Eating Healthy on a Budget

March 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

eating on a budgetWith so much focus on healthy eating in an economy that has many people very conscious of grocery budgets, many people want help figuring out how to do both. The shows, “The Doctor’s” and “Dr. Oz” both have featured recent segments on eating healthy for less money. There are many families willing to share their stories and tips on blogs too.

We’ve put together some of the best tips and advice we’ve found for eating healthy on a budget to share with you. If you have an idea you’d like to share, we invite you to comment on this blog!

Saving

Shop ads online to see what’s on sale. Most grocery stores publish current ads online and almost always include fresh produce, meats, and fish. For example, see this week’s Coborn’s ad here.

For the best deals, find a blogger devoted to the store(s) you shop most. These bloggers will keep you informed on sales, coupons, freebies, and more and do most of the work for you. Stock up when prices are good on items you know your family consumes frequently. FM Cheapskate helps you find deals on Cashwise/Coborn’s Stores, and TotallyTarget focuses on Target Sales. There are many more, please share your favorites with us.


Shopping

Be flexible. Enjoy what’s on sale this week and stock up with as much as you feel you can eat before the food reaches expiration. Many fresh items have a long shelf  or refrigerator life if stored properly.

groceries on a budgetCheck the freezer section for items that have similar nutritional value, but cost a lot less.

Buy in bulk; freeze or split costs with another family and divide up.

Shop both generic and name brands. Sales cycle, and therefore before you reach for what you normally deem the “cheapest” vegetable stock, check to make sure.

Items like dried beans, peas, wild rice, mushrooms, etc have very long shelf life, can have great nutritional values (check NuVal scores), and expand to double or triple the size. These items stretch far for the dollar.

Wasting

Use up what’s in your frig before buying more. Have you heard of Fridge-Googling before? It’s a great way to enter an odd mix of foods you’d like to use up. you can find the Fridge-Google tool here. It will come up with recipes that feature the ingredients you have left in the refrigerator.

Invest in sets of resealable containers and keep them close at hand. Always save leftovers. You are less likely to throw out food if its easy to save and store. It’s true that a cup of carrots isn’t enough to feed the whole family at another meal, but it’s the right amount to add to soup the next day.

Get Creative

Substitute ingredients. If your favorite recipe calls for pecans, but walnuts are on sale, it’s quite possible you can alter the recipe with great results.

Break the “rules”. Just because grandma always fried her famous chicken, doesn’t mean you can’t alter the recipe until you figure out a great way to make it taste great from a baked method.

Communicate to your kids about your budget and plans to eat healthier. Explain that you’d love their ideas on what to make with the chicken you just purchased or the over-ripe bananas on the counter.

Creative Commons License photo credit: avlxyz
Creative Commons License photo credit: Beau B

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