Friday, August 9, 2013

Eating Healthy on a Budget: 9 Tips

Sometimes one of the hardest things about eating healthy is the grocery store. A complaint that many people have (including me), is that healthy food is too expensive. Without going into a long speech, the key is that if you really want to make your health a priority, you have to sacrifice. Yes, healthy food is expensive, but buying it is a sacrifice worth making. Aside from that, there are some tricks I've learned about eating healthy on a budget.

1. Plan out meals before going to the grocery store. This is huge! Fresh produce goes bad, so you need to know exactly what you're going to eat so you don't buy too much.

2. Pick only one new food to try per grocery store visit. This may not be relevant to some people, but I'm the kind of person who loves trying out new healthy foods. If I set a limit for myself of only one just-for-fun food, I don't go overboard with the new granola bars, crackers, and fruit chips that catch my eye.

3. Bring a limited amount of money with you. If you only want to spend $20 on groceries, only bring $20 with you. You'll be sure to buy only what you need since your money is limited.

4. Keep an eye on the fresh produce you've bought so you eat it before it's overripe. I'm the worst person for buying a bunch of tomatoes, and only using one before they all go bad. I just forget what I have! Meal planning will help a lot with this, because you won't be as inclined to accidentally neglect your fresh food.

5. Buy produce in varying stages of freshness. This tip has helped me a lot. If you buy multiple avocados or bananas, for example, you don't want them to all get ripe at the same time, forcing you to eat copious amounts of that particular food in a short period of time before it goes bad.

6. Watch for sales on more expensive produce items. Where I live, fruits like blueberries or cherries tend to be a little more expensive. If I don't need them for a specific recipe, I hold off on buying them until they go in sale, making sure to keep up-to-date with the sales by checking in the advertisements that come with the newspaper.

7. Freeze your own fruit for smoothies. Frozen fruit gets expensive, so when fresh fruit is on sale, buy it in larger quantities. Chop up what you can't eat before it's too ripe, stick it in a zip-lock baggie, and toss it in the freezer.

8. Grow it yourself. While not everyone has this option, this will definitely save you a lot of money. At the very least, you can buy potted herbs you can put in your kitchen. Potted vegetable plants are also easy to put on your patio.

9. You don't need to shop at Whole Foods. The last thing I want is for people to think that you need to shop at fancy healthy stores to eat right. Yes, Whole Foods is a good store. Personally, I love wandering around in there. However! It is expensive and you can still buy good produce and other healthy food at your normal grocery store.

Those are the top nine recommendations I have for eating healthy with a limited amount of money. A healthy lifestyle is completely feasible for almost anyone, as long as you have your priorities set right.

What would you add to this list? What do you do to stay healthy on a budget?

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