Here's How Eating Healthy Can Save You Huge!

Eating healthy meals nourishes your body and brain – but does it hurt your budget? Many people believe eating healthy is expensive, but that’s not necessarily the case. Not only can you enjoy healthy foods on a small budget, but eating healthy can actually be cheaper than eating junk!

Whether you want to eat healthier for the physical benefits or as a way to save money, here are the steps to take:

Make a Grocery List

According to research from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, making a grocery list is the number one way to help do the following:

  • Eat healthier
  • Save money on food
  • Save time when shopping at the store

A list allows you to plan out your meals beforehand. Plus, using a list helps you cut down on impulse purchases when you’re at the store.

Experts recommend creating a Master List with blanks you fill in before each trip. Organize the list by food group or food type such as canned, frozen, etc. Organizing by food type is often the most efficient option if you regularly shop at the same store.

Avoid Eating Out (Especially Fast Food)

A CNN special report revealed that, on any given day, approximately 36% of the US population eats at a fast-food joint. Unfortunately, fast food is incredibly unhealthy. It’s high in calories and loaded with salt, sugar, fat and other junk.

According to an article published by SFGate, the average American spends about $7,023 on food annually, with $3,008 of that going to restaurant meals. Fast food might seem like an affordable option in the moment, but it adds up quickly over time.

Cutting out fast food, and cutting back on dining out, not only boosts your budget, but it’s the healthier option, too. It’s a total win-win!

Buy Frozen Fruits and Vegetables Instead of Fresh

Many people think frozen fruits and vegetables don’t pack the same nutrition and fresh ones – but, in many cases, they do.

Fresh, organic fruits and veggies typically contain the most nutrients and have the purest taste. However, the “fresh” fruit found in most grocery stores has spent tons of time in transit, and it’s far from fresh off the vine.

According to health and wellness expert Dr. Weil, frozen fruits and veggies aren’t just as healthy as fresh; they can actually be healthier.

Why? They’re picked when ripe and immediately washed, killing bacteria and stopping enzyme production. Next, they’re flash-frozen, which helps seal in nutrients.

The most nutritious frozen fruits and vegetables are whole. Avoid the chopped, peeled or crushed type when possible. Look for those with a USDA stamp reading “US Fancy” as they’ll have the most nutrients.

Oh, and did we mention frozen fruits and veggies are typically far cheaper than the ones found in the produce section? Eat healthily and save. 

Buy Frozen Fish

Along the same line as frozen veggies and fruits, frozen fish is a healthy alternative to fresh. Plus, the price difference between fresh and frozen seafood is often significant.

Let’s face it: Unless you live along the coast, the “fresh” seafood available in your grocery store is likely several days old. However, flash-frozen fish are rich in valuable vitamins and nutrients. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week.

Cut Back on Buying Processed Foods

Food is generally cheaper the less the manufacturer does to it. Cheese is an excellent example of this. No matter what cheese you buy, it’s almost always cheaper to buy a block of it instead of the shredded kind.

Grains are another example. Instead of buying processed breakfast cereal, buy grains and oats in bulk. Dried fruit is another food that stores well.

Make Your Own Snacks

Sugary and salty treats taste great, but they’re typically terrible for your health. However, snacking is often about more than simply filling your stomach. It’s an activity enjoyed while you’re watching a movie, socializing and hanging out.

Fortunately, plenty of healthy and affordable alternatives exist. Remember how bulk foods are often cheaper than processed ones? Buy different bulk containers of nuts, raisins and chocolate chips. Mix them together to create a homemade trail mix!

Do you love potato chips but want a healthier alternative? Try kale chips instead. The Food Network has a simple recipe involving this nutrient-dense vegetable:

  • Cut the kale into inch-and-a-half pieces
  • Place the pieces on a baking sheet
  • Sprinkle with olive oil and salt
  • Bake for 20 minutes at 275 degrees

If you’ve never had kale chips before, their similarity in texture and taste to potato chips might surprise you. Even better, kale is packed with vitamins, nutrients and other goodies.

Grow Your Own Food

If you have access to a garden or even a windowsill, you can grow your food and save big. After all, growing food typically only requires starter plants or seeds, water, sun and care.

According to LifeHacker, some of the easiest vegetables for beginners to grow include the following:

  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots

All of these veggies require sun and soil, but they’re generally hardy and able to thrive across the country.

Final Thoughts

With the New Year here, you might want to make changes about how you eat. Fortunately, you don’t have to let your budget hold you back from healthy choices. Eating nutritious dishes is easy, affordable and can result in major benefits to your health and life.

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