How to Eat Healthy on a Skinny Budget

fresh, produce, healthy, local, cheap, tipsOne of the many excuses people use as the reason why they don’t eat a healthy diet is that it costs more. But with careful planning and knowledge, you can spend the same amount on nutritious foods in the grocery store and get a lot more for your money.

Plan meals ahead of time – Planning ahead prevents scrambling around for whatever morsel you can find when hunger hits. Decide on a grocery budget, then create a grocery list for the week. Look at what food is already in your kitchen and build meals from there. Then, go to the store and buy only the items that you have on the list to avoid impulse purchases. A few extra minutes planning your meals can result in a few extra dollars in your wallet.

Prepare meals at home – Eating out just once a day can quickly add up. If you eat a grilled chicken salad from a restaurant once a day for a week, it could cost around $40, but if you buy 2 lbs. of chicken breast, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots and make your own salad, the cost is about half. Bring snacks and a well-balanced lunch to work. Include inexpensive, energizing foods to help you focus, such as spinach, whole grains and nuts. Limit eating out to a couple of times a week to save money.

Buy groceries in bulk – Shop for large packs of lean meats and poultry when they’re on sale. Divide them into portions enough for one meal and freeze what you don’t use that day. It may not be ideal to buy fresh produce in bulk because it doesn’t keep well, but buying bags of frozen vegetables is an excellent option. Frozen vegetables are picked at the peak of their ripeness, so no nutrients are lost if you go this route. Stock up on whole grain pastas. Pasta is a staple item in a budget-friendly kitchen. Keeping your kitchen stocked with these items will keep you on target for a well-balanced diet and keep you within your budget.

Reduce your portion sizes – Being on a tight budget is a good opportunity to learn portion control, one of the main challenges for dieters. Take home half your meals from restaurants and make a second meal from the leftovers. Measure your portions at home to be sure you are eating healthy servings.

Eat produce in season – Enjoying watermelon in the heart of winter can be expensive. But when farmers produce an abundance of crops, the cost for consumers drops. In addition to better prices, produce in season provides optimal nutrients and freshness. Pick up a harvest calendar to help you keep track of what fruits and vegetables are in season.

Have any other helpful healthy tips? Share them below!

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