Eating Healthy on a Budget

Eating Healthy on a Budget

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Most of us are aware of the benefits of eating healthy and eating less processed foods. However, many people don’t eat well claiming it is “too expensive” or they can’t afford it. I disagree. Eating healthy on a budget can be done!

Eating Healthy On a Budget

Regardless of which dietary practice you follow, the common guidelines are to eat more fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, and less processed foods.

Organic and items labeled as “healthy” can cost more, but they don’t have to.

Follow along with these tips, and learn how to get started eating healthy on a budget.

Eating Healthy on a Budget
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Cook More at Home

The first way to save money is to cook more at home. It is almost always less expensive to buy ingredients and prepare food yourself as opposed to eating out.

Also, pre-made meals tend to cost much more than purchasing the items separately and cooking for yourself.

Set aside some time to meal prep each week and try cooking at home. Plan out a few meals each week and see how much money you can save in your budget.

Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry

Never go to the grocery store hungry! Try to go in the morning and after you have eaten a meal. Cravings are commonly lower in the morning. Your energy level is usually its highest which will prevent you from craving sugary or salty snacks.

If you shop hungry, you will be much more likely to make impulse buys and end up with processed foods and junk food that you didn’t need.

Meal Plan

Erin Condren Meal Planner Petiteplanner
Erin Condren Meal Planner

Meal planning is one of the best ways to save money each week. Dedicate about 30 minutes once a week to plan out what you will eat for the upcoming week.

Make a grocery list of what you will need and stick to it.

When you go to the grocery store with a plan, you will only buy what you need. You’ll save money and have much less wasted food each week. For more information on getting started meal planning, read this article.

Eat Less Meat

Organic or regular meat is expensive. A pound of chicken breasts typically ranges from $4-10 depending on where you shop.

If you are sticking to a strict budget, try to add in more meatless meals.

Garbanzo beans, black beans, or even tofu are only a fraction of the cost. If you are getting started eating vegetarian, try this vegan coconut curry.

Shop What’s In Season

Eating Healthy on a Budget

When you are buying fresh produce, try to stick with produce that is currently in season. During the summertime, you will find frequent sales on berries, cucumbers, lettuce, squash, and other local produce.

During the fall, apples, squash, kale, and brussels sprouts are usually less expensive.

Depending on where you live, the seasonal produce will vary slightly. Learn what is in season and adapt your shopping around that.

If you have any extras, you can freeze it for the wintertime when there are not as many in-season options.

Buy Frozen Vegetables

During the winter when most vegetables are not in season, stock up on frozen vegetables. These are so easy to add to soups, curries, pasta, or any cooked meal.

Buy in bulk and just use a cup or two at a time. This will save you a lot of money on produce and virtually eliminates waste since what you don’t use at the time will keep in the freezer until you are ready for it.

Join a CSA

CSA’s (Community-Supported Agriculture) are available in many cities across the country and becoming more popular. If you are not familiar with them, CSAs are partnerships with local farms in which you receive in-season produce all season long.

Typically you sign up at the beginning of the season and receive deliveries once per week.

These programs provide you with fresh local produce at a discounted price. Also, they force you to try new vegetables and eat more produce.

Additionally, when you join a CSA you are supporting your local economy. This is a win-win for all.

Thrive Market

Thrive Market

For everything that is not local, try Thrive Market. I recently discovered Thrive Market and instantly fell in love!

This site sells only organic foods and household items and offers them at wholesale prices. Thrive takes out the “middle man” and ships directly to you at a lower price than you will find elsewhere.

They even offer a guarantee that if you do not save $60 within the first 3 months, they will refund you!

I love Thrive Market because I can search for items I need without having to filter through unhealthy options. I know everything that they offer is what I like.

Try Thrive today and save 25% off your first purchase with this link!

Learn When to Eat Organic and When Not To

In an ideal world, everything we eat would be organic, non-GMO, and healthy. However, when we are sticking to a budget, we have to somehow make choices.

My favorite resource for deciding what should be organic and what does not need to be is the EWG’s Dirty Dozen/ Clean 15 list.

The Dirty Dozen reviews the “dirtiest” fruits and vegetables. The produce items on this list have the highest concentration of harmful pesticides. These are the items that you definitely will want to purchase organic if possible.

Alternatively, The Clean Fifteen items are foods that do not need to be organic. Most items on this list have a thick outer layer and therefore don’t absorb pesticides as easily. These include avocados, melons, or pineapple.

Review these lists and save some money on regular produce for items on the Clean Fifteen List.

Value Your Health

I am aware that many families do not have extra spending money each month. However, I frequently see people who say they cannot afford to eat healthy, but can afford to buy new shoes and designer bags frequently.

Clothes come and go, but we only get one body. It is important to prioritize your health and pay attention to what you are fueling your body with. It may not be as fun to spend money on produce instead of new gadgets, but it is worthwhile.

The more you invest in your health now, the less you will need to spend on medications or hospital bills in the future!

If you are ready to take control of your health, start here with these tips on clean eating for beginners.

You are worth the time and investment. No matter where your starting point is, change is possible, and you can live a healthier life.

Eating Healthy on a Budget
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Healthy Eating on a Budget

35 thoughts on “Eating Healthy on a Budget”

  1. These are fantastic tips! Eating frozen vegetables, in season, less meat (better quality), and buying selectively organic are some of my go-to tips for saving money while eating healthy. These have helped me somewhat stay on budget, and I am so glad that you are sharing them with others!

  2. Eatting healthy is so important! I always meal plan because if i don’t then we eat like crap! These were all really good points! Im going to pin to my pinterest! Great job!

    1. Mindful Mama Health

      Thank you so much! Meal planning is a must for us as well! We always end up eating out or unhealthy otherwise!

  3. Eating healthy is so IMPORTANT. Love these tips to help people because I think everyone should be trying to eat the best they can.

  4. such an informative post! I’m trying hard to keep a healthy eating lifestyle during the summer before school starts and keeping it on a budget will be super helpful!

  5. Great tips! Thank you! I have also found that by being more conscientious of what I’m putting in my body, the less I’m inclined to buying food that I really don’t need – definitely saving money!

    1. Mindful Mama Health

      Absolutely! Processed snack foods add up quickly! You can really save a lot when you just buy real Foods and ingredients.

  6. amandawarfield

    These are all such great tips! Meal planning and not going to the store hungry has saved us SO much money! I want to try to incorporate less meat now as well. Thank you!

    1. Mindful Mama Health

      They are such a great way to get fresh produce and to force yourself to eat more vegetables! Love CSAs!

  7. Very interesting post! I have never heard about the Dirty dozen list but I am quite suprised that bananas are not on it as Ive read they are full of pesticides. What do you think?

    1. Mindful Mama Health

      Good luck! I know for our family, when I don’t meal plan, we end up eating out more each week. Sometimes our grocery bill might go up a little bit, but we save money overall by cooking more at home. Hope this works for you!

    1. Mindful Mama Health

      Yes I’ve made that mistake once before too! I like to shop right after I’ve exercised and I’m feeling healthy and motivated.

  8. These are such a great tips ! I definitely follow these and it really does help! In California I feel like the prices just keeeep going up way to often !

    1. Mindful Mama Health

      That must be difficult to keep up with the rising prices! We see that a lot here in New York too!

  9. Great tips! I am a vegetarian and I definitely feel that saves us money! Thrive is awesome! Knowing when to eat organic and when not to is so helpful when trying to stay on a budget.

  10. I like the tip of not going to the store when you’re hungry. That keeps you both from buying crap food and from spending extra money on the junk!

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