Healthy eating is important in life. Although it’s usually a lot easier to swallow down a lot of junk food and just get by with the full stomach and empty calories it provides, your best bet for long-term health, well-being and a happy stomach is with eating wholesome, balanced and healthy food. The problem is that many people think that eating healthy also means an empty wallet, and this is simply not true at all. You can get healthy ingredients and healthy foods without spending a monthly fortune and you can do this without doing all sorts of financial acrobatics with your grocery budget. Let’s take a look at several tips that show you how.
1. Buy Whole Foods
Instead of spending money on what are often much more expensive prepared foods and packaged dinners, stick to whole foods as much as possible in your diet. Buy whole grain bread, pasta, rice, oatmeal, beans, potatoes and cabbage or spinach for your carbohydrates. For protein, stick to lean meat, beef, pork, chicken, eggs, low-fat cheese, milk and yoghurt. Finally, for your fats, you can depend on the fat found in your protein rich foods but also add in servings of healthier fats like olive oil, fatty nuts, and healthy oils. Generally speaking, choose whole foods that are richer in protein and unsaturated fats because they provide the most calories per gram of weight, giving you more per dollar spent.This doesn’t mean that you have to buy at the most trendy and expensive urban supermarket or specialty shops. You can go to a regular grocery and still grab all of the above; they may not always be as free range, grass-fed or organic as they would be from some specialty shops, but they will still be much healthier than any processed and packaged food.
2. Stock up on Cheaper Proteins
You don’t need to be buying filet mignon or choice free range corn-fed chicken breasts in order to receive your daily protein intake. You can go for lower priced protein, just as long as you avoid getting it from processed foods. Instead of choice meat cuts, try to create inventive and tasty dishes using cheaper selections of beef, pork, lower priced fish or other meats. Eat more dairy proteins such as yoghurt, milk, cheese and protein rich vegetables like spinach. Another option is to buy canned oily fish that are rich in Omega 3 fat and long on shelf life. These can give you excellent protein intake without costing your wallet heavily.
3. Save Money with Frozen and Canned Foods
If you’d like to save still more cash on eating healthy, go for frozen whole foods like fish, salmon, red meat, vegetables and fruits. All of these cost a fair bit less than their fresh counterparts while still providing the same or only slightly less nutritional value. Modern flash freezing techniques pretty much guarantee that any veggies, fruits and meats you buy will be just as nutritionally rich as they would be fresh.You can also stock up on supplies of vegetables like canned tomatoes and dry goods such as beans and peas. All of these can be quite cheap, last a long time on the shelves and are excellent sources of carbs and other nutrients without being heavy on preservatives.
4. Do Some Seasonal Shopping
Look around the supermarkets and farmers markets in your area and see what’s in season at cheaper prices. Tailor your cooking to match. It’s almost always a big cost savings to buy fruits and vegetables, sometimes even meats that are in season in your area and on sale at competitive prices.
5. Measure your Cooking Portions
Instead of cooking batches of food that you only partly eat before tossing the leftovers away, measure out how much you need to prepare each day in order to ensure a healthy calorie intake. This will help you keep your weight in line while ensuring that your food lasts longer. You should also save any leftovers from each night’s meal and portion them out over the next days for work lunches or snacks. Doing this gives you the added benefit of saving money on eating out while at work and on lunch breaks.
Some Final Healthy Dining Bonuses
If you’re shopping for groceries, keep a few simple extra steps in mind and save money with all of them: Try to keep your shopping to one location; this will save you gas or public transit fare and save you travel time, both of which ultimately cost more money. You can save still more travel or gas expenses by buying in bulk when you shop and especially by taking advantage of sale offers whenever they suddenly appear. All of these added together will lower your grocery related costs and leave still more money in your pocket for healthy whole foods.
About the Author: Steven Madison covers health news and tips for Anatomy Now. Once a gym rat, Steven now helps others get in the shape they want through personal training and life coaching.