Do you want to eat healthy, but think it’s going to be way too expensive? Come see how to eat healthy on a budget! You’ll be amazed at how you can still save money while eating healthy.
It’s too bad that so many people think that eating healthy is out of their reach. When we switched to a heart healthy diet, I was already following a plan to save money at the grocery store. The good news is, that plan didn’t have to change! It’s definitely possible to eat healthy while still saving money.
I’ve already written several posts on how to do that, so I decided it would be easier for you if I summed them all up in one place. Of course, you can click on the links to the posts if you want to read more detailed information about that topic.
How to Eat Healthy On a Budget When Buying Meat
There are 5 different ways to save money when buying meat.
1. Buy meat when it’s on sale or after the holidays. Look for sales in the weekly store circulars and stock up on meat when it goes on sale. The days after holidays are a great time to shop for sales on meat. On the day after Thanksgiving, you can find great sales on turkey; and after Easter and Christmas, you’ll find great sales on ham.
2. Stretch the meat. Eat the proper portions of meat. That is a size of a deck of cards for lean meat or poultry, and the size of a checkbook for fish. Also, eating leftovers or using the meat for making more than one dinner/lunch is another way to help stretch the meat and your money.
3. Finding deals on meat. Many stores will mark down meat that will expire soon. As long as you freeze it or cook it before the expiration date, it’s fine.
4. Save money by how you prepare meat. When a recipe calls for cooked diced chicken, instead of buying pre-cut, pre-cooked chicken, just cook a couple of chicken breasts, and cut them up yourself to use in your recipe.
5. Buy meat at a wholesale club. Fresh and frozen meat is cheaper and higher grade at a wholesale club. I’m able to find lower % fat ground beef there, than I can find in the store. I also buy my chicken breasts, salmon, and tilapia there. I like it because they’re frozen individually so I only have to thaw out what we’re going to eat.
How to Eat Healthy On a Budget When Buying Produce
There are 4 different ways to save money when buying produce.
1. Prep your own produce. It’s so tempting to just pick up a bag of ready-to-eat salad, but it’s much cheaper and tastier to make a salad yourself. Buying pre-cut celery, apples, baby carrots, etc. also adds up. So, it’s much cheaper to buy whole produce in bulk and cut it up yourself.
2. Tips for selecting produce. Purchase the produce that’s in season. It’s nice and fresh because it’s from a local source. I always plan what vegetables I’m going to make, according to what’s on sale in that week’s store circulars. If you can eat the amount of produce sold in bulk bags, it’s much cheaper. I always buy a 10 pound bag of potatoes when it’s on sale and then use it in multiple recipes throughout the month.
3. How to avoid wasting your produce. When you make your grocery shopping list, think about how many of each produce your family will consume for that time period, and only buy that amount. Look at your produce drawer before making your grocery list and see what you already have. Then, plan your list accordingly.
4. Grow your own produce. We have several fruit trees: oranges, apples, apricots and nectarines. We also grow grapes. In the past, we’ve grown zucchini, green beans, and tomatoes. Nothing beats the taste of homegrown produce! Plus, buying a seed or starter plant is much cheaper than buying the produce in the store.
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Here are some products to help you save money on meat and produce:
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How to Eat Healthy On a Budget When Buying Dairy Products
There are 5 different ways to save money when buying dairy products.
1. Save money on milk. We’ve found that Costco has the best tasting milk, and Walmart is second. Costco milk is much cheaper because 2 gallons cost the same amount as one gallon at most other stores. Look for the milk that won’t expire for awhile, so it won’t go bad before you can use it.
2. Save money on yogurt. Yogurt often goes on sale and has coupons, so always look out for that. Almost every week, either my youngest son’s yogurt, or mine has coupons in the Sunday paper or online.
3. Save money on cheese. Buy cheese from the dairy case rather than the deli or gourmet section. The same exact cheese is much cheaper in the dairy case, sometimes up to 63% less! Block cheese is usually less expensive than shredded cheese. Sometimes shredded cheese even costs double what a block of cheese does! Just grate it yourself, or use a food processor.
4. Save money on eggs. Eggs can go on sale for a really low price, so keep your eye out on the sales. Even the omega-3 eggs that I buy at Sprouts, goes on sale every few weeks, so I always make sure and buy some then. Eggs last for 3 to 5 weeks after you buy them, so you’re sure to use them by then.
5. Save money by buying store brand. It’s okay to buy store brand dairy products. Both brand-name and store-brand products have to meet USDA requirements. So, there’s no reason to spend extra money for the brand-name when the products are almost exactly the same.
How to Eat Healthy On a Budget When Buying Treats
There are 5 different ways to save money when buying treats.
1. Choose healthier treats. Fruits and vegetables are inexpensive, especially when you purchase them when they’re on sale. Pretzels and popcorn kernels are already priced pretty inexpensively. Crackers are usually on sale for $1.69 and when there’s a coupon for $1.00 off 2, that means each box of crackers is only $1.19 each. Rice cakes usually go on sale for $0.99.
2. Make your own treats. It’s cheaper, and healthier to make your own cookies, brownies, ice pops, popsicles, or smoothies. You can modify the recipes to make them healthier. You can also make your own tortilla chips and pita chips. I also make my own hummus to go along with them.
3. Compare brand names vs. store names. Store name crackers, pretzels, graham crackers, chips, vanilla wafers and cookies can be less than half the cost of the brand names. When the brand name crackers go on sale, and I can combine the sale with a coupon, I will buy the name brand because with that combination of deals, they’re lower than the store brand.
4. Don’t buy the 100-calorie packs. I know it’s tempting because they’re just the right size and they’re convenient, but they are much more expensive! It can cost 4 times as much! You can buy a regular box of crackers, pretzels, chips, etc. and portion out the amount yourself. You can make enough for the whole week in a short amount of time.
5. Save on beverages. Cutting down on the amount of sodas and juice that you drink is a good way to save money on beverages, and better for your health too. 100% fruit juice goes on sale often. If there aren’t sales on juice, then the frozen concentrate is the most cost effective choice. It doesn’t take very long to make and your kids can even help stir it. It’s also much cheaper to just drink tap/filtered water from home, rather than buying water bottles.
Here are some products to help you save money on dairy products and treats:
It’s great to know there are so many ways to help you eat healthy on a budget. You just need to look for sales, make some items yourself, be willing to buy store brands, and use reusable items to help you save as much as you can on your grocery bill.
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