Constantly hearing people say they can't afford to eat healthy is bogus. They talk about not being able to eat healthy while talking on their $800 iPhone, walking around in $200 shoes, driving a car they can't afford, and drinking their favorite Starbucks coffee.
If there's one thing I learned about eating healthy on a budget, is that it's not that hard to do. The trick is learning how to cook great tasting food.
Investing a few extra dollars into your health instead of buying that app or video game can mean better gains and an overall healthier lifestyle.
Eating healthy does cost more than buying things from the dollar menu every day, but you will pay with your health in the long run. I love me some fast food but stick to the 80/20 rule with it.
Let's check out some tips on how to eat healthy on a budget.
Healthy Eating on a Budget
Tip #1 - Buy Fresh Foods
Eating fresh nutritious foods is mandatory for living a healthy life. Many people do not understand what fresh food is versus boxed or processed food... And that's okay.
Here's a small list of some things that are healthy nutritious foods:Proteins
- Beef - Ground beef is most reasonably priced. Buy in bulk and freeze. The leaner the ground beef, the more expensive it is. Remember, you can drain off some fat.
- Chicken - Fresh or frozen chicken is one of my favorites. You can make anything from a chicken breast and rice to my favorite grilled spicy BBQ chicken salad.
- Fish - Fish is one of the more costly proteins, but well worth it. Get plenty of fish in your diet for the fatty acids and enjoy the few calories it does have.
- Milk - Use with your protein shakes. Drink whole milk for bulking or the best milkshakes and protein shakes you've ever had.
- Eggs - Eggs go with everything, are cheap, and if you buy in bulk you can get a great discount. Buy 3 dozen and get to eating.
- Yogurt - Great for digestion and snacks, yogurt is a great choice. Try Greek yogurt mixed with some honey, granola, and some fruit. It's filling and healthy.
Buying meat on discount or "short sale" means that you can save a lot of cash if you plan on cooking or freezing the meat in the next day or two.
Discounted meats aren't discounted because they are spoiling, they are discounted so that they sell before they spoil. I used to have a local grocery that would hold all of their short sale meat for me. I ate like a king while spending less than I normally would on groceries.Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are a great choice for everyone. We simply don't eat enough fruits and veggies in our diets and it is damaging to our health.
Buying frozen fruits and vegetables will save you a lot of money and many are usually fresher than the out of season products that have been shipped from who knows where. The frozen produce has a longer shelf life and the flash-frozen process locks in flavor and nutrients.
If you prefer fresh fruits and veggies, buy in-season produce for the best quality and price. Support your local farmers and buy locally. You help out the economy and you are helping yourself to some gains.
Tip #2 - Buy Generic
There are many things that you can buy the generic of that will save you a lot of money. The great thing is you don't sacrifice on quality or flavor. On most things.
I can't stand off-brand cheese or ranch, but finding generics of popular items you like will help save a lot of money in the long run.
Tip #3 - Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is smart because your price per unit drops as you buy more. This means if you are buying 2.5 pounds of chicken for $5, you're paying $2 per pound. If you were to shop at a place selling bulk chicken, you could buy 10 pounds of chicken and paying closer to $1.50 per pound.
You'll save money just by purchasing more. Freeze or store what you don't use and you won't have to make as many trips to the store.
Tip #4 -Learn to Cook
You've filled up your grocery cart but you don't know how to cook.
Cooking is one of the most mandatory skills you need in life. Cooking is an art, and mastering it will give you a way to eat delicious and healthy foods.
You don't have to eat tofu and bean sprouts for it to be considered healthy; a steak on the grill with some brown rice is much healthier than any fast food meal.
Tip #5 - Plan Your Meals
Part of your money saving adventure should be in planning your meals out.
If you have no plan in mind when going to the store, that's a disaster. It's kind of like going shopping while hungry; everything looks good and you have to have it.
Plan your meals out a week in advance and shop accordingly. Check out the ads to see what is on sale so that you can take advantage of those deals.
Tip #6 - Prioritize Eating Healthy
You have to make a conscious decision to start eating healthy. If you do not put your money where your mouth is, don't tell others about how hard it is to eat healthy. It's not and you know it.
Plan your meals out, clip coupons, find deals, buy in bulk, and start making positive changes in your life. No one is going to do it for you and trust me, it doesn't all just "work out in the end."
Make smarter choices about your health, learn to cook, and start being the boss you know you are.