Eating healthy and saving money don’t have to be at odds with one another. Though a lot of health food producers package their products as must-haves for health-conscious consumers, you can build a nutritious diet from everyday items that won’t break your budget. The key to being healthy and saving money at the same time is tapping into your creativity. Here are several surefire ways to get your finances and your body in shape simultaneously.
It has been a way of saving money for decades, but couponing is far from passé. This method of shopping can help you save hundreds of pounds a year on food if you develop a strategy for how to do it. Couponing also helps to keep you on track with eating healthfully because having plenty of food at home will encourage you to avoid eating out.
Head to the local farmer’s market.
The foods found at a farmer’s market are infinitely better in quality and taste than what you’re likely to find in a grocery store; in addition, they are fresh, they are handmade and they are organic. Taking the time to get to know the people who produce your food is actually a luxury, though many times it will end up being cheaper than buying items from a supermarket.
Steer clear of pre-packaged foods.
Pre-made snacks and meals are often advertised as convenient, which warrants their higher price points in the minds of many consumers. But these foods are filled with preservatives and chemicals (not to mention all that salt!), meaning that they are just as bad for your body as they are for your budget. Don’t be convinced that you can’t take the time to do something good for yourself every day; instead, stick with fresh ingredients that you can cook yourself to save on fat, calories and cash. If time is an issue, then get into the habit of cooking large batches of food and freezing portions.
Try new recipes at home instead of eating out.
There’s one simple rule to eating healthier that you can enact right now: cook for yourself whenever you’re tempted to eat out. You’re less likely to use as many unhealthy ingredients in your kitchen as a cook does at a restaurant. And you can save on the check after dessert by eating in.
If you struggle with both the financial commitment and the personal health challenge of eating healthy on a budget, find a partner to help you stick to it. Accountability sometimes makes big changes easier to handle.
Keep ingredients simple.
Lastly, remember that you don’t need a whole lot of different foods to be healthy and satisfied. Search for ingredients that can work in several contexts. Eggs are versatile as a protein, for example, as well as whole grains like bread and pasta. Once you have a basic spread of simple foods, you can create a variety of inexpensive yet gourmet-quality meals.
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Steph is a keen amateur chef and mother of 2, and understands the need for healthy, low-cost meals.