Everyone knows that eating healthy is important. That’s no secret. However, doing so without breaking the bank is. However, eating healthy is cheaper than you think! In fact, it can be pretty affordable if you know how to shop and cook smartly. So, keep reading to learn some secrets on how to eat healthy like a king on a shoestring budget!
The Link Between Diet and Disease
Research has shown that our diet dramatically impacts our health and wellness. Eating healthy can reduce your risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and stroke. Additionally, healthy meals are an excellent way to get energy and lose or maintain your weight.
The proper balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients is critical for illness prevention and wellness. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure your diet always includes appropriate amounts of all of these nutrients.
It’s also important to remember that some foods can harm our health. For instance, processed foods high in sugar and salt are nutrient-lacking and can lead to health problems such as weight gain and even diabetes.
Therefore, ensuring your diet is balanced and contains the right mix of foods is vital to maintain your health. Eating healthy like a king on a shoestring budget is possible but requires some thought and planning.
How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
Eating healthy on a budget allows you to maximize your health without breaking the bank. There are four vital steps to integrating healthy eating habits on a budget:
Educate Yourself – The more you know, the smarter you will shop. Knowing what is healthy and what isn’t and how to balance nutrition is the most important part of eating well. And the more healthy foods you are aware of, the more versatile your meals can be. It will also help you in choosing healthy ingredients that are low-cost. Remember, just because a product says “healthy” on the label doesn’t mean it is.
Educating yourself on nutrition and healthy eating can be as simple as learning to read nutrition fact labels and watching online videos. Websites like Coursera.com offer free online classes that you can take on your own time. From courses like Food and Health to Mindful Eating and Health Cooking, learning how to eat healthy on a budget is vital to your wellness success.
Meal planning – Planning meals beforehand enables you to stick to a budget. It also takes the stress out of figuring out what’s on the menu for the day. Simply make a list of nutritious meals and snacks for the week and include the needed ingredients. To save even more money, try to plan meals that use some of the same ingredients. You can even plan for a couple of extra servings to freeze for another day.
Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated. Many free online tools can help. For example, websites like tastesbetterfromscratch offer free 5-day meal plans. They even include your grocery list and budget information! Other free meal-planning websites include wellplated and eatwell101.
Meal Prepping – You can take meal planning one step further and prep your meals ahead of time too. This can save you time and stress and is a great way to stay within your budget. Let’s put it this way: eating out always sounds nice when we don’t feel like cooking. But if you already have a delicious healthy meal prepped, you can stay within your budget (and stick to your healthy habits). Our article, Budget-Friendly Ways To Meal Prep, is an excellent guide for how to do it.
Shop for Sales and Buy In Bulk – When shopping for the healthy meals on your list, look for deals and discounts on the items you need. Buying in bulk is also a fantastic way to save money on staple foods like grains, spices, and other healthy items.
Use Those Leftovers – Using leftover meals and ingredients to make nutritious snacks and meals is a great way to eat healthy on a budget. It eliminates waste and is virtually free food.
Meal Ideas for a Healthy Diet on a Budget
Once you know how to eat healthy, planning great meals is much easier. However, getting started on this new wellness journey can be somewhat daunting. So here are some easy healthy meal ideas that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get you started:
- Oatmeal with fresh fruits and nuts
- Scrambled egg with avocado toast
- Veggie Omelet
- Cheerios with cut-up bananas or peaches
- Cream of Wheat with cacao sprinkled on top
- Whole wheat wrap with grilled chicken and fresh veggies
- Simple bean burrito with salsa
- Lentil soup
- Baked sweet potato with black beans
- Tuna salad
- Grilled salmon with quinoa
- Vegetable stir-fry with brown rice
- Turkey meatballs with zucchini noodles
- Stuffed bell peppers with ground turkey and quinoa
- Spinach paneer
- Homemade hummus with carrot sticks
- Celery with natural peanut butter and raisins
- Apple slices with natural peanut butter
- Greek yogurt with fresh berries
- Homemade fruit smoothieThese healthy and delicious meals are easy to make, affordable, and full of nutrients. Remember to shop around for the best prices.
Tips for Eating Healthy on a Shoestring Budget
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult, boring, or expensive. You can have an entire menu of healthy and affordable meals on a budget. Making minor adjustments like meal planning and prepping, researching the best prices, and taking advantage of sales will make all the difference in maintaining a healthy eating pattern. So, before we send you off on your new mission, here are some fantastic tips to help you stay within your budget:
Make your grocery list beforehand – You can avoid impulse purchases and save time by writing your list ahead of time. It’s a good idea to write it immediately after you create your meal plan.
Compare prices – Comparing prices at multiple stores can allow you to get the items you want at the prices you can afford. As previously mentioned, shop the sales and try to buy items that you will use often in bulk. These two tips alone can help you save big on grocery shopping!
Check out farmer’s markets and local farm stands – Buying fresh produce from local farmer’s markets can be cheaper than buying from bigger grocery stores. Moreso, it’s a lot healthier. Local foods produced on a small scale won’t contain pesticides and usually carry much more nutrients than store-bought fruits and vegetables. Sometimes you can even find items like dairy products, honey, and meats!
Don’t get discouraged – There will likely be times when you end up spending a bit more than you intended and other times when you cheat with unhealthy foods. However, don’t let one setback (or two) be your entire excuse to abandon eating healthy on a budget. Nobody is perfect, and after all, it isn’t a test.
So you see, with some knowledge, effort, and strategy, eating healthy on a budget is doable. Researching, setting budgets, and using simple tactics to save money can help you reach your goal. Take the time to identify what works best for your individual needs and budgets. Making small adjustments and possible sacrifices really can add up to significant savings and wellness in the long run.