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Eating Healthy on a Budget

Let’s face it, it is incredibly frustrating to see drive-thru burgers for a couple of dollars when you’re trying to eat well and can’t seem to find a nutritious meal for a decent price. The low cost of less nutritious food may be tempting, but the investment in your health is well worth it. The good news is that there are a few tips and tricks to help you eat well, even on a tight budget.

1. Plan ahead.
Not only can you avoid the temptation to head for fast food when hunger strikes, but you can help avoid hunger pains all together. Before the week starts, write down what you plan to eat for breakfast and dinner for the next 5-6 days. You can use the previous night’s dinner leftovers as lunch and stock up on a handful of healthy snacks to pack when you’re on the go. Planning meals ahead will also help you purchase less at the grocery store and avoid unused food sitting in the refrigerator.

2. Buy in season.
Purchase fresh produce that is in season to avoid being overcharged. If you find a major deal, consider buying in bulk and freezing the extras for later. You’ll end up saving money in the long run!

3. Sign up for sales.
If your local grocery store offers a discount card, sign up! You’ll likely be able to find weekly sales as a card member. Before meal planning and heading to the store, check the week’s sales and plan some or most of your meals to include those items.

4. Bulk up your meal.
Reach for grains and beans like quinoa, brown rice, black beans and whole wheat pasta to add some substance to meals and create larger, long-lasting portions for less.

5. Try a new cut.
If you’re a meat lover, the price of chicken and beef can quickly add up. Experiment with cheaper cuts of meat and prepare them in different ways to find a taste that works for you. Opt for chicken thighs over chicken breasts to save some serious bucks. Prepping meat dishes in a crock pot can add extra flavor, and you can make a large quantity to freeze and eat later.

6. Read (and understand) the label.
Have you ever noticed the words “unit price” on price stickers? Pay close attention to this next time you shop. The unit price breaks down the total product price by the quantity. Opt for the healthy item with the lowest unit price to help save money.

As you can probably tell, saving money on healthy food is all about planning. A little effort goes a long way in filling your cart with nutritious food without shelling out too much cash.