One of the major contributing factors to an unhealthy diet is the misconception that healthy food is expensive. True, packaged food can be cheaper, but the question you need to ask yourself isn’t why healthy food is so expensive but, rather, why unhealthy food is so cheap. The good news is that it’s absolutely possible to eat healthy on a budget. I do it, and I’m a freelancer, so you’ll definitely be able to do it too. Here are 11 tips I can give you:
1. Eat Seasonally
There’s a reason why some fruits and vegetables are more expensive during certain parts of the year. It’s because they not in season and must be shipped in. You’re the one who pays for this. Eating seasonally means that you will save a ton of money whilst still maintaining a healthy diet. In addition, eating seasonal produce can boost your immune system for that particular season.
2. Grow Your Own at Home
Growing a garden may seem impossible if you live in an apartment or somewhere without the luxury of a backyard. There’s options for you. Container gardening has become immensely popular over the last few years and it’s a great way to grow when you don’t have a lot of room. Take advantage of any tiny bit of balcony space you have. In addition, you can grow herbs in your kitchen! Even if you don’t have the space to grow very much, every little bit counts! After all, nothing tastes better than home-grown produce, and it’s an incredibly rewarding experience.
3. Grow Your Own Outside the Home
Not enough space at home? Join a community garden! Not only will you get the space you need to grow your vegetables and fruit, you will meet new people and get some great exercise out of it. As an added bonus, hiring beds are usually pretty cheap. I’ve found that the community spirit within these establishments result in lots of free produce and seedlings from other members.
4. Drink More Water
Did you know that thirst is often mistaken for hunger? In fact, a large portion of the population is often dehydrated, without even knowing it. Drinking more water isn’t only beneficial in and of itself, but it will also help to curb your appetite. Drinking more water will also help to cut down on the amount of money you may be spending on soda. If you’re a fan of bottled water, you can also cut this expenditure down by buying a filter for your kitchen tap. Filters are cheap and will save you money in the long run.
5. Choose Produce Over Packaging
Pre-packaged goods are some of the most unhealthy food items on the market. In addition, they’re often quite expensive. The cheapest and healthiest items can be found in the produce aisle, and this is where the majority of your food intake should come from. I know that packaged items are easier and less of a hassle, but buying fresh will save on your food bills, as well as your medical ones, later in life.
6. Make a Meal Plan
Plan out your meals and snacks ahead of time and make sure that they will fit into your budget. Once you’re at the shops, stick to your plan! If you know that you get tempted by the candy and snack aisles, avoid them! A lot of money disappears through unplanned purchases at the grocery store.
7. Write a Shopping List…
…and stick to it! Just like above, it can be tempting to purchase items on a whim. Do not do it. Most splurge purchases are a waste of money and calories.
8. Shop the Sales
That’s right, this principle doesn’t just apply to clothes and electronics. Check catalogues and websites for weekly sales so you can save money on your groceries. Every penny counts!
9. Cook Big
One of the easiest ways to fall off the health wagon comes from a lack of time. People are busy these days and that can lead to laziness in the kitchen. No judgement–I’m as guilty as anyone else. Hectic days often make us resort to fast food options when it comes to dinner. This is a dangerous road to start going down. Cooking meals in large batches is the answer to this problem. Leftovers can be frozen for a later time, and can be easily defrosted and reheated at your convenience.
10. Get Your Soup Pot Out
Soup is an incredibly cheap way to eat healthily. Not only does it stretch far, but the cheapest cuts of meat are the best for them and you can add in any seasonal vegetables you like. You can further save money by keeping vegetable scraps to make your stock with. Sure, it takes a little extra time but it’s tastier and cuts down on your waste.
11. Buy Locally
Admittedly, buying locally or from farmers markets won’t necessarily be cheaper. However, what you get will be of a far higher quality and will last a great deal longer than store bought produce. In addition, local growers often throw in extras for free when you buy a lot. Support local business, people!