Many believe that two of the main obstacles that prevent them from a healthy diet: accessibility and affordability of healthy food. But both of these are no longer in our way as consumers.
For instance, the argument that “bad” foods are just more convenient for busy people who are on-the-go and don’t have time to cook is null and void. Even fast food chains offer “healthy” menu items, whether it’s a salad, wrap, or smoothie. There are even more establishments specifically for healthy eats—even if it means stopping by at Jamba Juice for a kale smoothie to start your day.
There are also more Whole Foods popping up all over the place, as well as more local and organic foods filling up the produce aisles in supermarkets. And while it costs a bit more to eat organic, you can no longer argue that McDonald’s can feed the entire family for cheaper when compared to buying fruits, vegetables and meats.
Okay, you can order from the dollar menu, but go to any fast food joint and two value meals are easily $20. You can still be on a tight budget and choose to eat healthy.
Eat At Home, Not Out
The first way to save money regardless if it’s for your health’s sake is to avoid eating out. The Pick 2’s at Panera, Jamba Juice and build your own salads at other places really add up. And we want to lose weight, not money.
So instead, go food shopping as often as you can. It might sound like you will be spending more to shop more, but you really just need to make it a habit to pick up a few things you need each time.
Set one shopping trip as a big one to stock up on kitchen essentials and staples like condiments. Then, hit up the supermarket a few times throughout the month to pick up what you need for specific meals for the next few days.
This helps prevents you from buying a fridge full of healthy food that spoils before you get to eat it—saving you money right there. Picking up groceries a big bundle of broccoli, bag of baby carrots, package of mushrooms, with a healthy side like quinoa and a protein like chicken breasts or salmon will last for say three dinners for a couple for about $40.
To compare, ordering for two on Seamless can easily be $25-$30 with tax, delivery charge and tip—and that’s just one meal.
Plan Your Meals, Cook For Later
Shopping often for fresh ingredients will help you plan your dinners for the week. But buy your meats in bulk and freeze the leftovers in ziplock baggies. It’s cheaper to buy more than just by the pound.
Freezing meals is another great way to have nutritious meals on hand for whenever. Think about doing this when making things like soups, too.
Planning your meals in advance will alone help you stay on track to eating more healthy. Then, use the leftovers to bring with you as lunch for the next day.
Cook larger portions than that one meal so that you can eat it again during the week so days when you are too tired to cook. Just switch it up to prevent meals from getting boring such as adding grilled chicken breast into a salad or wrap instead of eating it dinner style.
When you do go food shopping, shop smart. This means getting the most bang for your buck such as picking up a bag of sweet potatoes or whole wheat pasta, things that will last longer and is still good for you.
Make sure you go food shopping after you eat to avoid the “I’m so hungry, let me buy everything” phenomenon. This means avoiding junk food aisles.
This also means….
Look For A Sale
There are countless apps available that can help you find coupons on food like Saving Star. But don’t forget to sign up for your supermarket’s loyalty program. This is usually free, and you will then have a savings card to get the deals and specials they are running.
How do you save money while still eating healthy? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo: Dean Hochman |Flickr