How to eat healthy on the cheap ? and ways to eat better on the go.
People often complain that eating healthy is too expensive.
They blame society or fast food chains for their poor health and weight problems.
The truth is, while eating healthy may be less convenient (yes, it takes a little bit of extra work) it doesn’t have to be any more expensive.
I would even argue that if done right, you can actually prepare meals to save money.
Here are some easy steps to increase your healthy food intake while decreasing your grocery bill.
8 easy ways to eat healthy on the cheap :
1. Forget The Meat and Cheese, Please!
Before I became a vegan, I was dropping $30-45 every shopping trip on high protein animal products that I thought were healthy.
Little did I know, that being a heart transplant patient already put me at extremely high risk of developing coronary artery disease.
Eleven years after my transplant, my arteries were so clogged that my doctors wanted to give me another heart transplant.
I was only 24 years old.
Dr. Esselstyn highlights the extensive research he preformed on patents with advanced heart disease.
Through his strict plant based diet, he not only halted the disease in these patients, but often completely reversed it.
Because heart disease is the leading cause of death for American adults, this is a must read for everyone, not just those with a “history” of heart disease.
Now the purpose of this post is not to get you to stop eating animal products, but to get you to save money.
Let’s just do the math.
Say on an average week your family buys two different types of meat and two different types of cheeses.
2 Lb. of skinless chicken breasts at 3.79 a Lb =$7.58
2 Lb. seasoned boneless pork sirloin chop at 3.39 Lb.=$6.78
8 oz. American cheese singles =$2.29
8 oz. sliced Swiss cheese =$3.09
Grand Total =$19.74 a week
And I’ll admit, if you will, that in reality my husband and I went through a lot more meat then that each week.
Whether you choose to go vegan or not, if you are trying to save money, cut down on the animal products!
2. Shop Local
Parkesdale Farms is a favorite market of mine in Plant City, Florida
It might mean one extra stop, but buying at local farmers’ markets helps support your local economy and WILL save you money!
Check out LocalHarvest .org to find a farmers’ market near you.
3. Eating Healthy on a Budget Grocery List : Have a Plan
Set aside time at the beginning of each week to prepare a menu and a shopping list.
Try to use items more then once for different meals, and get creative with substituting high priced items for more reasonable ones.
You just may stumble onto something really tasty!
Here’s a basic grocery list with cheap healthy food to help you eat healthy for less.
4. Do Not, I Repeat, Do Not Shop Hungry!
You know what I’m talking about.
You enter the store with such good intentions.
You’re going to stay away from the cookie aisle and keep your eyes on the shopping list.
But then…you can’t find that strange sauce you are looking for in the ethnic food aisle.
You ask the awkward teenage boy stocking the shelves if he knows where to find it (even though you already know he doesn’t).
He politely finds his supervisor and the three of you search high and low for the item with no avail.
The next thing you know, you’re filling your cart with premade frozen meals and racing old ladies to the checkout.
It’s right after the cashier rings up your half eaten bag of pretzels (of which you feel terribly guilty about) that you realize you are $50 over budget, and only have enough food to make 2 of the meals on your menu. Sigh!
5. Buy Dry Beans
We vegan’s eat a ton of beans and those cans can easily add up.
Not to mention, canned beans have much higher sodium levels and are full of that weird goo!
I had a hard time with this step because no matter how long I cooked my dry beans they were always hard.
Half the time I would completely forget to soak them.
I would end up making a last minute shopping trip for a can of beans to complete a recipe.
When I finally read The McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook I learned the secret for perfect beans:
- 1: make more beans then you need (I usually do about 4 or 5 cups each time).
- 2: place them in a crockpot and let them soak over night (do not turn it on yet).
- 3: about 3 hours before you are ready to eat, drain the water and replace it, leaving the water level about two inches above the beans.
- 4: cook on high for approximately three hours or until the beans are soft.
- 5: Freeze the extras! Now you will have a stockpile of frozen beans that just need to be thawed!
6. Buy Frozen Vegetables
Some vegetables are always better fresh, however; certain veggies do not loose any nutrition when they are frozen.
As a general rule, EatingWell.com says:
when vegetables are in season, buy them fresh.
Out of season vegetables are fine frozen.
7. Plant an Herb Garden
Fresh herbs have many health benefits and add tons of flavor to your vegan dishes.
Buying these delicious herbs fresh can get expensive.
Herb gardens can be difficult in apartments.
However, I have successfully grown rosemary, oregano and basil in my apartment.
Here is a simple post by Apartment Therapy on how to make a one-pot indoor herb garden.
8. Meal Budgeting : Buy In Bulk
I store my dry goods in old canisters and used chalk board labels to differentiate them
This is a simple step that most people know, but it is often neglected.
If you know you are going to continuously use a product, by a bigger portion.
I actually “subscribe” to certain products on amazon like fresh food here.
My couscous, whole wheat pasta, and quinoa, are set up to be automatically delivered to my doorstep every few months.
I save even more money by doing this and avoid the hassle of having to carry extra groceries up three flights of stairs.
There you have it, some simple steps to eat healthy on the cheap.
What money saving tips do you have?