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Eat Healthy on a Budget – How to Do It Right

By Jiri Kaloc

Do you feel like you can’t afford to eat healthy? Good news! A nutritious, healthy diet can be affordable if you know how to make it happen. Let’s look at what foods to buy and how to get the most out of what you spend money on.

Nutrients are your priority

Foods that are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, water, and fibre will keep you satiated and are the best prevention from any long-term deficiencies. Nutrient-poor, processed junk foods give you calories but not much else and they make it easy to overeat and spend more. Your best option is to focus on whole foods. Check out the graphic below to see some of the most affordable yet nutrient-dense foods you can find. If these make up the majority of your shopping cart at the store, you’re doing it right.

The more cooking you, do the better

Cooking at home is simply a lot less expensive than eating out. The cost of ingredients is often less than a third of what you’d pay, even in a cheap restaurant. Cooking big batches on the weekend is probably the most cost-effective thing to do but even if you enjoy whipping up something simple every day, you will still save a lot. Plus, cooking at home makes it easier to make healthier choices. You have to plan, shop, and prep, there’s not much chance for a spontaneous splash just because you passed a pizzeria at your lunch break.

TIPS – Pack your own lunch. Cook in bulk and use the leftovers as your lunch at work. You will be amazed how much this simple change saves in the long run. Make your own sauces, dressings, and seasonings. For example, all vinaigrettes are simply 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar plus the spices and herbs of your choice.

Get used to planning your meals

Choose a day to plan your meals for the upcoming week on and stick to it. You will then be able to easily make a grocery list for the ingredients you need, which will eliminate buying too much and letting food go to waste. If you want inspiration, check out one of our previous shopping lists here.

Utilize your fridge and freezer

Freezer will be your friend from now on. Especially when you cook in bulk or shop discounted foods that would spoil soon. The trick is to always freeze things in portions so you have an easy time reheating exactly how much you will use. Here are a few ways your freezer will help you save money on healthy food.

  • Buy a bunch of strawberries in season for cheap, then freeze. This works with any fruits or veggies.
  • Make a big batch of stew, casserole, beans, meat, etc., portion it out and freeze.
  • Hunt for discounted bananas about to spoil, peel them and freeze. They are perfect for smoothies in the summer.
  • Slice up any bread you won’t be able to eat before it goes stiff. Freeze it and toast when out of fresh bread.

Next up in Eat Healthy on a Budget series