One of the biggest complaints of clean eating we hear on a regular basis is that it's just too expensive! Yes. It definitely can be, but it doesn't have to be. People fall victim to the mindset that fast food is their best option. It's cheap, filled with tasty flavors and fit in today’s fast-paced world where many people hardly have enough time to cook their own meals. But those burgers, fries, pizzas, donuts and soft drinks come with a hidden price – your health. (Or maybe not so hidden. You already know those cheeseburgers are bad for your right!)
Fast food and other convenience foods are loaded with too much sodium, extra sugar, saturated fat and harmful chemical preservatives. When you think about how expensive the cost of managing heart disease, diabetes and obesity, those meals don’t seem to be much of a bargain.
Most people eat junk food because they believe that eating healthy doesn’t come cheap. Clean eating on a budget IS possible. Here are 10 tips you can use to start eating healthy on a budget.
- 1 Clean eating on a budget
- 1.1 1. Buy Frozen Fruits & Vegetables
- 1.2 2. Drink Plenty Of Water
- 1.3 3. Fill Up On Fiber-Rich Foods
- 1.4 4. Plan Your Meals
- 1.5 5. Don’t Go Shopping When You’re Hungry
- 1.6 6. Freeze Your Leftovers
- 1.7 7. Go For Fresh, Lean Meats
- 1.8 8. Look For Special Offers
- 1.9 9. Make things from scratch
- 1.10 10. Prepare Your Healthy Meals In Advance
- 1.11 11. Take Advantage Of The "Has to Go" Rack
Clean eating on a budget
1. Buy Frozen Fruits & Vegetables
Buying frozen fruits and vegetables can be a great money saving option. Frozen foods usually have a longer shelf life and this makes them cheaper than their fresh counterparts. Since good vendors pack their frozen fruits and vegetables right from the farms, many of the nutrients are locked in, thus ensuring that the frozen produce retains all its nutritional value.
You can even save more by buying healthy frozen fruits and vegetables in bulk when they’re on offer, then store them in your freezer and not have to worry about the food going bad. Also, make sure you compare the prices to the fresh version at the store. If you find the fresh produce is cheaper you can buy those, and freeze them yourself.
2. Drink Plenty Of Water
Water is the best beverage to keep you hydrated. It contains no calories and best of all, it costs next to nothing. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day helps to promote weight loss, flushes out toxins, improves skin complexion, boosts immune function and relieves fatigue. Water will also help keep you full on less food and the less you eat, the healthier you are and the more money you save.
It's also a good idea to invest in a good water filter. I love my Berkey water filter, and although it's a bit pricey upfront, it has saved me money in the long run because buying water bottles is very expensive over time.
3. Fill Up On Fiber-Rich Foods
Fiber provides a feeling of satiety since it metabolizes slowly in the digestive tract. This in turn curbs hunger cravings, allowing you to eat less and spend less. Fruits, leafy greens and whole grains are some of the best sources of fiber. These foods are also packed with nutrients and generally low in calories, making them a great addition to any healthy diet.
4. Plan Your Meals
Creating a meal plan for the week and grocery shopping only for those things on your grocery list will save you tons on your grocery bill. Meal planning may sound intimidating, but it's really not to hard. You start by creating a "menu" for the week. I usually simplify it and create 7 meals that will be enough for left overs the next day. Eating left overs stretches your grocery budget and decrease the amount of time you spend cooking!
5. Don’t Go Shopping When You’re Hungry
You’re more likely to succumb to temptation and buy expensive foods and snacks when shopping on an empty stomach. Having a meal before you shop for food will actually help you to avoid impulsive spending and stick to healthy choices while you shop. If you don’t have time for a full meal, a filling healthy snack will still work to help you avoid overspending.
6. Freeze Your Leftovers
Studies have shown that the average family of four in the US throws away about 40% of the food that they purchase every year. However, these leftovers can easily be frozen and re-heated. By doing this, you’ll avoid wasting such large quantities of food that would otherwise end up in the garbage bin and therefore spend much less at the grocery store.
7. Go For Fresh, Lean Meats
While processed meats such as burgers and fried chicken are tempting, they’re neither healthy nor good value for money. If you purchase fresh, lean cuts of meat such as chicken breast or turkey breast, you’ll pay as little as $0.50 per serving. You’ll also supply your body with the essential nutrients it needs without filling up on harmful trans fats and chemical preservatives. The best part is with a few spices, you can crank up the flavor of these meats and make them taste even better than their processed counterparts.
8. Look For Special Offers
Before heading to the grocery store, take the time to look for discount deals. There are many sites online which provide great deals on local healthy foods which are constantly updated. Local daily newspapers are another excellent way to find discounted healthy groceries in your area. Also, make sure to keep your eyes peeled when you’re in the grocery store, as there are likely to be lots of promotions running while you shop.
9. Make things from scratch
Making your own condiments and sauces from scratch can save you money, and help you create healthier versions of these things. They taste great when homemade, and allows you to get creative and have fun in the kitchen. There are loads of fresh fun recipes on the internet.
10. Prepare Your Healthy Meals In Advance
A sure way to overspend is by heading to the grocery store unprepared and tossing whatever looks good into your shopping cart. Instead of doing this, plan your healthy meals in advance and write a shopping list for the week ahead. This will allow you to control how much you spend on groceries and prevent you from going over your budget.
11. Take Advantage Of The "Has to Go" Rack
You can cut back on your grocery bill by checking for discounted foods at the clearance rack. Some stores mark down the price tag on perishable goods that are stacked on shelves when the expiry dates are nearing in order to encourage buying and reduce waste. By taking advantage of these deals, you can enjoy discounts of up to 75% on a range of tasty and healthy foods. Many of these foods on the clearance rack can be frozen, so even though you’re paying a fraction of the price, you don’t need to eat them right away.
If you want to eat clean on a budget but haven’t found a way to do it while sticking to your grocery budget, these 10 tips can be used to slash your shopping bill while increasing your intake of healthy foods. So start implementing them right now and see how much money you save.