Mike wrote a great post last week on how the income gap truly is affecting our eating habits and our health. People with a limited food budget often feel they have no control over what they eat, and that they have no choice but to buy unhealthy foods. This is a myth. Although eating healthy does indeed take effort, you can eat healthy on a limited budget. Here are some ways you can eat healthy without draining your bank account.
Eat Healthy on a Limited Budget
Plan Around the Sales
We all have heard that menu planning is a vital key to a low grocery budget, and both Grayson and I can testify that it’s true. Our family of six spends between $400-$500 dollars a month on groceries, and Grayson’s family of three spends less than half of what we spend. One way you can spend less and still eat healthy is to plan your menu around the sales. Is chicken on sale this week? Then pick up a package of chicken, and serve several meals that include chicken. You can do homemade chicken noodle soup, chicken stir fry, or chicken and steamed vegetables. Scour the sale ads each week and plan your meal menu around what’s both cheap and healthy.
Learn to Cook at Home and Cut Down on Processed Foods
Processed foods are easier, I get that, and there’s nothing like a box of processed macaroni and cheese to soothe your carb cravings. However, those processed foods and the chemicals they contain aren’t the best choice health wise, and you can make homemade macaroni and cheese for the same amount of money – if not cheaper – than the processed food counterpart. And yes, the kids will get used to it. My kids have been eating homemade macaroni and cheese for so long now that they refuse to eat the boxed stuff. Another money saving tip that will better your health: stop buying pop, chips and other processed snacks, and trade them in for healthier choices like some veggies and dip.
Learn Not to Waste Food
Waste not, want not, as the old saying goes. The average family wastes a whopping 25% of the food they bring into their house. How much of your food budget would that add up to? There are ways, however, to cut down on food waste and save your budget in the process. Got leftover chicken? Turn it into a chicken casserole by mixing it with noodles, some veggies and a can of cream-based soup. Make smaller portions so that food waste isn’t an issue, or bring the leftovers to work for lunch and skip the trip to McDonald’s for a meal deal. When vegetables are getting near throwing-out time, make up a quick veggie soup or casserole, or chop them up and freeze them to be used in another meal later. Make a commitment in your home that food will not be wasted, and save yourself a good chunk of change in the process.
Learning to eat healthy on a limited budget does take work, but it can be done if you’re willing to put in some effort. Make a commitment today to assess your grocery spending and see where you can make changes that will not only save you money, but help you to eat healthier in the process.
Image via SodexoUSA, enhanced by me!
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