Eating Healthy on a Budget

Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy on a budget is definitely possible. There are many cheap healthy recipes that are both flavorful and good for you. It just takes a little advance planning to keep you from making some common mistakes that end up costing you money.

Eating healthy on a budget can be good for both your wallet and your weight. As you eliminate junk foods from your weekly shopping trip, such as potato chips, soft drinks, and processed foods, you will find your waistline slowly but surely shrinking. Everyone has a craving for unhealthy food at one time or another, however the key to being successful at eating healthy on a budget is making the right choices when it comes to what you and your family are going to eat on a regular basis. Budget cooking does not mean that you can't eat foods that you enjoy; it only means that you are going to make smart choices when purchasing your food.

Plan your meals

When shopping, the average consumer simply goes to the shelf and grabs the basic necessities such as bread, eggs, cheese and the everyday commodities that seem to run out very quickly. They will then make a selection of meats, such as chicken, beef, pork or fish.

After that, the remainder of the shopping tends to become somewhat compulsive. You see something and put it in your grocery cart, almost without thinking about it. This leads to the purchase of unnecessary and often unhealthy items that can result in a higher than necessary grocery bill. By preparing healthy eating plans and making shopping lists before you leave home based on the items that you will need in order to cook cheap healthy recipes, you can reduce the purchase of unnecessary items and instead choose foods that are healthy and affordable.

Buy in bulk

The first tip for eating healthy on a budget is to buy in bulk. Packaging adds to the cost of each item, so the less there is, the less you'll pay. Many stores now have bulk bins for items like cereals, beans, dried fruit, and a host of other things that you can buy in larger quantities and divide into smaller serving sizes and freeze or store when you get home.

Buy foods in season

ripe tomatoes

Eating healthy on a budget also requires buying certain items only when they are in season. When you purchase items that are out of season you not only pay a higher price, but you get bland flavors as well. Ever eaten a strawberry in December? It tastes like cardboard. It is best to purchase seasonal items when they are on sale or marked down, and if you learn how to can or preserve food, you can have healthy and delicious fruits and vegetables throughout the year for only pennies. This is also a great way to introduce variety into your eating. Each season has it’s own special flavors and textures!

Go for frozen

You can also save money on produce by buying it frozen. Most vegetables are flash frozen just after harvesting, which helps to preserve their nutrients, often making them more nutritious than fresh produce that has lost many of its nutrients from being shipped long distances. And pound for pound it is often cheaper.

Budget beans

Budget cooking requires choosing recipes that include foods that are inexpensive but healthy. For instance, beans are one of the mainstays of those eating healthy on a budget, and are a tasty and nutritious food source that are part of many cheap healthy recipes. They are nutritional powerhouses of vitamins, minerals and micronutrients, and are very high in fiber. They are one of the best sources of protein, and most supermarkets carry them either dried or canned. Dried beans are much less expensive than the canned variety, however, both are equally nutritious and can be used in a variety of recipes.

Essential eggs

Another food source that should be incorporated into your cheap healthy recipes are eggs. Eggs can be enjoyed at any time of the day, not just for breakfast. Eggs have unfortunately been on the nutritional chopping block for many years due to their cholesterol content. However, studies have shown that dietary cholesterol is not a major source of cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol is produced by the liver in response to inflammation in the body, a condition often caused by consuming high amounts of refined sugar, trans-fats and hydrogenated oils.

Eggs are an excellent source of protein and provide the body with many vitamins and minerals, especially leucine, an essential amino acid that is one of the main components that helps the body in maintaining its weight. Leucine is also responsible for slowing the loss of muscle tissue and helps to promote lower fat levels. You may enjoy your eggs as a quiche or omelette, filled with a variety of meats, cheeses or vegetables and served as a light evening meal. You could even try making a soufflé, which is actually not as difficult as it seems and will certainly impress your dinner guests! Whichever way you prefer to prepare them they are an essential ingredient for eating healthy on a budget.

Meaty menus

grass fed beef

Meat is not out of the question when eating healthy on a budget. The healthiest option is to buy organic grass-fed meat in bulk, when possible, from a reputable company such as US Wellness Meats. You can usually get a reduced price per pound when buying a whole side of organic grass-fed beef, for instance, which cuts can be kept in your freezer and used slowly over the course of 6 months or a year.

Though organic grass-fed meat is more expensive than meat raised on factory farms, it's a lot healthier for you. And you can spend the same amount you normally would, but just buy less of it, or buy cheaper cuts. You don't have to purchase top-of-the-line cuts in order to enjoy the meat products that you love. There are many slow cooker or crock pot recipes that incorporate the use of meats that are both flavorful and inexpensive. There are hundreds of recipes to be found on the internet and in food magazines that are full of slow cooker recipes that you will find tasty and healthy.

Success with eating healthy on a budget only requires a little advance planning. Try these tips for a month and see how much you save. Not only will you feel healthier, but your pocketbook will thank you!

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