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7 Budget-Friendly Ways to a Healthy Diet
Do you find it difficult to save money on food and eat healthy these days?
It can be discouraging to find that healthy foods get more and more expensive while processed junk foods are always on sale.
The local supermarket sale flyer regularly displays "buy one get one free" deals on soft drinks, canned foods, and packages of cookies.
You'll rarely see those kinds of sales on bags of organic apples or romaine lettuce.
In order to maintain a nutritious, whole food diet while on a budget, you need to strategize a bit.
Think outside of the box and look for more traditional ways of preparing meals instead of modern methods.
Frozen dinners and cheap convenience foods have become the status quo over the years, but going back to basics can be beneficial. Habits like eating produce while it's in season, fermenting your own vegetables, making bone broth, and using leftovers to avoid pricey, unhealthy snacks supports both a healthy body and wallet.
Buy Fruits and Veggies in Season
Although the price increase varies, produce is more expensive when it is purchased out of season.
We forget about the seasons because almost everything is available year-round, but it is better for the earth and the pocketbook to know your seasons!
For example, stocking up on tomatoes in the summer and taking the time to preserve them by freezing or canning drastically lowers your food bill.
Make Bone Broth
Most people have become so used to buying canned broths that they have forgotten what real broth tastes like!
Soups from the store are watered down and contain flavorings and additives that don't support good health like Grandma's chicken soup did.
Instead of adding boneless, skinless chicken breasts to your cart, bring home a whole chicken. Besides having tastier, more nutritious meat, you can use the bones to create a simple broth for vegetables, soups, and rice, stretching that chicken out to create more meals with greater variety.
More on Making Your Own Chicken Broth
- Tips on How to Make Chicken Stock that's Healthy and Delicious
Homemade chicken bone stock is an easy and delicious way to get important nutrients. Use leftover chicken bones to create a rich stock that you can use for sauces, soups, or for cooking vegetables.
Use Leftovers Instead of Snacks
High-carbohydrate snack foods stimulate your appetite, lack nutrients, and add to body fat. Plan snacks using leftovers from last night's dinner.
You can use extra steak or chicken along with a simple homemade caesar salad dressing for a quick, satisfying snack.
Keep that extra little bit of salad and mix it with some leftover meat, vegetables, or a can of tuna. A couple of bites may be just what you need to tide you over until dinner.
Planning ahead for tomorrow's munchies will keep you from visiting the pricey vending machine, helping you to eat healthy and save money on food.
Eggs are Versatile and Still Healthy
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, minerals, and fat-soluble vitamins. They are rich in phosphatidylserine, which helps to maintain a sharp brain.
This low-cost protein can be used for both meals and snacks, making eggs a healthy way to save money on food.
Omelets and frittatas are useful for quick, inexpensive lunches or dinners. Hard-boiled and deviled eggs make for cheap, nutrient-dense snacks.
If recent reports have you confused about whether or not eggs are actually good for you, read Egg Yolk Consumption, Carotid Plaque, and Bad Science by nutritionist and obesity expert Zoë Harcombe. She clears it all up brilliantly.
Use the Water Machine
You should not only eat healthy, but drink healthy as well.
Tap water is often contaminated and foul-tasting. Getting a water filtration system is not always an option, especially if you rent your home. Buying filtered water by the gallon or in smaller bottles can get costly and uses up a lot of plastic.
Most supermarkets have dispensers inside or out in front of their stores. These machines usually have a chart depicting the filtration process. The one I use goes through many steps, including reverse osmosis.
You bring your own bottles to fill, either gallon or five-gallon sizes. The water machine near us charges 25 cents per gallon, which is quite a bit cheaper than the dollar-plus you spend when purchasing the already-bottled water.
Ferment Your Own Foods
Keeping sauerkraut in stock gives you a ready-made vegetable side dish that fits together with any protein, all for the cost of a head of cabbage. One medium to large head of cabbage makes two quarts of sauerkraut.
Yogurt is another product that you can make at home. Homemade yogurt contains more live probiotics and doesn't include the additives and sugar you find in the commercial varieties. If you don't want to add another appliance to your collection, there are several kinds that can be left on the counter top to culture.
More on Fermenting Foods
- Simple Homemade Sauerkraut: Veggies With Probiotic Benefits
Probiotic-rich foods are an important part of a healthy diet. Beneficial bacteria play a vital role in maintaining the digestive tract, supporting the immune system, and keeping the brain sharp and focused.
Grow Your Own When You Can
Not all of us have the inclination or ability to keep a flourishing garden. However, growing potted herbs is pretty simple and can help add some pizzaz and nutrients to your salads and cooked dishes.
Basil is a very simple herb to grow--I know this because my basil plants continue to thrive in spite of me--and can be used to make a quick Caprese salad or pesto.
Mesclun mixes are also easy to grow in pots. Scatter your seeds in a large pot and keep them in a sunny location. Soon, you'll have a potful of fresh, tasty greens!
Just don't forget to water them. That's important!
Save Money AND Eat Healthy!
If you invest a little bit of time and effort, you can maintain a tasty and nutritious diet while on a budget. In spite of rising food prices, you can still eat healthy, even when times are tight and you need to save money on food.