What?!” you ask. “How can I eat healthy and save money? Eating healthy is sooooo expensive!” Actually…no. It’s not. Here’s why: When you eat healthy foods, you feel fuller sooner, stay satisfied longer, eat less, and feel better all around because you’re fueling your body with what it needs: protein, smart carbs, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Money spent now on healthy foods equates to less money spent later on healthcare costs for issues related to unhealthy eating and obesity-related illnesses. So how can you save money and eat healthy?
A weekly meal plan
Make a weekly meal plan, a shopping list from this plan, and stick to it. The fewer times you go shopping, the fewer opportunities you’ll have to buy things you don’t need—both economically and nutritionally. Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry. You won’t be tempted to buy things you don’t need, and you’ll save not only money, but calories!
Stick to fresh food, seafood, frozen and dairy food
When shopping, stick to the outside perimeter and those select aisles in the middle where you’ll find all the “whole” (unprocessed) foods: fresh meats, seafood, produce, dairy, canned and frozen vegetables and fruits, dried herbs and spices, and others.
These are healthier, less expensive, and give you better control over what you’re eating (fewer hidden chemicals, preservatives, and other things you want to avoid). Plus, they do not contain any unwanted chemicals and additive that will influence the food.
Avoid convenience food
Yes it is a bad type of food and just avoid convenience foods as much as you can. They’re way more expensive than regular and you can never be sure what’s in them. Pack your own meals to take to work—you’ll save money, eat fewer calories, and have better portion control.
Noodles to-go, snacks, chips, mixes for cakes or instant pasta are one of the worst type of food you can eat so make sure you avoid that.
Double check if you really need something
Shop sales, use coupons, and stock up on foods you eat often. Be careful to avoid impulse buying, however, even when you find the best sale ever. Ask yourself, “Do I really need this? Will my family eat all of this, or will I end up throwing some of it away?”
See if there is a discount on frozen meat
Check the meat department for discounted meats and freeze them. Buy in bulk. Divide large packages of meat into smaller portions and pop them in the freezer, and keep large bags of frozen fruits and veggies on hand. Go generic. You’ll save lots of $ and not sacrifice any taste or quality. Plus, preparing meat on your own way is interesting and can be fun.
Support local, and buy canned food
Try canned (low sodium, of course!) and frozen options of your favorite fresh foods. They cost less and have a longer shelf life.
Buy fresh fruits and veggies in season. Support your local farmers and farmers’ markets, or better yet, grow your own fruits and veggies and involve the kids! Teach them the importance of eating healthy by example.
Have enough water
Drinkable water is one of the primary needs of your body and you need to take that seriously as the dehydration can be very harmful and bad for your health. Drink enough water every day! Aim for half your body weight in ounces per day (150 lbs = 75 ounces), and use a filtered water pitcher to refill water bottles rather than buying those disposable ones.