There is a misconception that eating healthy is expensive because people think they should only be buying the freshest ingredients or the gluten-free and organic stuff. The truth is there’s a way to still get all the nutrients you need without going broke.
Plan Your Meals
Having a menu for the week makes grocery shopping less time-consuming and reduces the temptation to buy unnecessary food items that will only rack up your total. It also gives you a rough idea of how much you’ll be spending. An easy way to stick to a budget is to plan your meals around products that are local and in-season.
Before heading out, make a list of the things you need and check your stocks at home to make sure you aren’t doubling on anything.
Go to Markets
Produce at the market is relatively cheaper compared to groceries. Other perks of buying from the market include supporting a small business and cutting back on plastic waste that comes with the produce. There’s also the option to haggle, but don’t take advantage of this if you can pay the full price. Regular customers can even score extra produce for free when they’re in good standing with the vendor.
Visit the Frozen Section
Buying fresh ingredients is always ideal but frozen fruits and vegetables aren’t a bad option either. This goes the same for canned vegetables. Wasting food is a big no when on a budget and having something that won’t spoil too quickly is favorable for those who tend to forget about their fresh produce or aren’t able to use it up immediately. It’s also an economical choice because they’re usually sold in bigger packs.
Eat Homemade Meals
Now that you’re home more often, there couldn’t be a better time to hone your cooking skills. Homemade meals aren’t just cheaper than fast food, it’s often more nutritious, too. Simple 5-ingredient meals are great for busy bees and are cost-effective. If you’re going to work, bring packed lunch.
Recipes are meant to be used for inspiration and do not have to be followed to a T. If it calls for an ingredient that isn’t available on-hand or is too expensive for your budget, swap it out for something else. You could substitute proteins for cheaper cuts of meat or use beans and tofu to make it vegetarian instead.
Start Your Own Garden
With the continued increasing prices of goods, the most practical way to save money on food is to have a garden. Of course, not everyone has the space for it but herbs and smaller vegetables like chilis and tomatoes are suitable for apartments. Having your own supply at home can help you save money in the long run.
Healthy, balanced meals on a budget are possible as long as you maximize your resources.