It is the New Year and so many of us have resolved to eat better. What if you are on a budget though? Can you eat healthy on a budget? Healthy food is expensive! In fact, isn't that why fast food and junk food is so alluring? It is so cheap and it is so easy!
Eating healthy on a budget is completely possible though, you just have to know your way around the supermarket a bit better. Here are 5 tips to eat healthy on a budget:
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store
We have all heard this one before. Around the perimeter of the grocery store is where you find the fresh fruits and veggies, meats and dairy. Most of these foods are either in their natural state, or at least very close to it. You won't find as many preservatives and additives as you will in the inner aisles. Not only that, because these items generally don't require much packaging or manufacturing they aren't as expensive as their inner aisle counterparts. Eating foods mainly from the perimeter of the grocery store is good for your waistline and for your wallet.
Shop the bulk foods aisle
Buying certain items in bulk can save you a good deal of money. Specifically items that do not go on sale very often, and that you consider a staple in your diet. Beans, rice, flour, sugar are just a few of the staple items that can be cheaper when bought in bulk.
Make your own convenience foods
Frozen diet meals can be very alluring to a time conscience dieter. Try to avoid the temptation and make convenience meals on your own at home. You can either make extra at dinner every night, or do a once a week batch of foods to store in the freezer. A bit of planning will not only make for more convenient meals throughout the week, they will also be healthier. Make freezer burritos and breakfast casseroles for quick and easy breakfasts, stirfrys and salads for lunches. You can even make your own granola bars and pop tarts!
Planning your menu every week insures that there will be no diet surprises. If you know you have a big dinner party coming up, you can plan your week accordingly. This will save you money, because you knew not to buy dinner food for that night. It will also save you calories, because you can plan to eat a bit less to make room for a few splurges! An important part of your new healthy lifestyle will be planning and accountability. Menu planning reduces your chances for slip ups and saves you money.
Get the entire family on board
If you are on a healthy eating kick, but your family is not, you might find it a struggle to keep your grocery bill reasonable. You might also find it a struggle to stay on your diet! Eating healthy can benefit everyone. Kids do not need sugary cereals and juices any more then you do. Cut the junk food from the family budget altogether. Be creative and find yummy alternative options to your favorite high calorie/high dollar foods.
You can eat healthy on a budget, and it is not as hard as you might think. It takes planning, strategy and a bit of creativity. Good luck on your healthy eating endeavors in the New Year!
What are your plans for eating healthy in 2011?