Many people believe that you have to spend lots of money to eat healthy. However, that doesn’t have to be the case.
On the contrary, the cost of not-so-healthy fast food, convenience meals, and snacks can stack up pretty quickly and become very expensive over time.
In my personal experience, I’ve also found that eating healthy can actually save money in the long run, especially if you stick to a few key principles when shopping for, selecting, and preparing your food.
Here are few simple tips that can help you save money while eating healthy.
Stick To Seasonal Produce
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are often fresher, more flavorful, and more affordable than foods that are produced out of season.
This is because these seasonal ingredients are harvested at peak ripeness and not transported nearly as far, minimizing the amount of time it takes to travel from the farm to your grocery store shelf.
There are plenty of online guides that detail which fruits and vegetables are in season near you. You can also get a good idea of which foods are in season by visiting your local farmers market to check out what’s available.
Many grocery stores offer products in both generic and name-brand varieties.
Opting for generic brands instead of name brands is a simple way to save money without compromising on quality.
Generic brand foods are usually comparable to name-brand versions in terms of safety, quality, and nutritional value.
However, it’s always a good idea to compare the list of ingredients and nutrition labels on your favorite branded products with those of generic versions before you purchase them.
Practice Meal Planning
Planning out your meals in advance is a smart way to save both time and money.
Try creating a weekly meal plan, drafting a shopping list, and setting aside a specific time to prep your meals for the next week.
One of my favorite methods for meal planning is to find a few recipes that use a similar set of ingredients to rotate between during the week.
I like to focus on a few ingredients with a shorter shelf life, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and switch between various whole grains, legumes, spices, and seasonings for each meal.
This can help streamline your shopping list while also adding plenty of diversity to your diet, as each day you’re enjoying ingredients in new and interesting ways.
Cook At Home
Cooking your own food at home instead of dining at restaurants or purchasing prepackaged meals is one of the easiest and most effective ways to eat healthy on a budget.
In fact, a single meal at a restaurant typically costs much more than purchasing the ingredients you need to prepare your own food at home.
Plus, with additional fees like delivery fees, service charges, and tips, the cost of dining out or ordering takeout can quickly add up.
Preparing your own food also gives you complete control of what you’re putting on your plate. This makes it easier to include more fresh, whole foods in your diet.
It also helps decrease your intake of added sugar, salt, and artificial ingredients.
Eat More Plant-Based Proteins
Plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, and tempeh are often much cheaper than animal proteins like meat, fish, and poultry.
Plus, these foods are rich in protein, fiber, and a variety of other essential vitamins and minerals. They’re easy to incorporate into recipes like casseroles, soups, salads, and stir-fries.
Keep in mind that eating more plant-based proteins doesn’t mean you need to become a full-fledged vegan or cut out animal products from your diet altogether.
If you eat meat now and want to start eating more plant-based protein, consider swapping plant-based proteins into your diet just a few times per week. This will help you save some money and reduce your consumption of meat.
A flexitarian diet like this encourages eating mostly plant-based but also allows you to eat animal-based foods here and there.
Although many people believe that eating healthy can be expensive, this isn’t necessarily true.
In fact, following a healthy, well-rounded diet can actually save you money in the long run.
Try practicing a few of the tips outlined above, which can make it easier than ever to eat healthy without breaking the bank.