, plan food menus for the upcoming weeks. Conduct research on quick, healthy meals that can be prepared for a small amount of money. Next, prepare a shopping list beforehand. This helps shoppers avoid purchasing foods that are too expensive or unhealthy.

Health-conscious food shoppers can check nutrition information on their smart phone while in the store.
Health-conscious food shoppers can check nutrition information on their smart phone while in the store.

Impulse buys are costly and usually involve foods containing high amounts of sugar and fat. Instead, focus on purchasing ingredients that are inexpensive and simple to cook. Try to select ingredients that can be used to make one-dish meals, thereby limiting the amount of dish washing.

Lentils are healthy and affordable.
Lentils are healthy and affordable.

Grocery stores offer countless sensible food choices in which to fill a shopping cart. For example, bean and lentils are smart choices. They can be used as the main dish augmented by vegetables or rice. Brown rice is another good food to purchase because it can be added to meat and vegetables. Although more costly than white rice, brown rice is more nutritious.

Avoid fast food to save money and protect your waistline.
Avoid fast food to save money and protect your waistline.

Pasta is simple and quick to make. It can be served with meat, vegetables, or salad. Try to buy whole-wheat pasta, since whole wheat is healthier than the regular kind of pasta. Soup is another food purchase that is great for those on a fixed budget.

Fresh vegetables can be part of a healthy diet on a budget.
Fresh vegetables can be part of a healthy diet on a budget.

Soup can be purchased in a can, but the cook can spice it up with leftover meat and vegetables. Sprinkle in herbs and spices to provide the soup with added flavor. The consumer should look for low-sodium soups, since too much salt can be detrimental to anyone's health.

Cheaper foods, such as pizzas and fried foods, typically have less nutritional value.
Cheaper foods, such as pizzas and fried foods, typically have less nutritional value.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are other important foods that will allow consumers to eat healthy on a budget. They should be purchased once or twice a week. Consumers can also purchase canned fruits and vegetables that may be used to prepare quick meals. Vegetables are good to use in stir-fry dishes or vegetable patties. Fruit serves as a fast, healthy snack, and a good alternative to a sugary candy bar.

Whole wheat options are typically more nutritious.
Whole wheat options are typically more nutritious.

When shopping for meat, look for inexpensive cuts that can be put in casseroles and stews. If seafood is desired, try to find inexpensive tuna and salmon. Consumers can buy herbs, spices, and sauces to enhance the flavor of home cooked meals. They can experiment with condiments they don't normally use and explore their creativity in the kitchen. These are all ways people can eat healthy on a budget.

Seasonal fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants and nutrients.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants and nutrients.
For breakfast, oatmeal is an inexpensive yet healthy food, as are seasonal fruits bought at the farmers market.
For breakfast, oatmeal is an inexpensive yet healthy food, as are seasonal fruits bought at the farmers market.
Maintaining a healthy weight can help deter health problems and having to take costly medications in the future.
Maintaining a healthy weight can help deter health problems and having to take costly medications in the future.
Leftovers might be used to create soup, which saves on money.
Leftovers might be used to create soup, which saves on money.
Eating healthy on a budget requires cutting back on junk food consumption.
Eating healthy on a budget requires cutting back on junk food consumption.
When you consume fat, opt for a monounsaturated one like heart-friendly olive oil.
When you consume fat, opt for a monounsaturated one like heart-friendly olive oil.
Fresh fruit is an important part of a healthy diet.
Fresh fruit is an important part of a healthy diet.
A healthy body weight is essential for good health.
A healthy body weight is essential for good health.

Discussion Comments

cougars

When learning how to eat healthy on a low budget, I focus on two things: buying bulk, and eating a Mediterranean style diet.

I purchase bulk items like granola, whole grain rice, nuts, and other high-density foods that fill me up. I also buy my meats in bulk and make use of freezer bags. I wash, trim, and freeze all of my meats, and blanch some of my vegetables. This makes foods quick and easy to pull out of the freezer and prepare, and I can fit much more in the freezer when I am packaging the food myself.

I also try to make the vegetables and whole grains the focal point of my meal, and make the proteins more of a side. This helps me feel fuller, and fruits, vegetables, breads, and grains are much cheaper per pound than almost every cut of meat.

ValleyFiah

@ parmnparsley- The article hit it right on the head for those who want to know how to eat healthy on a budget. You had some great ideas for how to buy healthy food on a budget, but it all comes down to how we eat. Cooking foods at home rather than buying takeout and boxed meals is so much better for you, and it saves money. I make all kinds of great food at home, and it tastes so much better than anything that you can make from a box. For those who don't know how to cook, finding free and easy recipes is easier than ever. Plenty of websites offer free recipes that are practical for everyday cooking.

parmnparsley

I am a college student, I have a young child, and I am very concerned about what I eat. This puts me in the category of people who try to find ways of healthy eating on a budget.

I follow a few guidelines that I have found to be very successful. I try to buy the majority of my produce in season. Besides saving money, this has two benefits; I eat a large variety of fruits and vegetables, and I try new things that I would not normally try. Variety is important to a healthy diet. I also try to shop at farmers markets during the warmer months. By shopping at farmers markets, you can cut out the middle man, buy local and purchase organically grown and raised produce and meat for a fraction of the cost of a generic health food store like Whole Foods.

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