A FEW TIPS FOR EATING WELL ON A BUDGET
Several weeks ago, the British Medical Journal published a studyreporting that eating healthily actually does cost more. In fact, eating organic and free-range products can cost about $550 per year more. But healthy food can also cost more in terms of time spent cooking it, and the potential money lost as a result of food waste. On the other hand, convenience food can also cost you. One study showed that “diets based heavily on foods from convenient sources are less healthy and more expensive than a well-planned menu from budget foods available from large supermarket chains.” Talk about conflicting advice!
It seems that the best way to eat healthily without breaking the bank is through strategic meal planning and budget-friendly purchasing. Easy, right? Well I’m here with advice and resources to help you get started!Buy Frozen, and Lots of It
There has been plenty of debate over whether fresh or frozen produce is better for you. Current consensus is that frozen food is more than fine, and it has other benefits as well. Buying frozen allows you to store food longer without worrying about spoilage, cuts out prep time when cooking, and provides more variety in the winter months. So stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables, and use them in your cooking.
Skip “Convenient” Foods
Sure, those pre-sliced veggies are tempting, but they cost way more. Instead of buying pre-prepped food, save money and buy the whole versions. Buying a whole chicken is often cheaper than buying just breast meat. Plus, you can save all the skin and bones for homemade stock – cheaper than always buying the canned stuff!
Focus on Fiber
Fiber fills you up, delays gastric emptying, balances your blood sugar, and curbs cravings. Fiber can be foundin beans, whole grains, rice, nuts, and vegetables – all of which can be found cheaply at the grocery store. (Especially if you buy frozen produce!)
There are plenty of sites that offer help with meal planning, like Food on the Table and Real Simple. By planning ahead you’ll already have the ingredients and recipes at hand, which makes it easier to commit to cooking. If you don’t have the time to cook at night, consider either slow cooker recipes or monthly cooking days. The nice thing about the second two options is the ease of dinner once you get home. The slow cooker meals are ready when you walk in the door, while the frozen meals just require a quick re-heat. Perfect for those long, busy days.
I hope these help you find ways to eat healthily without overspending, and inspire you to try new things. Good luck!
Image Credit: USDA