December 31st, 2012
Eating healthy plays an important role in maintaining good health. But, with food costs spiraling upwards, home makers may find grocery shopping to be a frustrating experience in these trying times. The biggest worry is having to sacrifice healthy nutrition when you cut costs on food items. However, the situation isn’t as bad as it appears to be. If you plan in advance, there are a number of ways to eat healthy on a budget. Not only that, your family might even enjoy a better variety of foods that are also easy on the wallet. Here are 5 ways to staying healthy on a budget:
# 1 Eat healthy on a low budget by cutting on meats
Meat, chicken and fish are the costlier food items that take away a large chunk of your wallet. It is a fact that organic, grass fed and hormone free animal products are pricier although they may be healthier. However, the average American diet contains more meat than is needed for the body. It therefore makes sense to exercise portion control when eating meat and poultry items. This practice will automatically balance out your expenses since you will be eating organic (healthy) meat products but in a smaller quantity.
# 2 Eat healthy on a budget with a vegetarian diet
According to USDA guidelines, one third of your food plate must contain vegetables, another third must contain fruits. Ensuring one-third of your plate contains fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables are not only a healthier option, you save a substantial amount on food costs.
Our family has this tradition of having a vegetable soup with bread for dinner every once in a while. A thick vegetable soup is a hearty and nutritious meal that can be rustled up in no time with small amount of veggies like cabbage, beans, peas, carrots, potato, onions, etc. The fiber content from the vegetables will fill you up faster while providing the required nutrition.
# 4 Buy in bulk to eat healthy on a budget
While vegetables and fruits should always be bought fresh, there are other items that can be bought and stored. Generally, when you buy in bulk, you make a saving. Quite often, you might find grocery stores and malls offering products in bulk quantities at lower prices. Farmers markets are a great place to pick up fresh, seasonal foods that are organically produced. Here too, you could make bulk purchases and preserve the stuff for use during the off season.
# 5 Plan cheap, easy meals at home
Meal plans for a couple of weeks at a time allow you to eat healthy on a budget. Armed with your meal plan you can buy all the essential items on your list without being tempted to buy convenience foods. When you cook at home, you can control the fats and salts that go into it while paying attention to the health benefits. If you’re having trouble planning ahead, try using healthy eating worksheets.