One of the most common excuses we have about eating healthy is that healthy food is expensive. But, eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of tips and tricks for being able to afford healthy groceries without clipping coupons. Because let’s face it, if you’re like me, you’ll clip them and them completely forget about them until you’re in the checkout line. Come on, I can’t be the only one…
Whether you are a college student, cooking for a large family or just trying to save a little each week, check out my top 8 ways to eat healthy on a budget.
01. Hello, Aldi
It blows my mind how name brand products can be double the price of a store brand. Yet, taste basically the same. If you don’t care about name brands, head over to your local Aldi.
Aldi is a discount grocery store that offers a variety of items for half the price of your typical grocery store. They have a great variety of produce, dairy, vegan foods, grains, canned goods, packaged items, oats, spices and even baby and pet foods. Heck, they even have a whole isle dedicated to random stuff you didn’t know you needed for the house.
Picture walking out of Aldi with a packed cart and a receipt half the price of Weis or ShopRight. No brainer, right?
02. Oh Hey, Thrive Market
If you are a Whole Foods and Trader Joes type of shopper but don’t enjoy the price tags, check out Thrive Market. Simply put, Thrive is like an online Costco or Sams Club that’s focused on healthy items. Plus, they offer free shipping and opportunities to give back to charities.
Easily search for popular health foods, products and even accessories. I love Thrive because you can buy in bulk and each week they send you an email offer to get a product for free. And we all know, if it’s free, it’s for me!
03. Inexpensive Foods
I still get angry at the fact that a full meal at the drive thru costs you $1, while a pound of apples rarely falls below $1.99. It’s no wonder so many people think it’s difficult to eat healthy on a budget! That said, there are plenty of healthy, yet inexpensive, foods in you standard grocery store. While fresh is always best, just because a product is canned or boxed doesn’t automatically make it unhealthy – just be sure to check the labels for added sugar, preservatives and artificial ingredients.
Here is a list of generally inexpensive healthy foods that you can buy in bulk.
- Canned tuna/salmon in water
- Canned or dried beans
- Brown Rice or Pasta
- Frozen Veggies
- Frozen Fruits
- Canned fruit packed in water
- Leaf Lettuces*
- Green Peppers*
*Slice and dice these items and throw them in the freezer to make them last longer!
04. Homemade is the answer
Packaged foods often cost more than raw ingredients themselves. This is because companies have taken the time to prep and put them together for you. Convenient? Sure. Packed with sugar, salt and preservatives? Oh, absolutely. Instead of buying the escape route foods, save money and make them healthier by making them at home.
- Spaghetti Sauce
- Frozen Breakfast Burritos
- Peanut Butter or Almond Butter
- Macaroni and Cheese
- French Fries
- Chicken Nuggets
05. Freeze Everything
Pretty self-explanatory, right? Freeze EVERYTHING. And yes, I mean everything! Buy extra healthy foods when they go on sale and then freeze them for later. This requires some effort on your part, but, the reward is totally worth the effort.
Here are some ideas of what you can buy fresh and then freeze for later:
- Broth, Sauces and Soups
- Bananas (make sure to peel them first)
- Spinach/Kale (throw right into your smoothies)
- Chopped Onions
- Fresh Herbs (or dry them out)
- Cherries (pitted)
06. Make a List
You may dread it, but when it comes to saving money at the grocery story, planning is KEY. Use one day each week to plan your meals for the upcoming week. I personally like Sundays.
Once you have a plan, write a grocery list of what you need to get. Make sure to check the back of the fridge, pantry and all those frozen fruits and veggies you have before you head out to the store. And the kicker… when you hit the grocery store, make sure to actually stick to the list. It is super easy to get sidetracked and make unintended purchases.
07. Pack a Lunch
This might seem like a no brainer, but it’s true. Too often I hear people make excuses on why they struggle to eat healthy or don’t have the money to spend on their health. Yet, they’re always hitting up their favorite coffee shops or food spots for a morning wake-up or lunch. Listen, $5 lattes every day adds up and do you really need to order out for lunch every day? If you’re trying to stick on a budget, no you don’t.
Instead of going out, make it at home! Not only will it be healthier, but you’re saving money. Which, not to mention, is the point.
Cook 1-2 large batches of recipes that you can portion out to last the entire week. It’s cheaper to only have to cook once and it cuts down on time and stress from cooking the night of. All you have to do is take it out of the freezer and pop it right into the microwave or oven.
Pro tip: think of meals that can be eaten in a couple of different ways so you don’t get bored with eating the same thing over and over again.
So there you have it, my top 8 ways to eat healthy on a budget. Eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank, you just have to be smart with your choices and give it a shot.
Share your favorite ways to eat healthy on a budget it in the comments below!
Need recipe inspiration? Check out this exclusive eBook, Eat Right When the Time is Tight!