If you've started budgeting for healthier foods, it can feel like your grocery bill is expanding - something especially difficult for families on a tight budget. And it's often overwhelming trying to decide between the healthy options available. Where do you start? I have a few simple ideas that are easy for busy moms - 5 simple tips for eating healthy on a budget.
Simple Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget
Learning to make healthier eating choices can feel so overwhelming - just take a walk through the organic and healthy food sections of your local grocery store. There are so many choices it's hard to know where to start.
The best solution? Start with one small change. Here are a few simple tips that are easy for anyone to manage. Healthy habits don't have to be overwhelming.
Take small steps
There's no need to change all your eating habits at once. Focus on one small change at a time. A few examples...
When the peanut butter runs low, choose a natural peanut butter instead of the usual sugar-laden stuff.
Choose butter instead of margarine.
Pick up a loaf of whole grain bread instead of white. Better yet, make your own.
Include a small green salad with your dinner every night.
Those small changes add up. None of them is overwhelming but, over the course of a year, those little dietary changes can make a world of difference.
Plan your menu
Weekly meal planning is one of the best ways to save money and still eat healthy, filling meals. Plan your meals around what's on sale, what's in season, and what you have stashed in your freezer or pantry. Start stocking your freezer with meat and poultry when you find a good deal and plan your menu around that.
Your plan certainly doesn't have to be elaborate. All I do is a keep a large post-it note with a list of dinner ideas based on what's in the freezer. Every day I choose whatever strikes my fancy or fits with our plans for the day and cross it off the list.
Breakfast and lunch are just as simple - I keep a basic weekly grocery list on my phone that includes the usual breakfast and lunch choices we prefer so I always know what we need to buy.
Choose fresh foods in season
Fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season (and as locally grown as possible) are always a good, affordable choice. If you can, take the time to pick your own - you'll save even more money.
A large bag of carrots on sale in the fall is much more cost-effective than the canned variety (and they really only take a few minutes to chop up for a quick side dish).
Organic isn't always necessary
Organic can be a good choice, but sometimes it's not cost-effective.
My tip? If the fruit or vegetable has a thick skin that will be discarded (like bananas) I don't buy organic. And if I know it's grown in my province I often don't choose organic either. The thinner the skin (especially if the skin is edible, like tomatoes or grapes) choose local and/or organic options (and in season!).
Choose simple ingredients
Rice and beans are good for you and they are cheap. A huge bag of beans and another of rice and you'll have plenty of meal options. Change up the seasonings, spices, and side dishes for lots of variety.
Healthy doesn't always mean expensive.
Feed your family healthy food – even if you’re on a budget
Simple foods, fresh and in season, organic for some things, and you can eat healthy foods, even with a tight grocery budget.
Are you eating healthy on a budget? What tips would you include?