Eating Healthy on a Budget
Trying to make good food choices, yet strapped for cash post holidays? A lot of my clients lament that eating healthy puts a big dent in their paycheck, which it can. Eating healthy takes planning, especially on a budget. Follow my tips below for ideas on maximizing both your dollar and your nutrients.
1. Incorporate vegetarian meals into your weekly routine.
Not a veggie lover? When I say vegetarian, I mean plant protein, not necessarily a bowl full of spinach. Legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils) are one of the cheapest and most nutritious foods out there. If prepared correctly, they can also score high on the taste scale. Check out my vegetarian entrees for some ideas.
2. Create a weekly meal plan and pick one day to do your grocery shopping.
I find planning just 3 meals gets the two of us through 5 days of dinner meals and lunches throughout the week. Once a month, go through your pantry and try and plan your meals around what you already have. Stuck for ideas? Check out one of my previous posts for a spread of weekly meals. This little whiteboard on our pantry door has been helpful for planning (I know, it’s a little over-the-top but has been very helpful in saving us $$$). Using a whiteboard meal plan is also great as the first person home already has a plan to get started on dinner. Unfortunately I’m almost always the first home, but I do enjoy cooking after all 🙂
3. Start bringing your lunch to work.
Many of us forget about the money we spend daily on our lunch or our morning coffee. Even if your lunch is just $5 daily, that amounts to $100/month and $1200/year. Plus, lunch outside of the home tends to struggle on the healthy front. When you’re putting your dinner away from the night before, set some aside in a smaller container for your lunch the next day (and, a great use of leftovers).
Eating Healthy on a Budget
4. Use your freezer.
Do you tend to get to day 3 of leftovers and decide you’re done with it? Put that final serving in a container or freezer bag and have it ready for a late work night when you’d typically stop for take-out. Oh, and use your freezer for grains and nuts. Freezing your bread will stop it from staling and your nuts from going rancid. Toast either when you’re ready to eat them to bring them back to freshness and heighten their flavor.
5. Buy in bulk.
I love the bulk section, especially for my grains and spices. There’s nothing worse that having to spend $10+ to buy the spices for one recipe. Stores such as Whole Foods have a bulk spice section. Next time, when you need that 1/4 tsp of tumeric, you’ll spend twenty cents instead of five dollars. Grains such as rice, oats, quinoa and barley are also nice to buy in bulk because you can buy exactly the amount you need.