Many people think that healthy eating is too expensive and the truth is – it really can be. That said, there are so many great ways you can save money while eating healthy food. Whether you cook at home or grow a garden, you can use these money saving tips to eat foods that are healthy and delicious. Healthy eating is a way of life, so even if you do these things when you can, you will be turning things in a healthier direction.
Cook At Home – If you are making your favorite restaurant foods at home, you are going to be eating healthier. When you cook at home, you not only control the ingredients, but you’ll pay much more attention to portion size. You can still make your favorite foods but at the same time, look for ways to make them a little healthier! Cut the butter, cut the salt, make those little moves that will make a big difference over time. Start with dishes like my Old Fashioned Goulash recipe and Egg Drop Soup recipe! You can likely make a gallon of Egg Drop Soup at home for the same price as you’d pay for a bowl at a restaurant.
Grow A Garden – Growing your own garden is a wonderful way to save money, eat healthy, and help the planet. Grow the vegetables that you know that you love, and try to grow things in your garden that are high yield. High yield plants save you money in two ways: Not only do you save by growing your own produce, but you get a lot from just one plant! Examples of high yield plants would be tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon, raspberries, and cucumbers. Learn about what grows in your area and make the small investment in order to take advantage of the long-term gains. Plus, by creating your own garden and growing without pesticides, you are helping to cut down on air and water pollution. A huge bonus!
Compare Prices – It is important to learn to compare prices in your area week to week. It doesn’t matter if you are buying chicken breasts or baked potato chips, you always want to get the best prices at the stores that are offering them. For example, if you purchase family packs of chicken breasts vs. frozen, single serve chicken breast packs, you’ll likely save money. Start to scan the ads in your area to check for the loss leaders (the cheap items on the front page) and turn those items into that week’s dinner. (Asparagus on sale for $.88/lb? That’s the vegetable for Monday and Wednesday!) Make it a point to stop at one or two stores per week to take advantage of the cheapest deals on healthy items and be sure to use coupons to get even greater savings.
Avoid The Aisles – Most grocery stores are set up such that the outer perimeter of the store contains fresh food and the aisles in between contain boxed, canned and foods with a long shelf life. After making your grocery list (being sure to take advantage of those loss leader items!), do your best to stick to the fresh foods that are displayed around the edges of the store. These will usually contain your meats, produce, fresh bread and dairy. Some stores have modernized some so that they have moved dairy cases into the aisles, but for the most part, do what you can to avoid the shelf stable, less healthy foods.
Freeze Your Berries – Berries are a healthy snack and they make great smoothies (this Easy Berry Green Smoothie is a favorite!). Fresh berries are very expensive in the winter, but can be dirt cheap during the summer. When you can get containers of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries for $.99 during the warmer months, stock up and freeze them. Put yourself in a position where you don’t have to invest in the more expensive healthy food items due to the time of year.
Pack Your Lunch And Snacks – Packing your own lunches and snacks for work, a road trip, the zoo, or a museum is the thrifty way to travel. It is always cheaper – and usually healthier – to eat a lunch that you’ve made from home and to pack snacks. Pick up some boxes of low-fat snacks and/or dried fruit from the Dollar Store and bring those with you when you are out on the town. You can also get some options from these cheap after school snack ideas!
You really don’t have to spend a lot of money on healthy food! Making a few basic changes to your daily life will lead you in a good direction. Yes, it requires a bit of work, but your body and your wallet will thank you!