Eating Healthy on Budget

— Written By and last updated by Shelia Ange
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Eating healthy on a budget may seem difficult but it can be done. With a little knowledge and practice, you can eat healthy without overspending. The task may seem daunting, but it can be done. Here are some tips and ideas for eating healthy on a budget.

Shop and Prepare at Home – The best way to save money and eat healthy foods is to shop and prepare the food yourself. Eating healthy on a budget at home still requires a strategy to purchase healthy low-cost foods. The first step to successfully prepare healthy, low-cost meals is to plan your grocery list.

Plan Your Meals – Try planning for a week at a time. Choosing budget-friendly recipes with healthy ingredients that are easy to prepare. Try cooking large portions with inexpensive ingredients and use leftovers for lunches or to make stews and casseroles.

Be a Smart Shopper – Make a grocery list that only includes the ingredients you need to prepare the meals and stick to it. Only purchase what you know you’re going to use.

Look for Discounts and Special Deals – Finding the best deals can help anyone on a budget. You can save by stocking up on your favorite products or staples when they’re on sale. Check the expiration dates to be sure the food doesn’t expire soon.

Don’t Shop When Hungry – Being hungry causes you to stray from your grocery list and buy things you don’t need on impulse. Eat a healthy snack before you go shopping.

Choose Whole Foods – Brown rice, oatmeal, and bags of dry beans are less expensive than buying unhealthy processed foods.

Buy Store Brands – Many store brands are often of equal quality as the name brands and are less expensive.

Avoid Junk Food – Soda, crackers, cookies, chips, and processed foods offer little nutrition. Most have unhealthy ingredients. Not buying these unhealthy foods allows you to use more money to add healthier foods to your cart.

Buy Cheaper Cuts of Meat – Use these in burritos, casseroles, soups, stews, or stir-fries. You also might consider eating less meat and replacing it with other proteins like eggs and beans. Canned fish is also inexpensive and nutritious.

Buy Produce in Season – When produce is in season, it is sold at the best price. When produce is not in season, it may be better to buy frozen fruits and vegetables.

For more grocery shopping tips and healthy recipes, contact Lisa Smith at the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Martin County, 252-789-4370.