How to Eat Healthy While on a Budget?

Are you looking for ways to eat healthy while on a budget? In this article, you will discover many ways to do just that and enjoy your meals even with a small budget. Of course, we offer here a list of suggestions to adopt for your new lifestyle and you do not have to follow every single one of our tips. We also understand, that eating healthy is not a quick diet but a way of taking care of your health in a long run.

There are many ways to start eating healthy without breaking the bank. With the few tips that we will give you, you will be able to find your own way and little by little integrate useful habits to start taking better care of your body and save some money in the process!

Main tips for eating healthy on a budget

Preparing your meals yourself is one of the most efficient tips to consider. Whether it’s making a list of what meals you’re going to make for Monday lunch, Tuesday night, etc., or preparing all your meals on Sunday by cooking, boxing, and then freezing, this will be a real time and money saver. This way you will avoid any planning mistakes when you need to eat something on the go or buy meals unexpectedly. Cooking yourself is an important way to save money. You will spend much less if you prepare everything yourself.

Some useful tricks will help you change your habits. Using smaller plates will give your brain the impression that you have a lot to eat and you will get full faster. Always finishing what you have in your cupboards and fridge before going shopping again will help you not to waste any food. If there are some leftover meals that can still hold on for a day or two, consider eating them rather than going shopping again right away. This will allow you to avoid buying excess food and to really use everything you buy.

The great, and greatly underappreciated piece of advice is to never shop when you are hungry. It will just make you want to buy more things you don’t need, like candy, saltines, and cookies. You may feel an urge to buy things you would love to eat today, without thinking about feeding yourself for the rest of the week. In the long run, you will spend more money on food that won’t feed you well.

Change your eating habits

Stop drinking sodas and fruit juices that contain only sugar and not real fruits. Replace it with water, homemade fruit juice, or flavored water that you can easily make yourself.

If you have breakfast with cereals such as Lucky Charms, replace them with real cereals that do not contain added sugar that is harmful to your health. Choose a bowl of oatmeal with milk instead of industrial alternatives. Always eat whole foods instead of processed foods. This way you will get more fiber.

You should also try to eat more fish than normal, maybe once or twice a week if you don’t like it much. The fish will provide you with protein, vitamin D, and omega 3 naturally, without any need to spend extra money on supplements.

Try to replace meat in your meals with other proteins such as fish, which we have already discussed, eggs, or vegetarian alternatives. Meat can quickly become quite a costly habit and strongly impact your monthly budget. Eggs are a very good source of protein and are much cheaper than meat.

Of course, eating in a restaurant is as costly as ordering food via delivery platforms. The goal is not to deprive yourself completely of going out and eating with friends, but you can make a budget that will allow you to eat in a restaurant two or three times a month and still keep some of your savings. Use the money you saved practicing good habits every day to eat in a good restaurant with good food from time to time. If you plan it right, you will be able to visit and enjoy some of the more costly places, instead of spending your money on fast food that will fill your belly for a few hours and give you a significant fat intake.

DIY while on a budget

Instead of buying cakes in stores, why not start creating your own snacks? With a bowl of fresh cheese and fruit, you can make small cakes that you can keep for a few days in the fridge. This will not only keep you from wasting your money but will also help you start eating healthier even if you decide to snack between the meals.

If you’re a fan of the peanut butter sandwich, you may want to consider making your own. All you need is a blender. Buying peanuts in bulk will allow you to make more spread for much less money and the quality will of course be much better than the product brought from the store. Finish your sandwich with slices of whole-grain bread to make it even better for your health!

Sometimes we find out that meals we make can be boring or unappealing. But to change your meals completely, you can for example try to make them into burritos by adding a little bit of sauce. Try to experiment and change your recipes and you will quickly notice that you will enjoy your meal much more. Everything is better when it is in a burrito.

You will probably have to eat at least one of your daily meals at school or at work. So buy a lunchbox and prepare your lunch on the weekend or at the beginning of the week so you don’t have to buy a sandwich full of additives at the cafeteria.

Eat healthy on a budget with the grocery list

Now let’s talk about your shopping and how best to approach it to make it efficient and inexpensive.

Prepare your list in advance

Make a shopping list before you head out to shop. It may sound silly but it is very important. This way you will know what you really need to buy and anything that is not on the list, you don’t buy – even if it is tempting at the moment. The goal is to resist the urge to buy too much when you don’t have to. As soon as a product is finished at home, write it down on a list so you don’t forget to purchase it on your next trip to the shop.

It is also helpful to visit several stores. It often happens that you find very similar or even identical products but at different prices depending on the store. That’s why sometimes it’s better to do certain parts of your shopping in two or three different stores. Create a loyalty card in all the stores where you do your shopping, so you can then benefit from their discounts and special offers.

If you like spices, we advise you to go to international stores that will sell you products from all over the world cheaper than in your usual supermarket.

What to buy while shopping on a budget

Here are some tips on what exactly should find its way to your cart while you go on your shopping trip.

  • Don’t buy ready-made meals in stores, you’ll pay a lot more for a poorer result than if you made it yourself. 
  • Buy snacks that will fill you up if you need to buy them. Don’t buy snacks with added sugar and additives, they won’t really satisfy your body’s hunger.
  • If you like to eat yogurt for dessert, check if the price per kilogram is cheaper on the big pots of yogurt rather than buying several small ones.
  • Be careful with products that expire too quickly. Don’t buy foods like banana bunches, avocado, etc., if you are not sure you will manage to eat them in time. Waste is the primary cause of unnecessary spending.
  • Pay attention to the expiration dates on any fresh produce you decide to purchase.
  • Buying frozen fruits and vegetables can be great for savings. Especially if you use your fruit for dessert, snacks, or smoothies. Try buying the bigger packages and then just fill a bowl with how much you need and put the rest back in the freezer.
  • Buying your products in bulk like pasta, rice, tea, and seeds will always be better than purchasing them in already measured bags. That’s simply because you will get the exact dose you need and you pay per kilogram instead of the price placed on every package.
  • Take fruits and vegetables that are in season. Even though we miss strawberries in winter, you are buying imported strawberries that cause pollution, and are full of unhealthy products. They are bound to be less good than the fresh, local ones! So learn what fruits and vegetables are in season and have fun imagining new recipes or discovering the taste of some new ones.

How to eat healthy while on a budget? – summary

To sum up, eating healthy and cheap is much easier than you think. It’s all about good organization and not giving in to your momentary cravings. Once you get into healthy habits, your wallet will thank you and you will feel all the benefits in your body.

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