Eat well for less: How to eat healthy while on a tight budget
12/31/2019 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
Eat well for less: How to eat healthy while on a tight budget

Following a healthy diet ensures that you have access to delicious and nutrient-rich foods that boost your overall well-being. But eating well may seem like a daunting task for those with a tight budget. After all, fast food and processed snacks are cheaper than eating fresh fruits and veggies every day, right?

Wrong! You don’t have to be a millionaire to follow a healthy diet, although that will make things much easier.

To eat well for less, you need to have patience, time management skills and a bit of creativity. If you’re strapped for cash, follow the five tips below so you can enjoy yummy, filling meals that are also good for you.

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Eat smaller portions

Eating smaller meals offers benefits for those who want to get in shape before bikini season and those who want to maintain a healthy weight.

If you need to shed some pounds, eating less can be incorporated into a healthier lifestyle. When you get cravings for salty snacks or sweet treats that are full of calories but low in nutrients, reach for a piece of fruit instead.

Instead of gorging on three servings of spaghetti during dinner, have a piece of fruit before you savor one serving of pasta. Eating fruit before each meal can make you feel full for longer and prevents overeating.

Learn how to cook from scratch

It may seem like you save money by buying fast food for lunch every day, but you can save more by cooking healthy meals from scratch.

While there are exceptions, preparing meals at home is much cheaper than stocking up on processed foods. If you want to serve your family a quality meal made with fresh ingredients, junk food isn’t the answer.

To save money on groceries, make small changes to your recipes. Change the proportion of certain foods so you need less of the expensive ingredients, then add more of the cheaper veggies.

Cooking meals at home allows you to control what ingredients you use for each recipe. Here’s a simple recipe for a healthy, filling dish that you can try: Spicy tuna guacamole bowls.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 8 ounces guacamole
  • 2 5-ounce cans of chunk light tuna in water
  • 3 cups cooked brown basmati rice (Use plain brown rice for more savings.)
  • 1 cup frozen edamame, shelled
  • 4 tablespoons sriracha or your choice of hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro

Preparation:

  1. Cook the edamame according to package directions. Set the edamame aside and let it cool.
  2. Dice the cucumber.
  3. Use a large box or cheese grater to shred the carrot.
  4. Drain the tuna.
  5. Roughly chop the cilantro.
  6. When you’re ready to serve the bowls, place 3/4 cups of cooked rice at the bottom of each bowl.
  7. Top all the rice in the bowls with 1/4 cup edamame, half a can of tuna, 1/4 cup guacamole, a handful of the diced cucumber, a pinch of the shredded carrots, and a bit of the fresh cilantro.
  8. Drizzle sriracha on top of the bowls then sprinkle a pinch of the sesame seeds before serving. The spicy tuna guacamole bowls can be refrigerated for up to four days.

Browse before you shop

If you have spare time, browse before you purchase ingredients.

To save time, you can also check comparison websites or supermarket websites at home before you buy groceries. Checking how much each store charges for similar items can help you can find a supermarket that offers the best deals.

Factor in the store’s distance and the cost of gas, then decide if cheaper groceries at a certain location is worth each trip.

Buy cheaper alternatives

Fish and meat are usually more expensive than fresh or frozen fruits and veggies, so you may want to consider going vegan if you want to eat healthy on a budget.

If you can’t live without meat, you don’t need to deprive yourself. Instead, look for affordable alternatives. When your recipes need fish or meat, buy cheaper cuts. These cuts are just as good as the more expensive ones, but the former needs to be cooked longer and using different methods.

Borrow cookbooks from the local library or browse online recipes for dishes that use cheaper cuts of meat. Another option is to consult your butcher and get recommendations.

Change your spending habits

Assess your spending habits. The money you save can then be put towards your groceries.

Do you buy coffee every day? Save money by making your own coffee and bringing a reusable mug to work. Doing this will help cut down your daily expenses.

This small sacrifice is worth every dollar. After all, your health is worth more than a pricey cup of coffee or a designer handbag.

Sources:

BasilMomma.com

BudgetBytes.com

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