Eating healthy on a budget

True story: a bag of kale can easily be more expensive than a fast food burger.

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That doesn’t mean that eating well has to devour your entire paycheck! Here are some of my tips for eating healthy on a budget:

Frozen produce is your friend- Frozen fruits and vegetables are less expensive their fresh alter egos, and they keep for much longer (no more wasted dollars on wilty, sad spinach). Frozen produce also tends to be higher in nutrient value because it is frozen before vitamins & minerals can degrade while sitting on a supermarket shelf.

Eat fresh- This may seem a little contradictory after my first tip, but buying local, seasonal produce can be a big money saver as well! What this means is rather than say, bringing an orange in your lunch everyday all year round- replace the orange with something that is actually in season during the colder months. Farmer’s markets are great because you save on the mark-up expenses of shipping to grocery store chains.

Read that flyer- Before you meal plan for the week, check out the sales flyers of local grocery stores. Try to accommodate items that will be on special for that week. It’s also great to stock up on sale items that keep well in the freezer (like chicken) or in the cupboard (like rice & onions) for future uses.

Beans for protein- Meat can definitely add up that grocery bill. I like to add beans to meat dishes so that I can use less meat but still have a hearty meal to serve the masses (or in my case, 1 really ‘good eater’). I like to add black beans to Mexican meals, cannellini beans to pasta, and garbanzo beans to salads. Bonus points- beans have fiber to keep you full AND keep things moving in that digestive system.

Eat at home- Even a decadent meal costs less when made at home. Save some extra cash by skipping the drive-thru iced coffee and brewing some coffee to keep in the fridge at home. Some ice, a travel cup- whala! Prepacking snacks and lunches will also cut down on trips to the vending machine during the day. I share more of my tips on meal prepping here.

Do you have any tips for eating healthy on a budget? I’m always open to saving another buck or two (and by saving I mean towards my shoe/handbag fund)!

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17 thoughts on “Eating healthy on a budget

  1. Great suggestions! Being a grad student, it is always important to do everything on a budget! I would add the following 3:
    1- shop around for best deal- which goes with the circular one, but may result in shopping at a couple places for good deals- in my opinion, totally worth it if they are all close by
    2- buy what you can in bulk. We use a lot of cheese , salad, and banana peppers so I end up buying these at GFS, a buy-in bulk store like Sams or Costco. We go through a lot of them and I can freeze it if there is too much.
    3- Make enough for freezer meals! One of the biggest hindrances to buying in bulk or to buying fast food has been having to cook every day! So for those days it’s just too exhausting, we have healthy leftovers that we can just warm up! A must for finals time! This way you can also justify buying some things in bulk because it gets used all at once and then saved for later.

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  2. Some great tips here! Another thing I always do is either freeze left overs to have another night or have it for lunch the next day rather than wasting them by throwing them out, sounds obvious but I know a lot of people who just throw them away! H x

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  3. My biggest money saver is taking my lunch to work and a coffee in my travel mug for on the way to work. I like to prep all my salad stuff at the start of the week and keep it in Tupperware in the fridge. That way it keeps well and doesn’t take long to throw together in the morning with a tin of tuna or some chicken. Such an easy way to save money…for shoes/handbags of course! =)

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    • Its crazy how much money you can waste on drive thru coffee and take out! I always make healthier choices by bringing my own too because I pack it ahead of time, rather than choosing once I’m already hungry :)

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  4. I’m with you on the leftovers – have to be made into something else! It’s fun sometimes though to come up with something else to make. Great budget tips as well. My local health food store also has a discount produce shelf that I frequent for near expiry produce. I use it up quick, so it’s a win win. Thanks for all the info:)

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  5. Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing. The last one about eating at home (including coffee) is a big one for us. When you’re tired or just don’t feel like cooking it’s always tempting to order food or carryout something, but it’s so much less expensive to just make something at home. It may not be as fun, but cooking with money you already spent is so much better!

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  6. Pingback: Eating healthy on a budget | EAT PALEO

  7. Great tips! I’m a big fan of frozen vegies; fast and easily prepared. I’ve also started mixing taco powder with canned beans in the microwave, another cheap and easy snack :)

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  8. Great suggestions! This is my first week taking part in your link up – so much fun! I definitely think that eating seasonally and checking out farmers markets are great ways to save money – I can buy a HUGE bag of kale at my local famers market for $1!

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