People are organizing, exercising, and healthy menu planning with a renewed energy, now that the holidays are over, and we’re full swing into January.
After all the celebrating, you may feel like eating healthy will break the bank. I get it. But, there’s plenty of ways families can make eating healthy on a budget a reality.
I sat down and reviewed my family budget a week ago, looking at our upcoming bills and comparing to what we had left.
There’s not a lot of wiggle room this month. Since I’m unwilling to make many compromises with food quality (as much organic as possible, clean meat, and clean fish), I need to spend the month being frugal and creative.
If you’re trying to switch too, or have already made a commitment to organic food, or searching for cleaner food options, you may really be feeling the budget pinch this month, too.
5 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget
Eat less meat and get creative with it
I’m not suggesting that you become a vegetarian, but you can save a lot of money by simply reducing your actual portion of meat, and including 1-2 vegetarian meals per week.
Buy better quality meat, but just eat less of it.
Haul out your slow cooker and batch cook. Make sure you have leftovers for lunch so that everyone is eating food from home.
Buy cheaper cuts of meat to make stew, soup, or even a pot roast that will feed you for a few days.
My favourite money-saving tip is to use good-quality ground meat for things like stir fries as it’s so much more economical. Another one of my favourite cheap healthy food hacks is to cut back on the ground meat in a shepherd’s pie and substitute some lentils for part of it. Tastes great, but saves money!
Make it yourself
Stop spending money on things that you can easily make yourself at home. This includes hummus and other bean dips, nut and seed milks, healthy puddings, muffins, granola and granola bars! It doesn’t take long and the internet is full of recipes and tutorials.
For less than $2 you can make a batch of hummus that will last you more than a week. I love alternating between bean dips and yoghurt and herb dips for my son’s lunch, both of which are easy and quick to make myself.
Do you normally add things like sprouts to your salads and sandwiches? Grab a mason jar and some cheesecloth and start sprouting your own! It’s easy, cheap healthy food that you’ll have just 3-6 days later.
Shop your pantry
When you’re eating healthy on a budget, it’s the perfect time to take inventory of what you have left in your pantry. Plan cheap healthy meals around things that you already have in stock, reducing the amount you need to spend when grocery shopping.
Dried pasta, grains, legumes, canned tomatoes, beans, and other pantry staples can really be put to good use. Try to focus on using up what you have before needing to buy more.
Plan ahead and reduce waste
Having a meal plan and using it to plan your grocery shopping will dramatically reduce food waste.
Besides planning your meals, keep a running grocery list that you can add to, and cross items off of. I go one step further and keep a list of items that we are about to run out of as well.
All of planning helps me make grocery shopping on a budget a reality, and keeps me from wasting money purchasing things that we don’t need.
Eat from your freezer
Have some meals stashed away for emergencies, or busy days? Put all that cheap healthy food to use. I’ve been hauling out some frozen portions of soup, stew and chili to feed us at least one night per week. They’re all made with quality, whole ingredients and take some pressure off my grocery budget for the week.
If making changes to your lifestyle was one of your new year’s goals, but it feels like you can’t afford to do it, just remember that you don’t have to change everything all at once!
A great start is to use the Dirty Dozen list to help you prioritize your organic grocery list! Remember that most convenience items (dips, nut milks, snack items like these homemade energy balls ) are so much more economical to make at home too!
What are some of the ways you’re planning on healthy grocery shopping on a budget this year?