Jan 8, 2014

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How To Eat Healthy On A Budget

How To Eat Healthy On A BudgetTo compliment a healthy lifestyle, clean and fresh foods are essential; but what if the rising prices of food is keeping you from doing just that?  Nowadays, many families are finding ways to cut back in their budget, which tends to include the grocery bill.  Typically, when you think about eating on a budget you think about fast food, packaged and processed items and other non-healthy products.   But what if there were a way to eat healthy on a budget?  In this article, we will give you some of the tips and tools on how to eat healthy on a budget.

 

 

Frozen vs. Fresh Vegetables (and Fruits)

 Sure, fresh vegetables and fruits are the best and most nutritious way of eating, but always buying fresh can become expensive overtime.  Not to mention, fresh produce, if not stored right, goes bad and rots in your refrigerator or on the kitchen counter.  The alternative and cheaper way of purchasing theses items is to go down your grocery store’s freezer aisle.  That’s right!  You read right, the freezer aisle!  Here you will find frozen vegetables and fruits at a much more reasonable price that taste and are just as fresh as the alternative carrot or blueberry in the produce section.  Frozen produce items are picked at their most ripest time, making them very nutritious and then frozen to preserve their value.  Below is a list of some of the best fruits and vegetables to purchase in the freezer section:

  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Leafy Greens
  • Berries – Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries
  • Bananas

Proteins

Different types of food offer various amounts of protein.  Meats, eggs, beans, fish and other options can offer your body the right amount of nutrition to keep your body strong and nutritious.  But finding ways around paying large amounts of money for these food items requires some research.  We have started some of this for you; continue reading for eating proteins on a budget:

  • Meats – All meat provides your body with the daily protein that it needs.  Some meat options are more expensive than others, but looking at the typical prices across America it appears that chicken and turkey are the most cost efficient and offer the best values at your grocery store.  Always check your local grocery store’s weekly special, as other meats may be on sale, including beef and the occasional New York Strip.
  • Beans – Browsing the bean aisle, you may find that bagged dry beans are usually a better value than canned beans.  Also known as legumes, beans are a great addition to soups, dips, dinner dishes and even salads.  Depending on the type of bean, the nutrition value will differ.
  • Eggs – Eggs are an excellent source of dense protein for your body.  This source of protein is usually a very cheap option, no matter where you shop.  There are usually general name brands that are cheaper than others.  Buying organic, however, is usually your best source.
  • Tuna – Canned tuna is a very cost efficient source of protein.  Usually, cans cost less than a dollar and you can stock up on them because they usually do not expire quickly.  Other sources of protein can come from salmon as well.  The only downside to eating tuna regularly is that it can contain large amounts of mercury, so try to only eat it every now and then.

Utilize Coupons

 Coupons are a great way to save on many food items and can be found in different locations, such as your local newspapers, at the grocery store and even on the Internet.  Many coupons, however, are more mass-produced for processed and packaged items.  Sometimes you can find really good ones for different brands of produce, frozen items and even eggs, canned tuna and beans.

Some good coupon sites to visit include the following:

  • Couponmom.com
  • Southersaver.com
  • Coupons.com

The key to eating healthy on a budget is to eat smart.  Start a weekly meal plan and decide a week before what you plan to fix each day.  Also, allocate certain amounts of money to your grocery bill, cut coupons and budget prior to going to the grocery store.  You can truly eat healthy on a budget if you strive for it.  Don’t avoid fresh and healthy options just because money is tight, you can still make healthier options with a little change in what you are purchasing.

What tips have you incorporated to help you eat healthy on a budget?  If you have any suggestions, tips or tricks that you use at the grocery store, let us know in the comment box below to help others learn how to eat healthy on a budget.

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  • Ralph Jo

    When it comes to frozen fruits and vegetables, I agree about the berries but in my opinion carrots stay fresh (at least as far as I can tell… at least edible) on their own for a long time. Bananas last quite a while without even needing refrigeration. I do like to buy frozen corn and peas though but these two items did not make the list. Are they less healthy when frozen than the vegetables listed?

  • Lisa W

    Great advice! I believe it’s not just what healthy food selections you make, but how you buy them and prepare them. I buy in bulk wherever I can. I like to buy large portions of meat and throw as much as I can in my slow cooker with whatever vegetables I can fit. I freeze what I don’t use and partition my leftovers in plastic storage containers for future cost-effective and healthy meals in the future.

  • Bert

    I agree with Lisa. I buy frozen meat in bulk but I prefer “fresh” produce (and in my book, fresh means not-frozen). You can still buy the fruits and veggies in bulk but instead of freezing them before preparation/consumption, I juice them. Once you become a juicer you’ll never go back!