Many of our clients have goals in the finance and the fitness department. That means that they want to save money AND save calories. We’ve created this list to help you save money while sticking to your health goals. So let’s get right to it, 15 Ways To Eat Healthy On A Budget
1. Stop Eating Out.
Well that one was obvious and we won’t beat a dead horse. But when the average restaurant meal is $13 and the average meal made at home is $4, you can see how you’ll save money.
2. Plan Your Food.
Planning your food reduces the initial expense by forcing you to take stock of what you have and, hopefully, forcing you to shop from your list only. In this way, you only buy what you need. This is truly the first step to saving money. Plan your meals, plan your snacks, plan, plan, plan!
Get your family involved in planning as well. Have them help you pick some of the recipes, snacks and so forth. In this way, you’ll have some buy in for the food your purchasing. That, in turn, will help reduce the “let’s go out to eat” triggers as well as waste for food that goes uneaten.
3. Nix the Crap
This one is in a special color because it’s probably the #1 food budget saving tip we’ve got. Don’t buy junk food, junk drinks, junk condiments and junk snacks. This tip alone could save you hundreds of dollars a month. And, oh by the way, it’ll also save you calories.
Also, think about saving money in simple math terms. For example, a woman who is 40, i 5’6″ and weighs 185 and is lightly active is consuming about 2,067 calories a day to maintain that weight. That’s just math. If we reduce her caloric intake to 1500 a day to lose weight and then to maintain that weight, guess what? We save 500 calories a day. That’s actually quite a bit of REAL food or a little bit of JUNK food. What are some equivalents?
- Bagel with cream cheese
- 4 pieces of Bacon
- Starbucks Venti Caramel Frappuccino
Now look at the equivalents in healthy foods:
- 6 Eggs
- 5 Bananas
- 9 oz Steaks
Either way, you can see how you’d save money by saving 500 calories a day by nixing the EXCESS caloric intake in order to meet your weight loss needs. Getting to the appropriate weight and then the appropriate healthy caloric intake for that weight is saving money!
4. Cook it yourself.
Don’t buy prepackaged or prepped food if you need to save money. Buy whole foods and make them into food you can eat. 😉 That is, cook the chicken yourself and mince the garlic yourself to give a few examples. Most of the time making food yourself will save you money because the grocery stores sure do mark up the amount of work they put into a product.
5. Go for the deals
If chicken is on sale, buy the chicken! If ground turkey is on sale, buy the ground turkey! Sometimes you’ll have to reverse engineer your recipes to match deals, but we believe in you and we believe you can do it!
Speaking of deals, often store brands are cheaper than name brands. Consider buying them–often they are the exact same product bottled or packaged differently. One word of caution-be sure to look at the ingredients on both labels. While they are often very similar, sometimes the cheaper brand might be so because they’ve substituted high fructose corn syrup or something similar.
6. Consider frozen & canned
Frozen produce is often cheaper than fresh produce. While this trick will not work for every recipe, if you can, go for the frozen. Frozen produce is picked and flash frozen at its peak ripeness meaning its nutritional compounds are at their peak. If produce is not flash frozen at this point, it will start to breakdown. Sometimes produce on the shelves you see has been sitting there for a week after at least of week of travel from being plucked off the vine to placed in the store. When you consider that, you might get more nutrition from your frozen food.
There are many cons healthy people consider when eyeing canned food including BPA, preservatives (namely syrup & sodium) and nutritional loss. Nutritional loss always happens regardless of the method (fresh, frozen, canned), especially when items are cooked. Keep that in mind and if your budget only allows for canned, move forward smartly. When picking your canned foods, make sure these factors are eliminated:
- Only buy items stored in their own juice or water (no salt, brine, added sugar or syrup).
- Only buy BPA free cans.
- Consider your top options to be items like tomatoes and tuna!
7. Cook in bulk & save leftovers
The fewer times you cook the fewer times you have to expend energy and ingredients cooking. That saves time & money. So, consider cooking in large portions and saving the leftovers for lunches and other dinners. Again, this allows you to minimize waste, have to plan less and use up less of things like Extra Virgin Olive Oil!
8. Use the Healthy & Cheap List
The graphic shows you some cheap and healthy foods to consistently buy. The reality is that healthy is not more expensive. You do have to be more thoughtful, but you can eat healthy on a budget.
To be fair, the more of a budget you have, the more outside the norm you can get. That being said, you’ll be much more healthy even if your confided to the budget-friendly foods on this list than if you eat the prepackaged, man-made foods that most folks find in their shopping carts.
Once you’ve got that skill down, come see us for help on your budget so you can get more bougie with your healthy menus!
Ideal Balance is The Life Coaching Facility in Navarre, Florida that focuses on Fitness, Family & Finance. We help our clients create the discipline & habits they need to strip off what’s holding them back from living the life God created them to live. We work with clients in 1-on-1 sessions in person and virtually as well as in Small Groups in Personal Training sessions, workshops and other events. We’re on a mission to inject hope and empower our community one client at a time. Contact us if you’d like to find out more.