Do you want some tips on how to eat healthy on a low budget? This is for you ! It is common knowledge that some healthy foods are expensive especially in regions where the foods are not locally produced. To consume healthy foods, you have to buy healthy foods! However, you can actually eat healthy on a low budget if you follow these simple tips that has been working for me.
Buy Locally Produced Foods
Imported foods are far more expensive than locally produced foods. This is due to shipping or logistics cost which has to be added to the original cost of the item. The smart thing to do is to check for locally produced items before picking imported ones. For instance, a bundle of local spinach cost $0.30 while a box of imported spinach costs $4 in my local supermarket. This is a significant difference in cost. Spinach is spinach! The brand, type or where it is from does not make it unhealthy! So save yourself a lot of money by buying the local one. The same thing goes for a lot of food products like apples, lettuce, cabbage, oranges and avocados.
There are certain foods that originate from a particular country or region of the world that is not grown by some countries. This includes nuts, seeds, salmon, berries, pears and so on. Check the shelf for one with the lowest price. Certain foods like chia seeds can last for weeks before running out. I bought a pack (500g) of chia seeds and I add a table spoon daily to my food or smoothie. It lasts for a couple of weeks before I restock again.
Focus on Needs Rather Than Wants
Many times we spend a lot of money buying things that we do not really need. To eat healthy on a low budget, you have to make a list of healthy foods you need and stick to your list in the grocery store. Except in cases where you find something you need but forgot to add to your list. This practice saves one from unnecessary spending. You should not go the store to buy fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods and return home with ice cream, cakes, white bread or sugary drinks.
I realized that buying food items in bulk saves a good amount of money. Sometimes it’s hard to be able to buy foods in bulk if you have limited income but proper planning and bulk buying of affordable foods can make a great difference. Remember to check the expiry dates on each item you are buying so they don’t end up expiring before you finish consuming them. Sometimes prices of food items are significantly reduced when they are about to expire. Check how many months you have before stocking up on them. Also, fresh foods and vegetables are perishable and do not last very long. Be sure to buy enough for a couple of days or a week and store in the refrigerator.
Cook Your Meals
It is quite a busy world and everyone is busy with work, studies or even caring for the kids at home. However, creating time to cook will save you some money and help you spend less on healthy eating. Not everyone has the time to cook every day and to be honest, it can be tiring! Cook enough for the day with extra to store in the fridge or freezer. Cook large portions if you can. This way, you do not need to cook every day and the food will be readily available when you need to eat. Some people cook several meals during the weekends so they do not have to cook during the week. This depends on what works best for you based on your time and schedule.
Buy Cheaper Nutrient Rich Food Substitutes
I do this a lot of times. There are so many varieties for foods that contain similar nutrients. If one type is expensive and the other cheaper, choose the cheaper option. Salmon is rich in protein and heart healthy fats. However, if it is too expensive in your country, you can choose eggs and avocados for protein and healthy fats. Kale and asparagus are very expensive where I live because they are imported so I buy lettuce, spinach, cabbage and cauliflower that are cheap. So you really do not need to break the bank to eat healthy. Make smart shopping choices and enjoy healthy foods on a low budget!
There is a popular saying by Lee Swanson “If you think the pursuit of good health is expensive and time consuming, try illness”. Food is health care so strive to fuel your body with quality foods that will keep the doctors away!
See also How to Eat and Stay Healthy.