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Eating Healthy on a Budget

Updated on June 12, 2011

Attempting to balance your diet and your checkbook at the same time can be a trying ordeal. Use these four simple tips to help you make healthy, financially sound choices at the grocery store.

How to Eat Healthy On a Budget

1) Buy in bulk. As much as you can, shop for larger sizes of relatively non-perishable items (like ketchup and low-fat peanut butter) and dry goods (like brown rice and whole wheat flour). After the initial investment, different foodstuffs will be used up at different rates, and you will no longer have to pick up every single staple every week. In addition, having plenty of healthy options at your fingertips will make you less likely to go out for dinner because you are out of something, saving both your calorie budget and monetary budget from busting.

2) Scan for savings. Just because you are used to a certain brand or variety of a given food doesn't mean that is what you have to pick up every time. Companies count on product recognition to hook you into grabbing their products off the shelves without comparing prices. Look for sales on comparable items, and check the price per ounce against the generic grocery store brand to be sure you're getting the best deal.

3) Eat in season. Fresh fruits and vegetables can take a toll on your pocketbook, but they are essential to a healthy diet. Produce is cheaper when it is plentiful-in other words, when it is in season. For a list of what's best (and cheapest) when, check out these monthly lists for Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. Eat as much as you can raw to get the best nutritional value (and taste!), then get creative with the rest: smoothies, desserts, stir-fries, casseroles. The risk of eating only what's in season is that you may get some flavor fatigue, but variety in cooking methods and combinations help to break up the monotony and stave off tastebud boredom.

4) Make the most of your meats. Getting enough protein is vital to your body's and brain's functioning. Meat can be pricey, so it's important to be conscious of your choices. Once again, buying larger sizes can save you money, so make sure what you buy is versatile enough to use for more than one meal. Lean ground beef, ground turkey, and boneless skinless chicken breasts are all healthy choices with endless culinary options, and you can always set aside part to be frozen in an freezer-safe zipper bag. When it comes time to cook, make your meat go farther by adding other ingredients: mix rolled oats into your ground meat for burgers, stir fry your chicken with fresh veggies and serve over plenty of brown rice.

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    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Very good tips and important to everyone in today's economy.

    • DarleneMarie profile image

      DarleneMarie 

      9 years ago from USA

      Eating healthier is not always the least expensive route; however, you have some great suggestions and tips on how to achieve the task!

    • abalinga profile image

      abalinga 

      10 years ago from South Australia

      Good Hub. Thanks.

    • profile image

      vijayanths 

      10 years ago

      nice hub with very useful tips, I really enjoyed reading this one.thanks.

    • Jason Stanley profile image

      Jason Stanley 

      10 years ago

      Maddie,

      We lived in Saigon for a couple years and most our cook practiced very much what you suggest here. It worked very well. We ate great fresh food, on a low budget and it was clearly a very healthy as well. Good post.

      Jason

    • adventure profile image

      adventure 

      10 years ago from U.S.A.

      Great info. Important, too. If it's too expensive, that's one more excuse people will use to eat Pop Tarts instead of real fruit.

    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 

      10 years ago from United States

      Maddie, I agree with your point #4. I am getting ready to make a chicken tonight - it is amazing that an entire (fresh) chicken can go on sale for $4.00 - and you can eat of off it for a few days.

      Nice hub!

    • BipO Lars profile image

      BipO Lars 

      10 years ago from Lake Stevens, WA

      Great tips. I really enjoyed this hub.

    • Sybille Yates profile image

      Sybille Yates 

      10 years ago

      One additional tip regarding chicken: Often it is cheaper to buy a big whole chicken and cut it in pieces and freeze what you don't need immidiately then to buy all "ready made". This you you also get bones for homemade stock ;-) SY

    • C.S.Alexis profile image

      C.S.Alexis 

      10 years ago from NW Indiana

      Nice hub. The benefits go far beyond a monetary value. I think you were right on with these 4 tips.

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