Eating healthily and keeping to a strict budget can be a difficult juggling act. It often feels as though the healthiest foods are the most expensive, which is why it is so much easier to drift back to unhealthy habits such as microwave meals and fast foods; they are a lot cheaper. However, it is possible to eat well and not spend a lot of money. Here are some tips.
Buy Whole Foods
In many cases, when you pay more for food, you’re paying for the labor that went into preparing them. If you avoid anything that comes in a box and that is already processed, you can save money. It does mean more work for you in the kitchen, but the cash you save and the goodness you will be feeding yourself and your family will be worth every extra second.
Buy Less Protein
Protein is usually the priciest part of any meal. Since that’s the case, and since you only need about 1g per day to keep healthy, you can save money by buying less of it. Save your favorite protein, such as salmon or steaks, for a special occasion, and buy cheaper sources of protein to top up. Protein doesn’t just come from meat. You can find it in eggs, cottage cheese, milk, and tuna, as well as much more.
Buy Frozen Vegetables
Just because they’re frozen, it doesn’t mean these vegetables are no good. Check the packaging, and you’ll find that most of the vegetables were picked and frozen within hours, and therefore they retain their goodness. Frozen vegetables are sometimes as much as half the price of fresh ones, and you can buy them in bulk to save money over time. You should never skimp on eating vegetables, so this is the best way to do it if you’re short on funds.
Buy Store Brands
Store brands can often taste very much like (if not exactly the same as) named brands, but they’re much less expensive, so they’re the ideal way to save money and not have to miss out on the great taste of the brands you already know and love.
If you can’t manage to get all of your vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients through your food, supplements can help. Iron supplements will stop you from becoming anemic, for example, and vitamin C supplements will boost your immune system. You can even get supplements such as fish oil to keep your brain active and calcium to keep your bones and teeth strong. Your doctor and dental care bills will be lower too when you take better care of your health and your bones and teeth. If you’re having a lean month, the supplements can help you stay as healthy as possible. Don’t rely on them long-term, though.
Increase The Calories
It sounds crazy to say you should increase your calories when you’re trying to stay healthy, but it’s a good way of keeping you full for longer, so you don’t feel the need to snack. Not snacking will save you money and keep you healthier. Calorie-dense foods include rice, pasta, potatoes, whole milk, and oats.
This is a contributed post.