Eating Healthy On A Budget – Helpful Ways To Make It Affordable
Are you looking to eat healthy on a budget but don’t know where to start? Then you are going to love the Eating Healthy On A Budget – Helpful Ways To Make It Affordable guest post by Nicole from Struggle Today Strength Tomorrow.
With food and the cost of living always on the rise, eating healthy can become difficult for those on a smaller budget. I’m going to show some simple ways that you can eat great foods at prices that are great for you!
When people think of healthy foods, they often think it’s too expensive or time-consuming to eat a healthy diet.
Sadly, not every person has the kitchen skills needed to cook from scratch and enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal. So I won’t go too into detail here, and will primarily focus on the saving money aspect.
Things I will cover in this post:
- 4 ways to save money on fresh produce
- 3 unique ways to save money on meat
- How to save money on bread and healthy grains (without baking!)
- Plus a few extra money-saving pieces of advice!
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Saving money on fresh produce
There are several excellent ways to save money on fresh produce, without ever needing a coupon! I’ll cover 4 of my favorites below.
1.) Buy in season
You may have already noticed that produce prices change throughout the year. When prices are at their lowest, is usually when they are in season. This is a great time to buy fresh fruits and vegetables!
Seasons for produce change about every 2 months, different fruits and vegetables fade in as others fade out.
Watching for sales cycles and educating yourself on when things are in season is a huge key to saving money.
Think about it, why spend $5 on 1 container of strawberries during their offseason, when you can buy 5 for $1 when they’re in season? Instead, buy something else, something that is in season and low priced and just patiently wait for the strawberries to come back to their low prices.
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2.) Buy from liquidation stores
Liquidation stores are the best local gems for finding great prices on fresh produce and non-perishables. Think of it as a second-hand store for foods, but instead of being “used” they were simply “unwanted” and rejected by grocery stores.
Grocery stores have high standards and will inspect produce upon delivery, only choosing the best looking fruits and vegetables. If looks aren’t up to standards, they reject the delivery shipment.
Liquidation stores take in those rejects and give them a new purpose and life by offering them at insanely discounted prices to non-picky customers like you and me.
This is a great way to enjoy eating healthy on a budget!
If you don’t have a liquidation store near you, there are two other options to consider:
- Look in your stores produce section for a discounted or quick sale rack. These are becoming more popular at retailers.
- Look up Imperfect produce and see if they are in your areas. Ordering ugly produce online, and having it delivered to your door, not only saves you time, gas and energy but also helps cut down on your expenses.
3.) Product rebates
There are a lot of rebate apps that offer money back rebates on fresh produce purchases. What makes these so great is that you can use multiple rebate apps on one product.
A few rebate apps to consider include:
Rebates vary and change weekly, so it’s always worth taking a look before you make your grocery list.
4.) Buy from a co-op
Local co-ops exist all over the place and are just a matter of looking them up and seeing what’s available near you. Some co-ops exist inside a brick and mortar building, while others happen in a parking lot or small field.
They are all volunteer ran and the produce is from local farmers trying to sell what they have on hand, which makes it even better!
My personal favorite co-op is called Bountiful Baskets and it’s available all over the United States. You can order and pay online, and you don’t know what’s in the box until you pick it up at your meeting time and place. This really tests your creativity in the kitchen!
[Tip] Some co-ops give you free produce or discounts on your orders if you volunteer to help. So do a good deed and help out with your local co-op so it can help stretch your budgets.
Saving money on meat
Meat is another item that people often complain about being too expensive or a large part of their grocery bills. So I’m going to share 3 unique ways to save money on meat that you may not have thought of.
1.) Don’t make meat the star of the show
A lot of households are still in that 1950’s mentality where dinner is meat, starch, and a veggie. That’s so old school! Since then, research has given us a ton of cheaper proteins to incorporate into our lives.
By adding these cheaper proteins throughout the day, we don’t need nearly as much meat at dinner. Serving sizes state that adults only need 6 oz a day anyway, which is about the size of your palm, twice.
If your dinner is a “meat staring” dinner, make it a team effort.
Example- splitting a large chicken breast between 2 people, and offering 2 types of veggies at dinner plus a starch is a great way to fill tummies for cheap.
Otherwise, look for dishes where meat is an ingredient and doesn’t get its own spot on your plate.
2.) Swap for alternative meats
Being open to variety is what really helps in saving money on food. If your favorite recipe uses ground beef, but ground turkey is cheaper – buy the turkey and try it out.
Pork roasts often cost much less than beef roasts.
Bone-in ham costs less than spiral cut, plus you get a bone for a good slow cooked soup or treat for the dog!
3.) Stretch meat
Stretching meat is basically using less meat and getting creative with how to incorporate it into as many meals as possible. This helps your budget and creativity.
There are a ton of ways to stretch meats, and a lot of details and examples I could give. To keep it from getting overwhelming I’m going to give some of the easiest ways just to get you started.
- Use 3/4 pound of ground beef in recipes calling for 1 pound.
- Mix 1/2 cup of oats per 1 pound of ground beef when portioning it out for the freezer.
- Cook a whole chicken, but only cut and serve up a breast or half of the bird. Shred the rest of the meat and divide into 1 cup portions. Use 1 per dinner for the following days.
- Use leftover roast in pulled pork (or beef) sandwiches.
Saving money on bread and healthy grains
There isn’t as many saving money options when it comes to bread as there is for meats or fresh produce. That being said, you can still eat healthy grains on a budget.
One of the best ways to save money on bread is to make it yourself.
Unfortunately, bread making is an art form and very scientific. Exact weighted measures, the percentage of wet to dry, weather and environment affect the results as well. It’s incredibly hard to master and not everybody has time for that.
An alternative way to save money on bread is to buy it discounted! This is can be done in two simple ways.
1.) Go to your grocery store’s bread/ bakery section and buy straight from the discounted racks. It doesn’t get any more convenient or easy than that.
2.) Go to your local bread bakery outlet store and stock up. Not every location has these outlet stores, but the savings are excellent and worth taking a look online to see if any are near you.
Nicole is a personal finance blogger with a passion for teaching others to save money. Being a SAHM of two kids and having lived all over the country with her ex-Army husband, she has gained valuable and insightful tips to cut costs anywhere and she shares them on her blog Struggle Today Strength Tomorrow. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter.