Note: This is a guest post from Tory McBroom of Low-CalorieDiet.com
The greatest wealth is health – Virgil
The benefits of a healthy diet are undeniable. Unfortunately, following such a diet can be costly.
But for us frugal folk who seek a healthy lifestyle there is hope. With a few tips we can effectively stock our pantries with high quality, healthy foods without breaking the bank.
Before we get started, however, let’s take a look at what eating healthy consists of:
- Keep your intake of heavily processed and junk foods to a minimum.
- Be aware of the amount of calories you intake. Not saying you need to count every calorie, but ultimately it’s calories in versus calories out that determines weight gain/loss.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Limit foods high in refined sugars and saturated fats (avoid trans fats at all costs).
- Eat a balanced diet meaning get a good variety of all the food groups, especially vegetables and fruits.
Ok, so you’ve got a general idea of how to eat healthy. Now, let’s get right to it and learn how to eat healthy on a budget.
1. Plan your meals
Plan out your dinners and lunches at least a week in advance and write out a grocery list. Don’t forget to include healthy snacks to the list as well. Preparing your own meals is a great way to save money and since you control what goes in the food it makes it easier to eat healthy.
2. Frozen vs. fresh
Frozen fruits and vegetables are usually a lot cheaper than any produce you’ll find in the fresh section of your supermarket. And contrary to popular belief, frozen fruits and veggies are just as healthy as their fresh counterparts. Furthermore, since their shelf life is a lot longer you typically won’t be throwing away as much either.
3. Pass the salt
A diet high in sodium can lead to a host of health problems later in life. Limit the amount of salt you intake by purchasing low-sodium and no-salt-added food items, which generally don’t cost anymore than regular items. And pass on the salt completely when preparing your own dishes.
4. Make extra
If you find it hard to find time to cook then try making double when you do cook and freeze half for a quick meal at a later date. You may even save some money if you can quickly reheat a meal as opposed to running to the nearest fast-food restaurant.
5. Growing your own
Drastically cut your produce prices by growing your own. Start a garden or plant your favorite produce items in pots on your patio for an inexpensive way to eat healthy all season long. You can even take it a step further and plant your favorite herbs in small pots in your kitchen window.
6. Look low for inexpensive items
I mean this literally. Many grocery stores purposely put the more expensive items at eye-level. So, look a little lower for the cheaper or generic brands and save a little money. Most stores also post the cost per unit on the shelf so look closely at this and see what the best deals are.
A few quick tips:
- Buy in bulk
- Use cheaper varieties of meats when preparing stews
- Look out for the day-old bakery cart and clearance bins
- When you must eat out, eat half and take the rest home for a quick meal later
- Don’t buy pre-cut veggies, instead cut them yourself
These are just a few ways to get the most bang for your buck so to speak. But, here’s another way you will be saving money by eating healthy – future healthcare costs! Taking care of yourself now through proper diet and exercise may prevent cardiovascular and heart disease, diabetes and cancer which are four of America’s biggest killers.
Photo by DarioMilano