Following a healthy diet can be particularly challenging when you’re trying to save money at the same time. But there are some tips and tricks you can follow to stick your both your budget and your healthy diet.
1. Pick up Fresh Produce Whenever Possible
Canned and pre-cut fruits and vegetables are generally more expensive than fresh produce, so try to do your own slicing and dicing to save some dough. Look for in-season vegetables as well to avoid overpaying for exotic fruits and veggies that need to be shipped long distances to get to your store.
Some of the fruits and vegetables that are in season in the cooler fall and winter months include:
- Turnip greens
- Sweet potatoes
- Brussels sprouts
- Winter squash
And don’t forget to check local farmer’s markets before grocery chains – local produce is often less expensive and fresher.
2. Plan Meals before You Shop
Take a minute to write out your shopping list and plan for your meals throughout the week. While this takes a little extra time, it can save you heaps at the store. It can be hard to figure out what and how much you need off the cuff while shopping. If you have a list and stick to it, you can avoid buying too much produce that won’t end up getting cooked. That way, you’ll have less waste and ultimately save money.
3. Cook in Big Batches
Plan one or two healthy meals per week in large batches so you can have lots of leftovers to heat up throughout the week. Think stews, soups, and casseroles – remembering to substitute healthier options such as turkey or chicken instead of beef. This tip not only saves money, but also time.
4. Reduce Meat Costs
The cost of good-quality meat can quickly add up. To help cut costs and shed pounds, try a few vegetarian dinner nights per week. Vegetables cost less than good cuts of meat, and there are lots of veggie-friendly protein options to try, like lentils, chickpeas, beans, oats, and eggs.
5. Buy in Bulk
Pantry items that can be easily stored without wasting are often cheaper – not to mention more convenient – to buy in bulk. Stock up on staples to have on hand, then just add a few cooked veggies or lean meats for quick, easy meals when you don’t feel like cooking.
Just a few suggestions for healthy bulk foods are:
- Dried beans and lentils
- Frozen vegetables
- Nutritional yeast
- Tomato paste or stewed tomatoes
- Whole grains – just mill them yourself before using
Eating right and being your healthiest self doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With a little planning, stocking up on healthy foods and cooking in big batches can save you time and money – while helping you achieve your fitness goals along the way. If you’re looking for ways to eat healthier over the holidays, take a look at our holiday-eating tips.