People desire to eat healthy, majority desire to eat healthy on a budget. It is no secret that buying vegetables and fruits can be more expensive than buying junk and fast food sometimes.
Even when we make plans and decide to start eating healthy, a few days in most of us give up because we realize it is clearly not sustainable.
We just cannot afford to live that way and spend all our money on food when there are a million bills we need to pay.
I have experienced these struggles and it led me to figure out the best way to eat healthy on a budget which I will share with you below.
11 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget
Meal planning is as straightforward as it sounds. It simply means planning your meals or that of your family members ahead of time. It involves planning a number of your meals. This act of meal planning can significantly influence and affect a healthy eating habit.
Meal planning does not just relate to what foods will be eaten it can also involve what snacks will be consumed and in what quantity will these foods and snacks be taken. Quantity and portion control is a part of meal planning.
Often, people who plan their meals don’t just decide what foods they will be eating. They prepare the foods and snacks. Put them in Tupperware, ensuring that they are available before it is time to eat them.
Eating healthy, sticking to a diet and portion control aren’t the easiest things to do, however, planning increases your chances of sticking to your diet.
People who wait till they get ravenous before they eat are more likely to deviate from their diets. These people get so hungry that their brains will convince them to eat anything they see regardless of the content.
This is the easiest way to fall off the wagon. When planning your meals, you should plan for a couple of days at a time.
Overplanning can have the opposite effect, you might start to feel robotic and too scheduled, igniting a desire to deviate and eat something else.
The freshness of your meal is also a factor. If you plan too many meals, you will end up eating meals that aren’t as fresh down the line.
If you work long hours like me, you’d appreciate meal planning. You can make your lunches and snacks, pack them up and take them to work. This should discourage you from visiting that restaurant and eating anything on the menu.
Eating healthy on a budget can feel like a challenge, but meal planning gives you some tools you need to win.
Planning your meals will save you a lot of money, help you gain clarity on what you will be eating for a duration and also encourage intentional shopping. This brings me to the second point.
Make a Shopping List and Stick to it
Shopping isn’t a favourite thing to do for many people. Some people do not even know what they should be buying when they go shopping.
In my experience, people stop at the supermarket and grocery stores to buy thing out of convenience. They see it on their way home and decide to make a stop.
However, this is not the most effective way to shop because more often than not when you fail to plan for your shopping ahead of time, you will forget important things you need to purchase.
Supermarkets and grocery stores are designed to suggest things to us right from the door.
They manipulate our senses and psychology and that explains why most times after a grocery run, you end up with numerous items you never planned to purchase.
Shopping without a list encourages aimless shopping. Aimless shopping negatively affects your diet and makes it difficult for you to eat healthy on a budget.
You will purchase things you do not need and fail to buy those that you need for your diet. If you fail to buy the right things you have successfully started the first step to failing on your diet.
As a raring List maker and lover, I make lists for everything. From shopping lists to daily to-do lists. Making lists keeps me organized and productive and I love it. Nothing gives me a greater reward than checking items off my list after I have done what needs to be done.
If you desire to eat healthy on a budget, you must make a list before you visit the store. This gives you a sense of direction and it makes it easier for you to turn away from distractions while shopping.
Stick to your list, avoid buying non-compliant foods and make it easier for yourself to eat healthy and stick to a diet.
Don’t Shop While Hungry
Do not do it, it’s a trap! Abort mission, Abort mission over!
Anytime you want to go shopping and you discover that you are hungry, I hope my voice rings in your ear telling you to abort the mission.
Going to the grocery store famished makes it more difficult for you to maintain your self-control.
At this point, your brain is basically throwing suggestions at you, these suggestions often involve quick fixes.
Eating healthy on a diet requires you to be thinking clearly when you need to make shopping decisions.
Your decision-making ability should not be impaired while shopping.
Have you ever heard the phrase “ I bought it out of hunger” or “I bought it with hungry eyes”? From personal experience, I can tell you that I have made totally unnecessary buys because I was hungry while shopping.
At this point, my eyes scan through and my brain suggests different things to me and since I’m hungry my will powers is significantly diminished making it easier for me to fall into temptation.
Do you want to eat healthy on a budget? Then don’t shop hungry, I’ll tell you this for free, it’s a bad move.
Shop at the Farmers Market
We all know the supermarkets in our neighbourhood. We’ve shopped enough to tell the ones that are expensive and the cheaper ones.
Even without deciding to intentionally, our mind makes these comparisons and we are often right.
However, if you aren’t sure, you can ask your neighbours which grocery store they think is more expensive and why.
In my neighbourhood, I have 2 preferred stores that I visit. I know which one to go to if I need to buy healthy food options at an affordable rate and the one that sells cheap household items.
This knowledge has saved me a lot of money over time.
You can also opt to shop at the local farmers market around you for the best prices.
When you shop local, you buy things cheaper—save money, support local businesses instead of large corporations, and get fresher food items.
