6 ways to eat healthy on a budget
Posted September 1, 2016
Healthy eating can feel overwhelming in so many ways. Wholesome, nutritious eating requires planning, prepping and cleaning up. Eating healthy also can feel daunting because it has a reputation for being expensive. It turns out, there are strategies for making healthy affordable, and it doesn’t need to break the bank.
Here are some tried and true methods for making nutritious eating work for you, no matter your budget.
Buy in-season produce
In general, fruits and vegetables that are in season are more reasonably priced than foods not in season. As much as possible, buy produce that’s in season to ensure you’re getting the best price. For more information, visit fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org for lists of in season produce. Also, check out your local farmer’s markets — this is the perfect time of year to buy produce straight from area farmers.
Have nutritious foods on hand that last for weeks
Baby carrots, eggs and apples last for weeks in your fridge. Nuts, seeds, canned beans, brown rice and lentils last for weeks to months in dry storage. On days when you are in a rush to whip a meal together or when dinner is last-minute, you'll have ingredients on hand to avoid eating out too often, which in and of itself, will save big bucks.
Plan meals around what’s on sale
Check the weekly circular to see what’s on sale for the week. It can help inspire meal ideas and cultivate creativity in the kitchen. Meats, fresh produce and frozen vegetables often go on sale when stores needs to move inventory.
Avoid pre-cut produce
When shopping for fruits and vegetables, opt for unprocessed options. For example, a cantaloupe that’s in season and whole is less expensive than a cut up cantaloupe in a plastic container. You’re paying for convenience so, instead, do the chopping yourself to save some cash.
Canned and frozen are OK
Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are a simple way to get essential foods into your daily routine — and they can be less expensive than fresh options. Choose fruits canned in light syrup and veggies canned with low sodium. Rinse to remove excess sugar or salt.
Inexpensive nutritious foods
The following foods are less than 60 cents per 1/2 cup serving, according to eggnutritioncenter.org: eggs (15 cents per egg), brown rice (14 cents per 1/2 cup), lentils (18 cents per 1/4 cup), sweet potato (21 cents per 1/2 cup), frozen broccoli (31 cents per 1/2 cup), bananas (10 cents per 1/2 cup), frozen berries (56 cents per 1/2 cup), unsweetened applesauce (23 cents per 1/2 cup).
The way you eat is an investment in your health, which means a healthy, well-balanced diet may save you money on future medical bills. Find ways to incorporate nutritious eating into your life, no matter your budget.
Paige is a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in helping people heal their relationship with food. She hosts Nutrition Matters Podcast and has a private nutrition consulting business based in Salt Lake City.