Whether you’ve just made the shift to healthy eating, you’re working with a reduced budget, or you’re looking for ways to minimize your grocery bill, you’re likely aware of the high price tag for healthy food.
And let’s be honest, that grocery bill can add up fast!
Fortunately, there’s some good news.
Are you ready for it?
You don’t have to break the bank in order to eat well.
Yes, you read that right!
You just have to shop smart.
And that, my friend, is exactly what I’m here to help you do today.
So if you’re ready to eat healthy on a budget and reduce that weekly grocery bill, then keep reading to learn my 10 best tips!
How To Eat Healthy on a Budget: Top 10 Strategies
1. Eat Healthy On A Budget: Avoid pre-packaged food
Yes, this one might seem like a no-brainer. But there’s a reason I’m putting it at the top of my list.
It’s true that pre-packaged food is convenient. And yes, it often saves time.
But here’s the deal. 99% of the time, that convenience food is also filled with unnatural, unhealthy ingredients (cheese-like product, anyone?)
Let’s take your basic pasta sauce as an example, shall we?
Sure, you could spend $3.99 on a jar of pasta made from tomato puree, diced tomatoes, sugar, canola oil, dehydrated onions, and flavor extracts. You could then throw it on the stove and spend 5 minutes heating it up.
Or, you could make your own healthy version – with zero added sugars – for about half the price (or less!). Here’s how:
Simple Pasta Sauce
- 2 tbls. of olive oil
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 2 tbls. minced garlic
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbls. Italian seasoning
- salt to taste (I usually use 1/3-1/2 tsp.)
- Heat oil in a large skillet.
- Sautés onion and garlic in oil until soft and translucent.
- Add tomatoes and seasoning.
- Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
By spending a few more minutes in the kitchen (literally), you can drastically reduce your grocery bill while removing unnecessary additives from your diet.
Can I get a heck yes?!
2. Eat Healthy On A Budget: Buy Produce In Season
When you purchase food in season, you not only buy what is more readily available (thus lowering the price tag), you also buy food that is fresher and more flavorful.
Plus, there are more nutrients in the in-season foods.
For example, as the Cleveland Clinic reports, spinach can provide three times more vitamin C when it’s consumed in season (September through October) than other times of the year. Wow!
Not sure what’s in season? No problem! I got you covered.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Clementines, Grapefruit, Kale, Leeks, Lemons, Mushrooms, Oranges, Papayas, Parsnips, Pears, Sweet potatoes, Tangerines, Turnips
Apricots, Artichokes, Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower, Cherries, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Parsnips, Pineapples, Radishes, Spring Peas, Swiss Chard, Zucchini
Apricots, Apples (late summer) Blueberries, Butternut Squash (late summer) Cantaloupe, Cherries, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant (late summer), Green Beans, Kiwi, Lettuce, Mangoes, Okra, Peaches, Peppers, Plums, Raspberries, Strawberries, Summer Squash, Swiss chard, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Zucchini
Acorn squash, Apples, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Butternut squash, Cantaloupe, Cauliflower, Cranberries, Eggplant, Figs, Grapes, Green beans, Leeks, Lettuce, Mangoes, Mushrooms, Okra, Parsnips, Peppers, Pomegranates, Pumpkins, Spinach, Sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, Tomatoes, Turnips, Winter squash
3. Eat Healthy On A Budget: Raid the Pantry Week
Once per month, challenge yourself to use up everything you have in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer, to make your week of meals. This is a great way to clean out those bags of frozen veggies, cook your whole grains and beans in bulk, make an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink vegetable soup, etc.
Not only is this a great way to save money, it also clears out your space for new, fresh foods the following week!
4. Eat Healthy On A Budget: Go Frozen
Another great way to eat healthy on a budget is to use frozen fruits and vegetables.
Frozen produce is picked at its prime and either flash-frozen or heated and packaged immediately, so it maintains all of its healthy nutrients.
What’s more, that frozen bag of veggies has a much longer shelf life than the fresh bag in your refrigerator. And that means less food waste and more money saved. Yes, please!
5. Eat Healthy On A Budget: Buy in Bulk
When items that you regularly use go on sale, stock up!
I do this frequently when meat is on sale since I can easily store the extra in the freezer. Other items purchased in bulk include cans of beans, peanut butter, coffee, etc.
Since you know you’ll be using the items eventually, you might as well stock up and save money in the process!
6. Eat Healthy On A Budget: Cook at Home
This one might seem like a no brainer, but it’s important to remember nevertheless.
Cook at home as much as possible. Seriously – the amount of money you save is unbelievable.
Case in point: my husband and I went out to eat at PF Changs a few weeks ago. Ryan ordered egg rolls, a main entree, and a beer. I ordered a main entree and water.
The total came to $55 before tip.
I then went to the grocery store the next day, and I bought our entire week of groceries – 21 meals – for under $100.
Seriously. Cook at home. Not only do you save enormous amounts of money, but you also know exactly what foods you’re putting in your body.
7. Eat Healthy On A Budget: Embrace Leftovers
My dad always says, “I love leftovers. It’s like eating for free the second night!”
And honestly, I feel the same way.
While you’re not technically eating for free, cooking in bulk saves both time and money, which is a double win in my book.
What’s more, leftovers are generally ready to eat in just a few minutes; this is especially helpful on busy weeknights when you’d otherwise fight the temptation to grab takeout on your way home from work.
8. Eat Healthy On A Budget: Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry
This is one I often forget, and I pay the price because of it.
When we grocery shop hungry, we often have a harder time sticking to our healthy grocery list. Instead, we make impulse purchases, we eat with our eyes, and we let our cravings get the best of us.
If you’re feeling a bit hungry before shopping, grab a piece of string cheese, some almonds, or a cup of yogurt, to hold you over before you run those errands.
9. Eat Healthy On A Budget: Plan a Week’s Worth of Meals
Look at your schedule for the coming week, and then spend some time mapping out your menu for each evening.
First of all, this simple step helps remove the stress from the after work dinner rush.
What’s more, it also allows you to strategically plan your menu by buying in bulk and reusing ingredients several times throughout the week.
10. Eat Healthy On A Budget: Meal Prep – Meal Prep – Meal Prep!
On Sunday (or whatever day you prefer) take some time to prepare ingredients for the week ahead.
Brown up some ground meat. Chop your veggies. Prepare hard boiled eggs etc.
When combined with tip 9 above, this simple habit has so many powerful benefits. Not only do you reduce your workload for busy weeknights, but you also remove the temptation to order takeout since dinner is already prepared. Woohoo!
Need some tips on crushing your meal prep? You got it! Snag your free meal prep planner here! Eat healthy on a budget while also saving time! What more could you ask for?