Finding it hard to eat healthy food while on a budget? It’s easier than you think!
Sometimes it seems that all healthy food is expensive. Health food often costs a lot of money. But it does not have to be that way! You can eat healthily, and you can stay on a budget.
It’s hard to eat healthy food on a budget. Health food is expensive, but you don’t need to eat healthy food to be eating healthy. And you don’t need to buy expensive foods to eat healthfully.
I try very hard for myself and for my kids to encourage and promote healthy eating. It’s good for us, and I hope it keeps us out of the doctor’s office. Obviously, I want us to be healthy, but also, having medical debt is no joke! Even just taking off work for minor illnesses can really make a dent in a family budget. Is it terrible to say that?
Obviously, saving money is not the reason to eat healthily, and I don’t know that eating healthy food will keep us healthy, but it is definitely worth a try!
I am not perfect in this area, and I have to work hard to stay within budget and also have healthy food readily available in the house. My sanity is also at play here! Sometimes there are things that only chocolate can fix (for my children and me!)
Encouraging healthy eating in children is not a matter of restricting the amount of unhealthy food they can have but a matter of encouraging them to have healthy food when a healthy food option is offered. They are more likely to develop healthy eating habits.
I didn’t make this up! There are studies that back this up. On a personal level, I see that when my kids are offered a cut-up apple or cucumber, they are just as likely to pick that as a cookie. Go figure.
I find that focusing on healthy snacks is the easiest way to eat healthy food in the house. Meals are already healthy, as we never do take-out and cook at home.
I don’t really meal plan. I use Building Blocks always to have food in the house and reduce the need for takeout or unhealthy, processed prepared foods. When you have food prepared at the beginning of the week that you can easily throw into an easy meal, you are more likely to eat healthy meals.
I love making a yummy soup and freezing it in small containers so that there is always a soup ready to defrost.
Buying healthy snacks can seem like a strain on the budget, but it does not have to be! Here are some ways I make sure to have healthy food in my house while sticking to my (very small) budget.
5 Ways To Eat Healthy Food on a Budget:
Cut Down on Animal-based Proteins
Anyway, it is healthier. Dr. Greger has a great book called “How Not to Die,” which I love! It explains why eating proteins that are not animal-based are so much healthier for you. I don’t follow his book and diet very strictly- I’m not a vegan, but I have started cutting down tremendously on animal-based proteins and moving towards plant-based proteins.
It’s much healthier, and better for the planet, and other proteins are usually MUCH cheaper. Beans are super, super cheap and quinoa is cheaper than meat, fish, or chicken. Try to step away from the need to have meat, fish, or chicken at every supper and look for alternative proteins.
Bulk up the Sides
Side dishes are usually cheaper than the main dish. So make your main dish smaller. But instead of going hungry, make more side dishes. Eat one piece of chicken breast and a lot of rice and salad. Start every main meal with a simple vegetable soup. This will fill you up and keep your budget down.
Snack on Fruits and Vegetables
Buy what’s in season or on sale and keep it stocked. Dried fruits are expensive, but fresh usually are not. Get in the habit of eating apples instead of fancy snack bars. Keep fruit and vegetables near you at work to give you something to eat, thereby resisting the vending machine temptations.
Amazon and Walmart sometimes have sales of healthy food that you can buy in bulk or get delivered. Keep a running list of how much things usually cost so that you can make sure you’re getting a good deal. And when a good deal comes along- snag it! Buy two and keep some in your pantry.
Cut Out Pre-packaged Snacks and Drinks
This one is basic but is worth repeating. Stop buying pre-packaged snacks or food. They are usually high in sugar, salt, or chemicals and add up really quickly. The low-calorie or “healthy” snacks are usually expensive and not so healthy! Make your own food, eat fruits and vegetables, and cut down on drinks that aren’t water. Water isn’t free, but it sure is cheap!
If you have a very large family, it can be even more difficult to feed them (let alone healthy food) without debt!
Some of the same rules don’t apply when you are feeding a large family. You can’t rely on coupons and deals to make that large grocery bill go down. You have to take drastic measures, such as cutting down on animal-based proteins. I offer this controversial advice to many. Read here to find out how to make it a little more palatable to your growing family.
Related: Feeding a Large Family on a Tight Budget
Do you have any more tips on how to eat healthy food on a budget? What do you do to keep your budget down while still being healthy?