While many health and fitness websites, blogs, and magazines may have you believing that healthy eating is only for top earners, it doesn’t have to break the bank.
With a little planning and a few simple swaps, healthy meals become accessible to any budget.
- Give beans a chance. Eat vegetarian for at least one meal per day. Beans, lentils, tofu, and other vegetarian protein sources are far less expensive than meat, poultry, and fish.
- Cook in season. Locally grown and seasonal vegetables are more economical than purchasing out-of-season varieties that have to travel thousands of miles. Think winter squash in January and tomatoes in August. Added bonus: Seasonal produce tastes better and usually offers the most nutrients.
- Chill out. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables to fill in the seasonal holes. They are picked at their peak and flash frozen, so they offer the same nutritional value as fresh at half the price.
- Be preppy. Skip the pre-chopped or pre-marinated items and do some of the prep yourself. You are paying a pretty penny for someone else to do what you can do at home with a knife and a whisk. That goes for pre-prepared packaged items too.
- Waste not, want not.
- Plan your meals so you know exactly what you need for the week.
- Roast a whole chicken, and use the leftovers for a second meal, and the bones to make broth.
- Use all parts of the vegetable. Add beet greens to a pasta dish or soup, and use vegetable scraps to make homemade vegetable broth.
- Freeze fruits and vegetables that you won’t eat before they expire or use in smoothies.
- Cook up a pot of soup that can be frozen.
- Use your leftovers! Not in the mood for the same exact meal? Here are 7 ways to repurpose leftovers into lunch.
- Don’t be fooled by marketing.
- Marking claims like all natural, GMO free, and gluten-free doesn’t always mean it’s healthier. Some of these labels, like organic offer many environmental benefits, but may not provide more nutrients, so you may want to emphasize organic on certain products like the dirty dozen or animal products if you’re on a budget. .The premium charged for many gluten-free specialty products is only beneficial to those sensitive or intolerant to gluten. So, be wary of health claims that may lead to a higher price tag and choose wisely.
- The latest exotic (and often expensive) superfood is not going going to save your life or melt away unwanted weight.