There are no farmer’s markets around me, but I do not hesitate to visit and do some healthy food shopping at the best prices whenever I have the chance.
Shopping local helps you build and support your community, make friends and connections and also eat healthy on a budget.
Cook At Home
Some people don’t like cooking even though they know how to. Some others do not know the first thing about cooking, making it difficult to eat healthy on a budget.
My advice to the people who know how to cook but don’t enjoy it is, you don’t have to enjoy it, you just have to do it.
Make it a task if you may, but you need to do it for yourself.
For the ones who cannot cook, be grateful for the internet age, there are a thousand and one ways you can learn to cook. A lot of people offer recipes online for free.
You can make use of follow-along cooking videos on YouTube and become a MasterChef in no time.
Cooking gives you the control you need over your meals. When you cook your meals you determine the ingredients you’ll add as well as the quantity.
You also decide the method of preparation you should use to prepare your meal.
This alternative is definitely cheaper than buying healthy food from restaurants.
Cooking the meal to your tastes and to serve your purposes, having it ready when you need it and saving money is a great way to eat healthy on a budget.
Cook In Large Quantities
The whole idea of meal planning is that you get to plan your meals, this means you can afford to cook in bulk.
Cooking in large quantities will save your time and money, it is definitely a hack for eating on a budget.
After shopping and planning your meals, you can prepare them in large quantities and set them out for when you need to eat.
My greatest problem on a diet was, cooking a pot of food and only eating a little out of the pot. I knew I’d be tempted to return for second and third helpings.
However, I wasn’t meal planning then, now, it is easier to cook in bulk, save time and resources and have my meal for a few days ready in advance.
Cooking in large quantities is a great way to eat healthy on a budget.
Grow Your Own Food
Word around town is that gardening is great. It makes you connect with the earth and gives you a sense of pride when you grow food from scratch.
Gardening is a survival skill that everybody needs. Imagine being apple to grow your own supple, succulent tomatoes, yummmmmy!
You can start small, just plant one vegetable, take care of it and let’s see how it does.
Growing your own food is a life hack that will help you eat healthy on a budget.
It offers you the best chance of actually eating fresh and healthy vegetable without any added preservatives.
When my grandmother was alive she was a farmer. She planted everything from vegetables to legumes and definitely rice. It saved us money and gave us options.
We had access to seasonal foods that were difficult to find and often had neighbours asking to be given one foodstuff or the other.
In addition, the excess was sold at the local market and it was a great source of extra income as well.
If you don’t have the first clue about gardening and planting food, there are resources online that can teach you the first steps and point you in the right direction.
Eliminate the junk
Junk is the enemy, not just to your body and health but also to your wallet.
Do you ever wonder why you can eat a plate of food and you’re full for a couple of hours but when you eat junk, you can eat 3 large bags of chips and you won’t even know when you’d finish the third bag?
Junk is designed to elicit further cravings the more you indulge. If you monitor your finance, you’d notice that the amount spent weekly to purchase junk food often adds up to a lot of money.
Money that could have put to more productive use than using it to buy things that will damage our bodies.
In conclusion, Junk is bad for your wallet and your body, stay away! If you want to eat healthy on a budget, eliminating junk is the best way to go.
Don’t waste food
Every time I want to waste food, I hear my mothers’ voice scolding me. She really hates wastage and as an adult, I’ve come to hate it too.
What is the point of spending my hard-earned money to buy and make food that I’ll end up trashing and wasting?
Meal planning will help you avoid waste by helping you measure the quantity of food you need to make for a particular period of time.
When you do not waste food, you will not need to go shopping often except when you are dealing with highly perishable food items.
Planning your meals and saving money requires proper storage. Almost all the points raised in this article require proper storage to work.
You should purchase Tupperware and plastic storage plates that can be used to pack your meals after you’ve prepared them.
If you don’t have a refrigerator that means you can’t cook in bulk because you won’t be able to effectively store them leaving you with a lot of wasted food.
Getting a refrigerator might seem expensive in the short term. However, in the long term, it will serve as an investment and a great way to eat healthy on a budget.
Buy affordable healthy foods
Sometimes people make eating healthy an expensive ordeal that they cannot sustain.
Buying healthy and affordable food options is a more sustainable approach to eating healthy.
There are available alternatives for some foods we consume, e.g. when buying leafy vegetables, if spinach is quite expensive but Kale is reasonably cheaper, you can opt to buy Kale instead.
The same goes for seasonable fruits and exotic fruits. Knowing the alternatives for certain fruits and vegetables that will still get you to your diet goals and destination will help you save money and eat on a budget.
In conclusion, there are hacks and tips that you can apply to make your plans to eat healthy on a diet a successful one. It requires tact and proper planning. Above all, you will get your results at the end of the day.
You should also Read: 10 Benefits Of Drinking Cucumber Juice Every Day
If you have any comments or questions about this topic, don’t hesitate to share. Remember, you can always talk to me.