Most people you talk to would agree that eating healthy is important and vital for proper body maintenance and function. A lot of people, who would agree, wish they could prepare healthier meals themselves, though they look at their current grocery bills and think cooking healthier is much too expensive. Although food prices have gone up tremendously in the last ten years, cooking healthy meals while on a tight budget is not out of the question if you are willing to include a few extra steps to your shopping, and food preparation routine. Read the following tips for a starting point on the road to healthier cooking.
1. Evaluate Your Spending
• Eat out less/ learn to make your restaurant favorites at home
– Even eating 2 meals at home during the week that you’d normally eat out can save you anywhere from 15-30 dollars a week! That savings can be used to buy healthier grocery store items like a variety of fresh veggies or lean meats that you may have had to skip otherwise
• Cut out the junk
– Try to cut out as much food that is highly processed and or contains large amounts of refined sugars as possible. These foods often include crackers, frozen dinners, soda, or other packaged foods. Although these foods are convenient to make, leaving them out of your cart will not only help your health, but also your budget; as these foods are often what racks up a grocery bill.
• Shop the perimeter of the store first
– The perimeter of the grocery store is where the fresher foods are located. When it comes to cooking healthier fresh foods are almost always better than their packaged counterparts. Filling up your cart with fresh foods first will make you more apt to buy the healthier options and skip out on the junk.
2. Buy Healthier Inexpensive Foods
• Go for the ones that are as close to the way the earth made them as possible. This includes fresh or frozen produce, lean meats, beans and grains. These kinds of foods are typically high in nutrients like protein and vitamins and minerals but low in sodium, and fat content. For a longer list of healthy inexpensive foods, click on the link above.
3. Shop Smarter
• Look for resources that might help you save money on food. This can include searching out coupons, locating and attending your local farmers market, or finding a discounted food store in your area. Click the link in the title for more ideas on how you can be a smarter shopper
4. Buy in Bulk
• Save money by buying items in larger volumes. Before buying make sure you always calculate the price and serving ration out to be sure you are truly getting a good deal.
5. Stretch Your Money When You Cook
• Cooking meals in bulk can help you stretch expensive foods like meats farther, saving you money.
• Make new meals from previous ones. This can help when your family starts to get bored of leftovers, and can also ensure you use up ingredients like produce when they are on the verge of spoiling; making sure you get your money’s worth from your food.
6. Make a Meal Plan
• This step in the process is absolutely crucial for eating better on a tight budget especially so when you are trying to feed a family. Planning out your meals for the next week, two weeks, or even month can ensure you buy only the things you will need each week at the grocery store, saving you money. It will also help reduce that tired, after work panic when you need to get supper going, but are not sure what to make. With your meals planned out, you will know exactly what needs to be done, and you can even make meals ahead of time. This will reduce the likelihood that you will settle for the easy highly processed less nutritious prepackaged meal, and instead allow you to provide your family with a healthy balanced meal.
I hope these tips will help in the quest for making healthier meals at low budget prices. Be sure to explore my links for more ideas, on ways in which we can make cooking healthier!