Eating Healthy for Less

One of the first things I hear from people is that eating healthy is too expensive. But that is not always true. While it is a fact that low nutritional foods such as sugary snacks and fatty foods are usually cheaper than their healthy counterparts, it is also true that some healthy foods are comparable in price.

Here are 10 ways for you to eat healthy for less money.

Map out your meals for the week.

Instead of heading off to the store without a meal plan in mind, actually sit down and think about what you are going to fix for the week. This includes each meal and not just dinner. For example, if you usually stop by your local bakery and pick up a muffin or bagel before work, instead buy some whole-wheat English muffins and sugar-free jelly ( ore make a sugar-free fruit topping) and eat that instead. Or if you are trying to cut down on the carbs, you can make some quiche ahead of time and then just pop them in the microwave for a few seconds in the morning and you are ready to go. Just by taking some time to plan out your meals, you can save quite a bit of money and improve you nutrition.

Do your homework.

Take the time to look through the weekly grocery flyers. You can do this while riding your stationary bike or jogging on the treadmill, so it will not take you any additional time. And if there is a good buy on something healthy, stock up. For instance, my local grocery store runs a BOGO on premium tuna fish a few times a year. So when it is on sale I stock up, never having to pay full price.

Use those coupons.

There was a day when cutting out coupons was just not something I did. Now I wonder why I never did it before. Sometimes I will save over $20 in one shopping trip. And it is not stuff that I usually do not buy but rather items I buy frequently. Plus, if my store is running a BOGO on something and I have two coupons, I can use them both. This really ads up.

Buy whole fruits and veggies and cut them yourself.

I know, those little bags are quite convenient, but boy do they cost a lot more. Take those bags of lettuce. Most only have 8 to 10 ounces in them and cost around $3.50 each. But if you buy a whole head of romaine lettuce, you can cut it and clean it, put it in a bag and get three times as much for around $2.50. And the good thing about romaine is that it does not brown as fast as iceberg plus has a lot more nutritional value.

But produce in season.

While it is true that you can get strawberries and corn on the cob all year round, buying it when it is in season is much more affordable. Plus, you can stock up on some of the items if you know how to can and/or freeze them.

Try the store brands.

Most of us have been well trained to believe that if it is not the brand name item, then it is inferior. But this is not always true. Sometimes the store brand is just as good if not better. Plus some stores even guarantee that if you do not like it as well as the brand name item, they will give you your money back.

Shop farmers markets.

If your town offers a weekly farmer market, then get your healthy fruits and veggies there instead of the store. You will usually find this to be much cheaper than the grocery store, as you are buying directly from the farmer. Plus you can ask them questions such as if they use any pesticides and how long ago was it picked.

Buy in bulk.

Sometimes this makes sense but other times it does not. Only buy the items that you are sure you are going to be able to use. Otherwise you will be throwing money away. For instance, I shop my local Sams Club and get my 95/5 ground turkey for around $11 for 5 pounds. That is $2.20 per pound. Much cheaper than the $4.99 a pound at my local grocery store. Then I just freeze it into 1-pound bags for spaghetti or taco night.

Per serving not per pound.

Don’t just look at the price per pound, which may seem cheaper than the per serving price of some foods. For example, the price per pound of dried fruit may seem a lot more expensive than the fresh variety, however, if you look at the serving size, you may find that the dried variety is actually cheaper per serving. Plus, dried fruit will last longer than fresh. So if you are not sure it will all get eaten, it may be better to buy dried.

Buy dried beans, peas, and lentils.

This can be some of the cheapest and healthiest foods you can find. Dried beans and legumes are loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals plus they are low fat and do not contain a bunch of preservatives or salt. You can usually find quite a variety at your local store. And with a 1-pound bag often costing less than $1, you can save quite a bit of money by making your own beans. Just make a big pot at once and freeze any you do not need so you can use them later without having to spend the time prepping them.