How to Eat Healthy Under Budget

Health can be easily linked with a great lifestyle, reduced stress and good eating habits. People spend hundreds of dollars trying to embrace the right choices. They spend on buying organic food items, vitamins and on gym memberships. If you are struggling to balance between your budget and right eating habits, you’ve come to the correct place.  

You have to understand that eating healthy is not for the affluent portion of the population only. It is unfortunate that healthy food is often more expensive compared to junk food. If eating healthy is what you want but you are afraid you cannot afford the lifestyle, this article will guide you through. You can eat clean and simultaneously save cash.

It is not impossible to eat healthy on a budget. You need to plan well and select food items that will provide more nutrition for the money you will pay. You must always stick to the list and never stray away from your budget.

Decide Menu Beforehand and Try to Buy in Bulk

It helps to have the week’s menu decided beforehand as you can buy all the ingredients from the grocery store together. While shopping, stick to the list and do not make any impulse purchase. One trip will save gas and might also help get special discounts for bulk purchase. You can even look for coupons and discounts codes for local grocery stores.

Buy Local Fruits and Vegetables in Season

While fruits and vegetable are great for a healthy diet, they may cost a lot when bought during off-season. Select fruits that are in season to avail best prices.

Another great advice is to buy local items. Local business owners who work with native growers are able to negotiate better deals.

Do not Buy any Pre-Packaged, Processed Food

Pre-packed items have high preservative content. They are loaded with sodium and offer empty calories. It doesn’t make any sense to spend so much on these.

Avoid Spending on Packaged Drinks

In addition to the fact that bottled soda, tea, coffee and juices are all very unhealthy, they are very expensive. You should avoid spending on these and drink water instead. It will reduce calorie intake. Also, never buy bottled water. It is a better idea to make a one-time investment on a good water filter.

Buy Frozen Produce

In case you find that fresh produces are not affordable, buy the frozen ones. The frozen fruits and vegetable aisle offers a variety of grocery at dirt-cheap price. They are frozen right after the produce is picked.

When You Cook, Cook for the Entire Week

Finding time to cook meals every day is not easy. It is also not the economically right decision. The best thing to do would be to cook a lot of food at once and refrigerate for rest of the week. This way, you will only have to prep your kitchen one time every week. As food will be prepared already, you will avoid eating out.

Grow Your Own Fruits and Vegetables

You can plant your food in the garden. You can grow all kinds of vegetables and fruits and also plant various herbs and peppers. Most commonly grown items include tomatoes, strawberries, spinach, lettuce and cilantro. This method can really save a lot of money.

Order Healthy Meals from Reliable Companies

On days you cannot cook at home, you can order from companies that can have homemade meals delivered to your door. While selecting a home delivery service, select one that offers best price.

One Easy Way To Reduce Food Costs

reduce food costsAfter years of eating too many of my meals out (and after many prods from the owner of this blog, who constantly made fun of me about it), I have become one of those guys who eats the majority of his food at home.

And honestly, it was my own stupid fault. I didn’t realize that cooking was ridiculously easy if you stick to the basics and have the internet explain things to you. Sure, I can’t pickle a yam, but I can cook a decent chicken, steak, or meatball. Add some vegetables, and that’s a meal. It takes mere minutes away from my schedule, leaving plenty of additional time to squander.

Now that I’m buying a few hundred dollars in groceries per month, I’m conscious about food waste in order to reduce food costs. I’ll go to the store and load up my cart with fruits and veggies, with the plan to eat healthy for a change. A week later, I’ll still have half the produce in the bottom of my fridge, rapidly approaching the best before date.

It’s not a good scenario. Which is why I learned to ignore best before dates, and you should too.

Remember, they’re only a suggestion

A few years ago, I sold potato chips for a living. You’ve heard of the brand.

Part of the agreement the company had with the stores was any chips past the best before date would get pulled off the shelf, with the customer getting credit for their cost. I’d take the expired bags with me, where they’d either eventually be eaten by me or people I knew, or thrown out. Most of the time, those chips hit the trash.

Take it from someone who ate more than his share of expired potato chips. I just about guarantee that the average person couldn’t tell the difference between a bag that was fresh and a bag that was just recently expired. Eventually they’d start to taste stale a few months after the best before date.

What was interesting is the difference between different chip companies. One of Canada’s major chip brands has an 8-week shelf life. The other one has 13 weeks. There might be minor differences between the two production processes, but that’s it.

Why is that? Most people think best before dates are set by the government, or at least by a central body. They determine the shelf life on something, take off a week or two just in case, and slap a date on there. But in reality, it’s the manufacturers who police themselves.

The system works well. The last thing a chip company wants is to have you crack open a bag of rippled and see a substandard product inside. They know better than anyone the shelf life for chips, so they date the product accordingly. The difference in dates has more to do with internal product control than it does with being able to eat it.

How you can save cash when you reduce food costs 

The last thing anyone wants you to do is ignore best before dates completely, or else I’ll start getting angry emails from someone who choked down some yogurt from 1998.

Instead, view them as sort of a suggestion. Meat, dairy, and produce go bad faster than anything packaged, so I’m always more careful around perishable stuff. Even if it’s a day or two before the date, I’ll still give something a sniff before I consume it, just in case. But often, I can get away with eating that stuff up to a few days after the best before date. As long as it smells okay, I’m good to go.

Meat is easy to extend too, since just about every kind can be frozen without incident. You’ll only want to keep it for 60-90 days though, since after that it’ll start to get freezer burnt. You can even freeze certain kinds of fruits and veggies too.

But when it comes to packaged stuff, I say you don’t have to be very careful at all, especially if it has been sealed the whole time. There’s so many preservatives in that stuff you can go nuts weeks or even months after the best before date.

By selectively consuming food after the expiry date, you can easily save money and reduce food costs. We already throw out too much food, there’s no need to add to that pile.

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