Healthy Eating on a Budget: Simple tips and strategies you can start implementing today to save money and still eat healthy on a budget.
Are you desiring to eat healthy?
Maybe you feel like eating healthy is expensive?
Are you looking to cut back on your grocery budget?
Do you feel like meals on a budget consist of ramen, canned tuna, or beans and rice?
Eating healthy does not mean deprivation for your taste buds or a strain on your wallet!!
At the heart of my cooking is using whole foods while staying on a budget.
Stick with me and I will show you how to maximize your ingredients and minimize your time in the kitchen and food waste. Because let’s be honest—good food is too good to waste!
Eating Healthy on a Budget
My most important tip for healthy eating on a budget: MEAL PLANNING
For years, I sent meal plans out to my family.
It started when my mom said she was overwhelmed with having to think about what to cook for dinner after going back to work.
So I just started to email her my meal plan for the week.
She LOVED it so much she sent it to my aunt who sent it along to her friends and everyone started to request this meal plan.
Why? It was easy to follow, featured inexpensive healthy meals, and bottom line–it saved them all money.
That is the reason I started blogging–to share my tips on how to eat healthy on a budget with others.
But back to the meal planning. When I create meal plans for the week, I take inventory of what I already have in my pantry, grocery sales, seasonal produce, and how to use one ingredient and change it into three or four meals–like I did when I turned my holiday ham into 7 meals or when I use taco meat to make four different recipes.
I plan out the week of healthy recipes and then make my grocery list.
A meal plan is CRUCIAL to saving money and sucessfully eating healthy on a budget.
And if meal planning is overwhelming to you, as it was my mom–sign up for my plan. It is my gift to you.
Tip #2 for How to Eat Healthy on a Budget: Keep frozen fruits and vegetables stocked in freezer.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthier if not healthier than fresh produce, according to many studies.
And they are often MUCH cheaper than fresh produce.
While I love fresh strawberries for my Greek Yogurt Chocolate Strawberry Bites and fresh spinach for Spinach Lemon Quinoa Salad, their frozen counterparts can easily be substituted in Skinny Spinach Dip and Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups.
A huge money saving tip is that frozen chopped peppers are MUCH cheaper than fresh peppers in the winter months.
One of my favorite frozen blends to have is 3 pepper and onion blend– it is great to have on hand for fajitas and Chili and much cheaper than fresh.
You can read more about what I keep stocked in my freezer here.
Tip #3 for Healthy Meals on a Budget: Start a Meatless Monday tradition.
Meat is often very expensive.
By commiting to at least one day of a meatless meal, you will not only save money, but eating a meatless meal is good for your body too.
Another tip is to cutting back on the grocery budget is instead of using the full amounts of meat called for in a casserole, soup, or stew, increase the vegetables or beans by up to 3 times and decrease the amount of meat drastically. This lessens not only the saturated fat, but also cuts the cost of the meal!!
Some of my favorite easy, family pleasing Meatless meals are:
Tip #4 for Meals on a Budget: Make your own.
I love Larabars. I hate the price tag. But homemade larabars save me more than 75% and only take minutes to make.
Some of my favorite homemade versions of store bought grocery items are:
- Homemade Chicken Stock–I make this with actual kitchen scraps!
- Homemade bread crumbs: Whirl stale bread around in food processor. Place in freezer bag—whole wheat bread crumbs at moment’s notice!
- Homemade Marinara
- Homemade Bread–this is a HUGE money saver for us as to buy bread that is not filled with preservatives is very expensive.
- Homemade Rotisserie Chicken
- Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups
- Homemade Granola
- Homemade Popcorn
Tip #5 for Eating Healthy on a Budget:
Use what you have!
This goes back to the fact that when I meal plan I take inventory of my pantry, fridge and freezer and use what I need to.
Not only does this cut back on food waste, it also helps me make healthy recipes while still minding my budget.
I have gotten really good at freezing leftovers and making nothing out of something–like chicken stock from kitchen scraps.
Check out 20 Things to Freeze you didn’t know you could freeze–that are guarenteed to save you MONEY!!!
And my final tip for How to Eat Healthy on a Budget: Enjoy the Process.
If you are cooking meals your family dosen’t like or take you hours in the kitchen, you will BURN out quickly.
I have a huge list of 30 Minute Easy Healthy Family-Friendly Recipes that are a great place to get inspiration.
I also love to think of my grocery budget as a challenge. And if I can stay under my monthly goal, I reward myself with something small–or wait until the end of the year and make a larger purchase of something I have had my eye on for a long time. Anything to keep me motivated to eat healthy while still saving my family money.