One common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and eat healthier. Yet, with the high price of groceries now, many believe that buying healthy food is not possible without spending a small fortune.
Buying foods like potato chips, soda, and frozen processed foods on sale may seem to be the only way to keep down grocery costs. However, buying healthy foods on a budget is possible, if you are conscious of what foods you choose. Try these tips:
- Eat in season. In January, grapes can run $2 to $4 per pound. While our family loves grapes, we don’t eat them now. We buy them in the summer when they are cheaper. Good fruits to eat now include all citrus as well as bananas and apples.
- Look for cheap sources of protein. A one pound bag of beans can cost as little as $1.00 to $1.50. Beans are an excellent source of protein and complex carbohydrates and are a nutritious food to eat. Try to have at least two bean based meals a week to cut costs and improve your health. Some meals to try include bean burritos, bean based chili, and baked beans, to name a few. Another cheap source of protein is eggs. You don’t have to limit eggs to breakfast only; consider making vegetable quiches, omelets, and soufflés for dinner. At 10 to 15 cents per egg, eggs are an excellent source of low cost protein.
- Use meat as a condiment. Americans consume too much red meat. Overconsumption can have a detrimental effect on both your health and your wallet. Instead, save the red meat as a condiment. If you are having chili, just add enough meat to give it flavor, maybe ½ pound, and instead get the protein from beans. Rather than steak for everyone at dinner time, just buy one and slice it for stir fry loaded with veggies.
- Consider frozen vegetables. On sale, frozen vegetables can be had for as little as $1 per pound. Even better, you can stock up and keep them in the freezer for up to a year. Buy enough bags of vegetables to last you until they are on sale again, usually in 8 to 12 weeks.
- Grow your own. In the spring, if you have the space, consider growing your own vegetable garden. For the cost of a few seeds and your time, you can pick vegetables right from your own back yard. There is no need to pay for expensive organic vegetables as you are growing them yourself.
- Eat classic breakfasts. Boxed cereal can be very expensive. If you are a savvy shopper and manage to snag it on sale with a coupon, the price may be more reasonable, but most cereals have additional additives and sweeteners that aren’t good for your body. Instead, buy oatmeal or make homemade whole wheat waffles and serve with fruit.
While it may seem that it is cheaper to eat pre-packaged food, eating fresh food that you prepare at home is better for both your body and your wallet. Take advantage of sales and these tips to get the best bargains on healthy food.
You will be surprised how much better you feel and how much money you save.
*Photo by Moon Stars and Paper*