“Eating healthy is too expensive.” I hear this all the time and I always respond with the fact that it doesn’t have to be. I fully understand that it can be difficult to eat well, especially when you’re on a tight budget, but there are many ways to save money and still eat whole, nutritious, single-ingredients foods. In my 5+ years of consistent meal planning and prepping, I’ve found numerous tips and tricks to help me save money on healthy food (afterall, sticking to a grocery budget is a BEAUTIFUL thing!).
Here are my top tips that can help you eat healthy while also sticking to your grocery budget.
Plan Your Meals.
Repeat after me, “planning is KEY.” Choose one day each week to set aside time to plan your meals for the week ahead and make a grocery list of what you need. Planning ahead and only purchasing what you know you’re going to use will not only save you money at the store, but it will also help to minimize throwing out spoiled items at the end of the week. And don’t forget to check your fridge and cabinets to see what you already have!
Cook Large Portions and Use Any Leftovers.
To keep your grocery list and meal prep simple, cook one to two large meals each week. This will save you both time AND money and almost guarantees variety throughout the week. My recommendation? Start with something as simple as a rotisserie chicken or shredded chicken breast in the crockpot. The chicken can be used on a salad, in a wrap or burrito, or even soup.
Stop Buying Junk Food.
Easier said than done, right? But what if you actually calculated how much of your grocery bill goes toward paying for soda, crackers, cookies, prepackaged meals, and processed foods each week? My guess is you’d be surprised by the number.
Despite the fact that junk foods offer very little nutrition and are packed with unhealthy ingredients, they are also very expensive. By skipping these foods, you can spend more of your budget on higher quality, healthy foods. My rule of thumb? If I can’t pronounce an ingredient, I certainly don’t want to ingest it.
Shop for Produce That Is In Season.
Produce that is in season is generally cheaper and is usually at its peak in both flavor and nutrients, whereas produce that is out of season is almost always more expensive because it is often transported halfway around the world to get to your store.
Pack Your Lunch.
One of the best things you can do for your budget and your waistline is to pack your lunch. Not only is eating out expensive, but you are less likely to be able to control the foods you’re putting into your body as you’re limited to a restaurant’s menu and cooking methods. Ever notice how you feel less than stellar after eating a meal out? It’s no coincidence and is likely the ingredients they use while cooking your food, mainly excess oil and salt. If you’ve been cooking large meals at home (see above tip), you’ll always have lunch options in the fridge.
What are your favorite tips for eating healthy while sticking to your grocery budget?