Budget friendly foods aren't always the healthiest options at the grocery store or when you're eating on the go. However, it is possible to eat a healthy, balanced diet even when you have a tight budget. A little planning and research can help set you up for success. Here are five tips that will help you stick to a healthy diet and keep your budget in line:
1. Watch for sales and coupons
You don't have to become an extreme couponing pro to save money with coupons and sales. Watch for weekly fliers from your local stores and buy the fruits, veggies, and other healthy options that are on sale each week instead of whatever food catches your eye when you're shopping. Watch for the frozen vegetables to go on sale, they're just as healthy as fresh vegetables and usually cost a lot less.
2. Make a meal plan and a list before you shop
Don't show up at the grocery store without a plan! You'll end up spending more money than you originally intended and may even have some food go to waste if you're not careful. Before you head to the store create a list of meals you'll make for the week and the ingredients you need. When making your lists keep in mind the items that are on sale that week and you'll save even more money! Meal planning is a great way for you to stop relying on unhealthy, and often expensive, pre-packaged convenience foods.
3. Visit a local farmer's market
Your town's farmer's market can be a great place to purchase fresh fruit and veggies at a great price. You'll be buying food when it's fresh and in season, which means lower prices. And as an added bonus, you'll be supporting local farms and businesses!
4. Buy in bulk
If you have pantry staples that you use all the time, stock up on those items and buy in bulk when you can. Compare the unit price that you find on shelf labels to find the items that cost less. Canned beans, frozen vegetables, or family packs of meat like chicken breasts are all healthy items that you can stock up on and have ready for future healthy meals.
5. Pack your own lunch instead of ordering out
Buying lunch from the fast food restaurant near work may seem like an easy and affordable option, but stick to your plan and pack your own lunch each day with the healthy foods you've already paid for. This way you can save money and stick to your diet! Lunch can be the perfect time to repurpose leftovers from dinner the night before, which means you'll have less food sitting in your fridge and going to waste. Pack lunch at night before you go to bed and you'll have it ready to go when you're rushing out the door in the morning.
The key to successfully eating healthy on a tight budget boils down to planning and preparation. Take time to map out your healthy eating habits and what you can eat to stay on track to ensure success.
If you enjoy cooking and helping others eat healthy and delicious meals, a career in culinary arts might be for you! Learn how YTI Career Institute can help you prepare for a career in the culinary field through our Culinary Arts/Restaurant Management program.