Have you ever heard that it’s expensive to eat healthy?
Well, it’s a myth.
You can totally eat healthy without it putting a dent in your wallet. In fact, you can actually save money by eating healthier.
I’ve been using the tips below for so long, I sometimes actually gasp when I hear that someone spends $500 a month on groceries. Then I immediately want to help them save some money on their grocery bill and give them the same simple tips.
Focus on Produce to Eat Healthier
Everyone knows that eating fruits and veggies are good for you. They provide you with vitamins and minerals that you can’t get from other foods, and they’re simply the healthiest thing you can eat or feed your family.
But, one thing you may not know is that they are pretty cheap. As long as you’re buying in season, and not trying to buy, say berries in the middle of winter, then it’s far cheaper to buy produce than pre-packaged snacks for you family.
Don’t think of buying produce only for snacks, though. Sure, fruits are probably the number one snack you should be giving to your kids, either fresh, in baked goods, or smoothies.
But, veggies are so easy to include in lunches and dinners, whether it’s the main dish or a side.
I regularly make a mac and ‘cheese’ dish that my children love! It uses a cauliflower and carrot sauce in place of the cheese to add in some extra nutrients at no extra cost. Plus, veggies help bulk up and add fiber into meals, to keep you and your family full longer.
Buy Frozen to Eat Healthier
Buying frozen is a great way to save money and eat healthier, if you do it right.
You know how produce goes in and out of season and the prices vary along with it. Well, with frozen fruits and veggies, prices don’t vary, they stay quite consistent. So, if you’re a big smoothie drinker, like myself and kids, then that bulk bag of frozen fruit you should be buying will always be the same price.
(I’ve done the math, it’s cheaper to buy that bulk bag of frozen fruit even when the same fruit is in season; remember, it’s already peeled, cored, and cut up; most fruit is priced by weight.)
Buying veggies frozen, and in bulk, will also help lower the cost of meals…and make sure your produce doesn’t go bad before you get to using it.
Just don’t confuse buying frozen foods to eat healthier with buying frozen food for convenience. Sure, it can be very convenient, and generally cheap, to buy the pre-made frozen dinners. But, those won’t do you any good when it comes to your health.
Dried Foods Are Your Friends
Dried beans should be your best friends.
They are so cheap!
Same with bulk rice, pasta, legumes, and other dried food you can get in bulk.
Please, don’t get scared away by this tip. I used to run away whenever anyone said something had beans in it. And, I didn’t even know what a lentil or legume was until I took a nutrition class in college!
Lentils, legumes, and beans (and sad to say it, but also rice) were completely foreign to me before I had kids and started trying to eat healthy; now, I make sure I always have a stockpile of them. One of my back up meals is always rice, beans, and some type of veggie. I never knew how many ways there were to use those types of foods.
Buying dry is also cheaper than canned, when dried beans cook they double or triple in size! It may require a bit more meal planning, but it’s completely worth it.
If you still think it’s expensive to eat healthy; I dare you to start eating more beans, rice, and lentils. You’ll feel full faster, and so will your wallet.
Meal Plan to Eat Healthier
Whether you already eat somewhat healthy, or if you’re way off track; have you ever gone to the store without having meal planned or having any type of list?
Now, maybe you’re fine without bringing a list, but my memory isn’t what it used to be before I had kids, so I know I’d forget something.
Whether you have a memory like mine, or not, do yourself a favor and write up a meal plan and grocery list. This way, you won’t be tempted to buy unneeded items at the store, and you’ll make sure you don’t forget an item you needed for a meal.
Just make sure you stick with your meal plan through out the week so food doesn’t go to waste. And, to make sure you don’t spend extra money on food out.
With a meal plan and getting only the food you know you need; you know there’s food at home to eat, so eat it. Don’t waste perfectly good food you already bought and don’t waste money on eating out!
Learn how to make a healthy meal plan on a budget here.
Save Money by Eating Healthier
So, if you believed in the myth that eating healthier was more expensive; you should know by now that it was indeed a myth!
In fact, it’s easier to eat healthier on a budget!
There’s less ingredients in the food you buy, therefore it’s healthier and cheaper.
Simply remember to plan your meals out ahead of time and only buy what’s on your list. Produce makes better snacks than processed snack foods (their more filling, too). And, dried beans are your best friends.
Feel free to ease yourself into eating healthier and saving money. It can be a hard change at first, but your body, wallet, and family will all thank you….eventually.
What’s your favorite way to eat healthier on a budget?
About the Author
Shawna is a stay at home mom to 2 little girls, who has always lived on one income, but doesn’t let it get in her way for being passionate about healthy eating and experimenting with food. She runs Stress Less. Be Healthy. to help other millennial moms stay sane while being a stay at home mom, and be healthy by eating a mostly plant based diet.