Money is tight for a lot of us. Yet we still strive to eat healthy food and be able to provide clean snacks and meals for ourselves and family. It can be challenging, I know, but I have made a list of ways you can eat clean while on a budget! Just like anything it takes a lot of planning in the beginning but eventually you will be used to eating differently that it will become second nature.
- Shop in season and buy locally– Food costs less when it is in season. Most of you know fruits and veggies cost much less in the summer months than in the winter months. Visit your local farmers markets or produce stands. I was able to pick up 3 large cucumbers for a dollar at my local produce stand while they are still selling 1 for .99 cents at a large super market.
- Eat less animal products – Dairy and meat are expensive. When I cut out meat and started cooking my own beans that I bought in bulk I started to notice a HUGE savings. Cheese is also expensive. If you choose to keep eating animal products, be conscious of serving sizes and consume more vegetables like leafy greens. If you are concerned about getting adequate protein and calcium, I suggest you do a little research. You don’t need as much as you think.
- Buy in bulk – I shop the bulk food section for my dry goods like rice, legumes and spices. I save a lot of money this way, especially with spices! Buying in bulk does not mean buying 20 pounds of an item but buying out of the shelf package significantly helps reduce cost.
- Take inventory of your kitchen – I have double bought items too many times to count. I now take inventory of my pantry, fridge and freezer and make sure I don’t buy something that I already have.
- Buy only what you can eat – Eyes bigger than your stomach? Mine too. I can get pretty excited in the store and sometimes I over shop. I have never been one to make meal plans but this would help with making sure you only buy what you need. Also, this cuts down on spoiled produce.
- Eat smaller portions – Don’t starve yourself, but when times are tight I eat less. Be conscious of your plate size and portions. When you eat whole foods you don’t need to consume as much as you would with processed foods. I always try to eat some kind of healthy fat to fill me up, like avocado.
- Let go of processed food – Guess what… you don’t need it! Eating Clean means to eat as close to the Earth as possible. Have picky kids? They are only picky because they have not been made to eat a certain food. Have less processed food in the house and your family will start reaching for carrot sticks instead of crackers. These are empty calories only making you more hungry sooner.
- Cook from scratch – Every time I go out to eat it amazes me to see the price of food. Sure, it can be a nice treat for a celebration but eat at home as often as you can. You also know exactly what you are eating at all times and what goes in to your meals.
- Think long term – You are making a life style change. This is not a temporary diet. If you are used to buying a box of crackers then change to buy a bag of snap peas (my favorite crunchy snack!). It is a transition and eventually you wont even look through the packaged food isles any more.
- Make the time – We are all busy. Life isn’t slowing down and for some of us the thought of being in the kitchen cooking can seem daunting. I challenge you to make the best of it and enjoy it. Make it a family event. Cooking is a celebration! Kids LOVE helping in the kitchen and most likely they will eat what they see being cooked or what they help out with. If you live alone then invite some friends over for some nice conversation. Don’t think of cooking as a chore – you are feeding your body with proper fuel and your body will love you for that!
There are many options for those that want to incorporate a healthy life and a healthy diet without breaking the bank. I always love to hear what you do to help cut costs on your grocery bill. Leave a comment below and I might feature your tip on a future blog post!
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