Eating Healthy On a Budget

Whether you are starting out in the world of eating for optimal health, or you are looking for a new eating plan, it’s always best if it doesn’t empty our wallets, right?

I hear a lot of people say that eating healthy is “hard” or “expensive.” And I do agree with this to an extent – if you don’t know how to shop in the right way. When people think about eating healthy, they generally think about $7.99 Kale Chips, organic products, or specialty stores like Whole Foods – where the term “Whole Pay Check” comes from. It is true that where you choose to shop has a huge impact on how much you spend, but even in specialty stores like Whole Foods, Jimbos, Sprouts, Gelsons, etc., you can always find ways to save.

Tricks of the Healthy-Eating Trade {without emptying the wallet}:

  • Buy in bulk – Amazon Fresh, Thrive Market, etc. help you to buy items like nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, etc. at a lower price and will last you much longer. *Tip: on that note, Thrive Market really does have some great discounts on speciality items and superfoods [I’m talking 30-50% off].
  • Don’t get distracted in health food stores – it is best to make a specific shopping list of items you need so that you don’t waste time/money picking up raw chocolate bars or kale chips.
  • Be prepared – focus on shopping, then meal prepping, on a Sunday so that you have your meals for the week and wont be forced to eat out. For instance, make a big batch of a healthy quinoa salad that will last 4 days or so for work lunches or quick dinners. If you plan your meals and snacks out before you go to the store, you will have a good shopping list to go off of.
    • Under the be prepared category – don’t go to the store hungry! If you are hungry shopping, chances are you will not only purchase more, but you will indulge more or impulse buy to satisfy your hunger/craving.
  • Don’t waste anything – cooking larger quantities is an effective way to save money, especially when it comes to fresh, healthy foods. Make double of a recipe and freeze half of it to use later in the week. Purchase some glass Tupperware or mason jars to keep your leftovers in (it will keep your food fresh & is BPA free!). Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep!!
  • Find foods that you love/are easy to prepare – beans and lentils are some of the cheapest foods you can find. They are full of protein and are a perfect addition to a meal, as they are very versatile. *Tip: note, try to avoid canned beans – go for dried beans (just soak and cook them) or boxed beans. Canned foods have a substance called BPA (bisphenol-A) in them that is an endocrine disruptor that throws off your natural hormone balance. You can sometimes find cans that say BPA-free.
  • Use the Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen as a guide for organic produce – I always promote organic when available, as pesticide-sprayed produce increases free radicals that your body must then try to counteract and detoxify, which is really hard on your body. You can find a post I did with more information on the Clean Fifteen & Dirty Dozen here. But don’t stress buying organic if it’s not available or in your price point, because buying non-organic produce is much better for you than a bag of processed chips or a candy bar.
  • Embrace frozen foods – frozen fruit and veggies are nice to have in your freezer for a smoothie or quick dinner and are much more inexpensive than fresh.
  • Visit your local farmers market(s) – buying foods at farmers markets means that you’re not only supporting local businesses, but the food is fresh, and generally organic. *Tip: if you go at the end of the day, you may get discounts on items that weren’t sold, or even some free produce! I once was gifted a large bouquet of fresh rosemary and basil when I was walking through my local farmers market at the end of the day!
  • Stick to the basics – avoid ‘healthy’ convenience foods like pre-cut veggies or pre-made salads. Make it yourself! It will be half the price and double the health points.
  • Use me for your supplemental nutrition needs – I am an Arbonne Independent Consultant and can get you an awesome discount on high quality, non-GMO, preservative-free, vegan & gluten-free protein powders, greens powders, pre & post workout, fiber boosts, supplements, cleanses, tea – you name it! In my eyes, supplements are an important party of a healthy diet, and if there is anywhere to splurge, it’s here.
  • And for your safe, pure & beneficial beauty product needs – Arbonne has an incredible line of beauty products that are free from additives, parabens, synthetic fragrances and ingredients, etc. Anything from make up to shampoo & conditioner, skin care, a men’s, baby/children’s line, and deodorant. {Contact me for more info!}
  • Don’t get sucked into eating out too often – it’s easy to go with a coworker to that new healthy lunch spot once (or multiple times) a week, but it adds up – FAST. Especially when places are charging up to $9 for an organic smoothie. So, try to stick going out once a week for a meal or twice a week – once for a meal, once for a specialty drink {whatever it may be – a coffee, juice, smoothie, or cocktail}. I have found that this has helped me so much! Plus, it gives you an endless amount of new places to try, since you are not trying the newest spots all at once. Cooking at home will help you to stretch your food dollars in a huge way.
  • Buy smaller quantities – buying in smaller quantities (especially fresh, organic fruits and veggies) will prevent you from wasting & save you money. Even if you have to shop twice a week, you will still be saving.
  • Eat what’s in season – pay attention to seasonal fruits and vegetables {usually found at the front or back of the store} as they are generally discounted – they’re advertised as loss leaders.
  • Focus on affordable proteins – meat, poultry, and fish are great sources of complete protein, but they aren’t exactly cost-friendly. Meat is actually where the largest cost per pound is. Aim to buy less meat (after all, there are many other ways to get your protein). Take it step by step – adopt a Meatless Monday tradition! Instead, eat plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, vegan protein powder, edamame, tofu, etc.

See, eating healthy on a budget isn’t as hard as it’s made out to be!! No matter where you are shopping, the above tips can be applied. If you don’t have the time for grocery shopping or cooking a lavish meal every night, another affordable option is a meal delivery service like Fresh ‘N Lean. Check out our meal plans here!

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