Eating healthy may help you lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, manage medical conditions, and improve your overall health. If you’ve come to believe that eating healthy can’t be affordable though, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are things you can do that will allow you to eat healthier for less money. Find out how you may be able to eat cheap and healthy at the same time by reviewing these 15 tips.
1. Buying in Bulk When Possible
If you’re looking for cheap healthy foods, consider what healthy food items can be purchased in bulk. Items such as whole-grain pasta, rice, and other items will stay good for longer. If you frequently consume dried, non-perishable goods, you can save a lot of money by purchasing these items in bulk when possible.
2. Knowing When to Buy Organic – and When Not To
Affordable foods do include fruits and vegetables. While purchasing organic is a great choice most of the time, organic may not always matter as much as you might believe. For example, organic fruits are those that are free of pesticides. Pesticides are applied directly to the fruit. However, if you are eating fruit with a skin that you do not consume, you can save money by buying those fruits non-organic. This includes foods like oranges and bananas.
3. Avoiding Prepackaged Foods and Convenience Meals
Prepackaged foods and convenience meals, including microwave dinners, are often far more expensive than non-prepared meals that you could make yourself. When choosing healthy meals on a tight budget, it’s essential that you prepare your food and make a meal plan before you shop. While cooking will take up more time, in many cases, your wallet will thank you for it.
4. Knowing When to Buy Frozen Produce Over Fresh
Are you looking for cheap nutritious foods? Don’t skip out on produce. While produce may seem expensive at first glance, it can be affordable if you pay attention to what you’re purchasing and when. When fresh produce is in season, you can acquire it far cheaper than when it is not in season. If you want to buy a fruit or vegetable when it’s out of season, though, you can buy it frozen to save money.
5. Choosing Store Brands When Buying Healthy Foods
Many grocery chains provide healthy cheap diet options through their store brands. More and more grocery stores are including organic and healthy food sections, and you’ll find a lot of their products to choose from. Choosing a store brand over a well-known one may save you a lot of money.
6. Knowing the Unit Price
Do you know what a unit price is? Many Americans don’t. When shopping, looking for the unit price listed on a shelf tag for the item you wish to purchase. The unit price may be by the pound, pint, or ounce. Knowing the unit price will help you compare the cost of the item to other brands of the same item (in the same unit) to help you get the best deal.
7. Writing Your Grocery List Before You Shop
Make a cheap healthy meal plan before you go shopping. Planning out your meals for the week will help you stay on track, ensure that you’re eating healthily, and help you save money when you go to the store. When shopping, always stick to your grocery list and avoid items that you wish to purchase on impulse, even if there’s a sale going on.
8. Cooking at Home Rather Than Eating Out
If you’re looking for cheap nutritious foods, avoid eating out. Not only are fast food and other to-go meals worse for you health-wise, but they’re far more expensive than healthy meals cooked at home.
9. Cooking Larger Portions and Eating the Leftovers
If you want a cheap healthy meal plan but you don’t want to cook every day, try to cook larger portions and then set aside some for now and some for later (as leftovers). Cooking larger quantities can both reduce the amount of time you spend in the kitchen during the week and help you avoid days where you might otherwise order food because you don’t want to cook – since leftovers are ready for you.
10. Not Shopping Hungry
Looking for a healthy cheap diet? Don’t shop hungry. One of the fastest ways to ruin your diet and your grocery list is by going to the grocery store while you’re hungry. You’ll quickly find yourself buying much more than you intended to purchase.
11. Taking Advantage of Coupons and Sales
In addition to planning your grocery list before you shop and sticking to it, take some extra time while preparing to look for coupons or local sales. Taking advantage of deals and coupons in your pre-planned grocery list is a great way to maximize your savings when you shop.
12. Buying Cheaper Cuts of Meat for Your Cheap Healthy Meal Plan
If you’ve planned a cheap healthy meal plan that calls for meat, determine if you can use a more inexpensive cut of meat in the place of a more expensive prime cut. Cheaper cuts of meat are best for recipes such as stir-fries, stews, casseroles, soups, and burritos, where meat is combined with other ingredients.
13. Growing Your Own Produce
Growing your own produce can help you save money while letting you explore a new potential hobby. The type of produce that you can comfortably grow will depend on your home, the climate you live in, the season, and the types of produce you enjoy. Most produce requires minimal effort to grow, and you can save even more by purchasing seeds rather than starter plants.
14. Finding Bargains at Your Local Farmer’s Market
When searching for affordable foods, don’t count your local farmer’s market out. Farmer’s markets are common across the United States during the warmer seasons. These markets are a great way to purchase produce for less while supporting local farmers.
15. Taking Advantage of Cashback Credit Cards
Maybe the cheapest way to eat healthy is to earn cashback on purchases you’d already make, such as groceries. Cashback reward credit cards provide between 1 and 6 percent cashback, on average. For example, if you spend $400 on groceries every month and have a 5 percent cashback credit card, you will earn $20 back from a purchase you were always planning to make. While that may not seem like a lot, it does add up. Rewards of $20/month add up to $240 each year. Look for credit cards that offer these rewards on grocery purchases without charging a high annual fee.