For most of us, cost and time constraints are two of the biggest perceived barriers to eating a healthy diet. But what if you could eat healthy, delicious foods while still maintaining your budget?
No, it’s not too good to be true. With these 10 easy tips, you can eat healthier without breaking the bank.
1. Widen your shopping options.
You don’t have to spend dozens to get healthy produce. From farmers markets to ethnic markets to local organic grocery stores, there are countless places you can find quality foods at affordable prices.
Farm to table is more than just a phrase. Local produce options are cheaper due to a decreased need in overhead expenses like shipping, storing, and stocking. Plus, because they’re fresher, they retain more flavor, vitamins, and nutrients than products that have taken weeks (sometimes months) to make it to your table.
2. Extend the life of your produce.
While you’re busy frequenting those local markets and snapping up the savings on seasonal produce, try to think long term!
- Freezing seasonal fruits/veggies can reduce waste, cut expense, and allow for a wider variety over the course of the year. Not sure how to properly freeze fruits and veggies? Check out HGTVs tips here.
- Place paper towels in the container with leaf spinach to keep leaves crisp and extend shelf life.
- Wrap celery in aluminum foil and store in the veggie bin of the refrigerator to keep it crisper, longer.
- Avoid washing berries until right before you're ready to eat them. Wetness encourages mold growth.
If you’re the type who likes to wash, dry, and cut your fruits and veggies all at once to get it out of the way, try storing them in covered containers lined with paper towels. This will visually draw your eye to the produce, reminding you to eat them, while also keeping moisture at a minimum. Less waste = more value!
3. Expand your menu.
You can make your meals go further by expanding menu options to include brown rice, quinoa, and even freekeh! These optional meal additions will not only help bulk up quantity, but they’re also high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and nutrition.
4. Purchase in bulk.
Always look for sales where you can save more money by purchasing in bulk. You can then freeze your raw ingredients for later use (see tip 2) or pre-cook meals and freeze them for quick and easy meal options later in the month.
For example, when whole chickens are on sale, buy two. You can roast them for a hot, home-cooked meal one night, and use the remaining chicken in soups, stews, and even a home-made chicken pot pie! Shake things up a bit by using seasonal veggies in place of traditional carrots and peas, you may even create a new family favorite.
5. Buy generic.
From frozen fruits and vegetables to yogurt and bulk grains, there are some quality generic choices in larger markets that offer increased nutrition while saving you money.
Did you know most store brands are made by the same companies who produce the more expensive name brand options? They’re cheaper because they don’t have to worry about all the overhead that goes along with marketing those products.
Compare labels and prepare to be amazed at how little difference there is between the name brand and store brand. Whenever possible, go generic and see how your grocery bills decrease!
6. Shop for inexpensive cuts of meat.
Inexpensive and tough cuts of meat are huge money savers, but what about taste? These often passed-over cuts can be made tender, juicy and more flavorful by learning new ways to cook and tenderize them, like using a slow cooker.
Bonus: Some cheaper cuts of meat are more satisfying and nutritious than their expensive cold-case relatives!
7. Learn to love leftovers.
Leftovers don’t have to be the same meal you had the evening before! Repurposing leftovers into new and exciting meals is easier than you might think.
Here are some easy leftover options:
- Turn chicken into soup or tacos
- Transform veggies into pizza using whole wheat pizza dough
- Use greens and protein to make a delicious omelet
- Beef into a creative and satisfying wrap (be extra healthy and try using Romaine lettuce leaves as a wrap instead of traditional flour/grain based wraps)
8. If you’re hungry, do not shop.
Science has confirmed it: shopping while hungry is not a good idea. Why? Because high-calorie foods are more tempting when your stomach is rumbling.
And, because you’re thinking more about satisfying your hunger, you’re not going to give your grocery shopping the time and attention it deserves in order to continue on a healthy eating regimen while also staying on budget.
Plan shopping trips for after meals or eat a healthy snack before you hit the store.
9. Try replacing meats with other protein sources.
Not only is replacing meats with other proteins a great way to expand your menu, but it’s also an excellent money-saving tip. Meats are typically the most expensive grocery item you get each week. By swapping two or three meals a week for vegetarian options, you can save significantly.
Additionally, vegetarian proteins can introduce more vitamins and minerals into your diet. Some healthy substitutes include:
10. Don’t underestimate the power of a store savings/rewards card.
Sometimes, it’s next to impossible to get coupons for produce, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the quickest ways to score savings on fruits and veggies is to utilize a store savings/rewards card.
These cards track purchases and, the more you purchase specific products like produce, the more you save.
Coupons, savings, and discounts for products frequently purchased will also begin to accumulate, making your savings greater!
You Can’t Put A Price On Good Health
Eating healthy doesn’t have to break the budget. With a bit of creative thinking and effort, you can expand your menu, discover new foods, boost your health, and do it all while saving a little extra money.
At Matrix Age Management, we know there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to diet. There’s a whole host of factors that need to be considered, including:
- Current health status
- Disease prevention needs and
- Personal goals
Nutrition is the perfect first step in the right direction to improve your long-term health. But it’s also important to incorporate a better understanding of how sleep and stress, fitness and exercise, and even hormones and supplements can affect your ability to live healthier, longer.
If you’re looking to boost your ability to eat well and enjoy a more active, healthy lifestyle, contact our team of professionals and schedule an appointment with us today. Let us help you stay on track to achieving a healthier, more prosperous you!