Here’s the deal… eating ready-to-go, processed, nutrient-low foods can cost you less. But, while these choices may be easy on your wallet, they’re not doing you any favours when it comes to overall wellness. That’s why we’re diving into tips for eating healthy on a budget below.
Healthy foods can cost more, but it all depends how you plan, shop, cook and consume. There are so many easy ways to nourish our bodies with wholesome foods, while keeping our grocery bills low.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends having plenty of fruits and vegetables with every meal (half your plate in fact!) in addition to smaller portions of protein and whole grains. When it comes to picking your protein, choosing plant-based options are recommended.
Other healthy food choices advised are to read food labels, limit highly processed foods, opt for snacks that have little to no added sodium, sugars or saturated fat, and drink lots of water.
If you shop smart, you can make food choices that are both healthy and stay on a budget!
Let’s get started!
Create healthy home-cooked meals
When you buy wholesome ingredients and use healthy recipes to do your own cooking, you’ll be able to create meals that are good for you and your wallet. Oftentimes, the processed, prepared, quick options are more expensive than putting together meals ourselves (not to mention, less healthy).
Pro tip – big batches of homemade soup can be packed with plant-based ingredients, tons of vegetables and protein, and are very inexpensive to prepare. Bonus? They can serve many people or leave you with leftovers, giving you more value for your grocery purchases.
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Prep healthy meals
Meal prepping may take some time to organize once a week, but it will certainly save you time during your busier days. Instead of opting for quick, potentially unhealthy, grab-and-go meals, you can select one of your healthy and thoughtfully prepared meals. This is an easy way to ensure you’re eating healthy and staying on budget, even when you’re juggling a lot.
Use weekly flyers to plan your meals
Speaking of meal prep, bring your planning (and your savings) to the next level by browsing grocery flyers each week. Take a look at what’s on sale using reebee and save all of your favourite offers to your shopping list. Work out a flexible plan of what you want to eat for the week, utilizing sales as much as possible. This only takes a few minutes but can save you 10-25% on your grocery spending.
Stick to your shopping list
So you went through the effort of scouting out your favourite grocery deals of the week, built your shopping list and planned out your meals. Now the trick is sticking to that list when you’re in the grocery store. Items will catch your eye and you will think you need something you don’t. Keep an eye on that list and remember that you made it for a reason.
Avoid shopping on an empty stomach
If you want to follow your grocery list and avoid impulse purchases, this tip will come in handy. Avoid shopping on an empty stomach. Low prep (and often unhealthy) items look much more appetizing when you are hungry. Have a snack or meal before heading to the store to make smarter purchasing decisions.
Opt for frozen produce when needed
When you browse weekly flyers on reebee, it’s likely that you will come across many great deals on produce. That being said, if there is a particular fruit or vegetable you’d like to buy and it doesn’t happen to be on sale, don’t be afraid of the frozen foods section.
Frozen vegetables still offer nutrients, can be purchased for less, and are very versatile when it comes to home cooking. Many grocery stores sell medleys of frozen vegetables or single types of produce packaged on their own. Add frozen over fresh to your cart when needed.
Try eating plant-based
Not only is eating plant-based meals better for the environment, it’s better for you and your bank account. Meat prices are on the rise. But lucky for us, meatless proteins like beans and lentils can be bought at super low prices and prepared in all kinds of ways.
Save your leftovers
Focus on the fresh foods you have at home before you purchase new items, get creative in the kitchen with leftovers, and try to avoid extra trips to the store for only a couple items – we often leave with much more than planned.
Prep healthy ready-to-go snacks
Don’t let your busy lifestyle get in the way of your health goals. Instead, embrace the fact that you’re on the go and prepare a few healthy items that can be easily picked out of your fridge to enjoy as a snack. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Sliced vegetables and hummus
- Sliced apple or berries
- Overnight oats
- Trail mix
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Smoothie bundles (chop the ingredients to throw in your blender ahead of time)
- Almond butter stuffed dates
There you have it. Don’t let your budget get in the way of your health goals. By creating a weekly plan (and sticking to that plan), purchasing healthy, wholesome foods can be accessible. Try out these tips for eating healthy on a budget and let us know what you think in the comments below.