Tips to Eat Healthy on a Tight Budget

Guest Contributor
Jan 26, 2011

If I ask you to choose between life and money, which one will you choose? If you are reading this article, probably your answer is that you want both. Health is important in living a good life, but being healthy will also save you money in the long run. Eating healthy is one of the important steps to achieve this. Based on my own experience, I have come up with a list of ideas to eat healthy on a tight budget.

Farmer's Market and Eating Healthy on Tight Budget

Going to a farmer's market can help you save money.

1. Buy in Bulk (mostly non-perishable items)

If you do not have a big family and buy perishable items in bulk, it will be a waste of money. But even if you are single, you can buy dry beans, canned beans and lentils in bulk at your grocery store, Costco or Sam’s Club. You can soak dry beans in water or sprout them. Canned beans can be added to salad, or you can make additional delicious dishes. If you are buying canned beans, then you will need to be careful about the sodium content and preservatives.

Most South Asian dishes have delicious bean and lentil dishes. You can find some of these recipes at allrecipes.com by searching lentil curry or Asian recipes. Also, another way to save money is to replace meat with beans a few times a week because beans are much cheaper than meat.

2. Locally Grown Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables

If your fruits are coming from Chile or Mexico, chances are they are more expensive and non-organic. If you go to a farmer’s market or join a co-op group, then you will be able to buy cheap locally grown organic fruits and vegetables at a cheaper price. Also, if you are at a grocery store, you will save a lot of money by choosing whole fruits and veggies instead of pre-cut packaged vegetables.

3. Eat Out Less

While I am not recommending to only eat at home, eating out less does have benefits to your wallet as well as health. When you eat out, be careful about how much free bread or tortilla chips you eat because of their calorie content. Salads, fruits, whole grains, and food made with beans are healthy and cheap at the same time. Several grocery stores and restaurants now have discounted salad bars during lunch time.

4. Substitute Processed Snacks with Fruits

Potato chips, cakes, cookies and candy are not only expensive but also bad for your health. Instead a banana is not only cheap year-round but it will also fill you up easily while supplying you minerals and vitamins. Bananas are also easy to store at your work, dorm or home.

5. Eliminate Soda

Soda is expensive and bad for health at the same time. Instead a cheap idea is to drink tap water. If you have craving for caffeine, then a good idea is to buy caffeinated green tea bags. Whenever you are thirsty and need caffeine, just add one of these bags to a cup of hot water, add stevia and sip it all day.

6. Frozen Produce

If you are buying non-season fruits and vegetables, you can look at the frozen produce section. Frozen vegetables still preserve most of the antioxidants. You may get a discount buying this in bulk. Since you can store this in a freezer at your home, you will not have to worry about this going to waste right away.

Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy will actually save money both in the short run and the long run. I hope these ideas were helpful. If you have any additional ideas that I can use to save my grocery bill and health bill, please send your feedback to editor@healthonabudget.com or provide your ideas in the comment section.

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