While most people have good intentions of implementing a healthier diet, eating better can initially appear to be both time consuming and expensive. Oftentimes, the convenience of driving through a fast food establishment – along with their low priced “meal deals” – can be hard to pass up.
Unfortunately, making a habit of consuming processed foods can lead to serious health issues down the road. And, when factoring in doctor visits and prescription medications, it can be quite costly to be sick!
Today, diseases such as diabetes can oftentimes be controlled by simply watching what you eat and avoiding the sugary and processed ingredients that many fast food items are made of. With this in mind, there is good news – you can still eat healthy and save money, without sacrificing food quality in your diet. It just takes a little bit of planning.
Saving Money on Foods that Are Healthy
Just as with anything else, a bit of planning ahead can potentially save lots of money down the road. One “planning” technique when it comes to healthy eating is to pre-stock your kitchen cabinets with foods that are fast and easy to cook, while at the same time being healthy and fairly inexpensive. These items should include:
- Fruits and Vegetables – It should go without saying that fresh fruit and vegetables should be on hand at all times. Ideally, you should purchase these items one or two times per week – especially when in season – in order to ensure freshness and the best nutritional value. Fruit and veggies can be added to meals as part of the main course or a side, or they can also be eaten as snacks in lieu of candy, cookies, and other “empty” calories. Having a regular intake of fresh foods is also likely to give your body more energy throughout the day.
- Brown Rice – As compared to white rice, brown rice contains far less of the “bad” white flour that turns to sugar in our bodies. In addition, this item can be a great addition when mixed with vegetables to make a filling and healthy meal.
- Beans and Lentils – Beans and lentils can be used in making soup, or they can be mixed with other healthy items such as veggies as well. These can typically be purchased as either dried or canned.
- Fish and Meats – Having a nice mix of meat and fish on hand can also provide you with a way to fix quick healthy meals. Many of today’s superstores offer a meat and fish department where cuts can be purchased at a reasonable price. You can also pick up salmon and tuna “pouches” that can be stored for longer periods of time without reducing taste or quality.
Eat Healthy While Staying on Budget
For those who are on a budget, certain healthy eating habits may take some budgetary tweaking in order to stay on track. Yet, making your own foods such as salads, soups, and casseroles can really help in the cost department, as well as provide the opportunity to stretch out certain items for more than just one meal.
Other ways that you can save money on healthy foods include the following:
- Cook an extra amount when preparing a big meal. Freeze the extra helping(s) to eat at a later date.
- By buying healthy food items in bulk, you can typically save money in comparison to picking up single or smaller serving amounts. This can also include taking advantage of sales on staples such as soups and broth, rice, pasta, and canned vegetables.
- If making a stew or casserole, using less expensive cuts of meat can still provide taste, quality, and nutrition, yet without breaking the food budget.
- Buying generic items is also a great way to save on your food dollar. Often, generic items are the same as the name brand picks, but are simply packaged in a different label.
While many people think that they need to eat less – and less often – when vying for healthier habits, the truth is that when comparing food by weight and portion sizes, you may actually be able to eat the same amount or more and still attain health benefits.
It is also important to limit your dining out when striving to eat more healthy foods and stick to a budget. Eating in restaurants can be expensive – and can be even more costly when ordering appetizers and other unnecessary menu items.