Healthy Food on a Budget

healthy eating on a budget blog

It is possible…I promise! It wasn’t until I actually got hooked on ‘healthy’ food that I decided I needed to find a way to make it possible on a reasonable budget. And by reasonable, I mean public-school-teacher-reasonable. I used the excuse of affordability for several years before realizing that my priorities and eating habits were, realistically, the reason I didn’t consider ‘healthy’ food to be affordable, not the food itself.

So, Kristen, what exactly do you mean by ‘healthy?’ …for the most part, natural, fresh, minimal artificial ingredients, full of nutrients, low in saturated fats…basically the food on the outer edges of the grocery store. Here’s the catch…it usually has to be prepared – immediate negative convenience points. BUT, I’m here to help with that aspect, too 🙂

Andddd, here ya go! 6 ways to eat healthy food on a reasonable budget…

  1. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN – You’re probably getting tired of hearing this, but I seriously believe this is one of the biggest money savers! When I was making 4-5 trips to the grocery store to buy last minute dinner groceries, I was spending an extra $20-$40 a week. It was almost impossible to stay within my grocery budget. I didn’t mind going to the more convenient ($$$) grocery stores just to run in for a few things, but that started to add up quickly. Save yourself the time and the money, and plan out your meals hitting up the grocery store over the weekend. Here is a template to help get you started 🙂
  2. Protein Mix-Up – On your weekly grocery store trip, buy several kinds of protein (lean ground beef, chicken, ground turkey, etc…) and cook them multiple ways. I’ll bake half of the package of chicken {salads/chicken and veggies}, and shred the other half {bbq chicken/chicken taco salads}, or brown a package of ground beef {taco salads} and make burgers with the ground turkey {turkey burgers}. Helloooo, variety! Bonus: If you spend an hour prepping all of this over the weekend, all you have to do is put your meals together throughout the week.
  3. Frozen Vegetables – I buy a lot of my vegetables frozen, and I buy them in bulk. Green beans, asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli, etc… Buy them bags at a time from the frozen vegetables section. I LOVE this tip, because I always have a vegetable to cook with dinner, and I never have to worry about eating fresh vegetables before they go bad (ugh, struggle). It also makes meal planning easier, because I don’t have to overthink about each night’s dinner menu. I just choose a protein (see #2) and a vegetable each night. Win, Win! *Trader Joe’s has the best frozen vegetable selection*
  4. Avoid the Mainstream Stores – They’re way overpriced anyways. You can get a whole lot more food for a whole lot less money at grocery stores like Aldi, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart (okay, don’t roll your eyes…find a Walmart Neighborhood Market and thank me later). These stores carry their own organic lines of food at prices WAY more affordable than Publix, Whole Foods, and BiLo. I made the switch from Publix to Aldi/Trader Joe’s and am saving close to $50 a week buying the same food. That’s almost $200 a month. It’s worth the trip!
  5. High-Protein Snacks – Snack on foods like almonds, boiled eggs, cheese, etc… The protein will keep you fuller longer, and the food you buy won’t disappear as quickly. I’m willing to bet you’ll feel much better after eating a handful of almonds and cheese cubes than you would after half a bag of chips, too 🙂
  6. Store-bought Starbucks – If you’re a Starbucks lover, this one is for you! I can save about $5 a week if I buy the individual Starbucks coffees from the grocery store for $1.50 as opposed to going through the drive-thru on the way to work for $2.70. It might not seem like much, but it adds up! Plus, I don’t feel guilty for having it EVERY morning.

I hope at least some of these tips can help to stretch your dollar and make ‘healthy’ do-able for you and your family! Feel free to contact me directly for individualized assistance with meal-planning 🙂

Happy Saturday!

XO, Kristen

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