How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
“With proper meal preparation and budgeting tools, it can become possible to incorporate whole food options into your diet without forfeiting your whole paycheck”
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Do You Struggle With Eating Healthy on a Budget?
For me, eating healthier on a budget is a goal of mine, but I dislike grocery shopping. It is one area of my financial life that could use some major improvement. Most of the time, I fail miserably.
I remember a time last year where I was watching What the Health while eating a Hot & Spicy with fries from McDonald’s.
This year I have improved somewhat. Lately, I have been including more vegetables and fruit in my diet. After listening to the ChooseFi episode titled The Vegan Path to FI, I considered that path for a nanosecond.
But I love my chicken and shrimp way too much to become a vegan. Because of this, I have considered trying the pollo-pescetarian diet. If I I go that route, I am free to eat all the chicken and shrimp in the world! One of the major restrictions would be no red meat.
That would be fine with me, as I am not a huge fan of steak and I do not eat many burgers. Well, I am sure you are tired of me rambling…Let’s dive head first into a guest post about how you can eat healthy on a budget!
Grocery shopping can be a daunting task, especially when you have a set budget in mind. Between price shopping for the best deal and getting everything on your list without overspending, a necessary part of your week can suddenly become the most stressful. When it comes to eating healthy, people tend to fear that they will have to sacrifice more money in order to get less, quality food. With proper meal preparation and budgeting tools, it can become possible to incorporate whole food options into your diet without forfeiting your whole paycheck.
Before you head to the store and go wild in the freezer aisle, give yourself an outline of goals to guide your shopping. Set an estimated grocery budget, whether it be for total spending or separate types of food. Once you have a number in mind, set personal nutritional goals to later build your shopping list on. For example, if your goal is to eat a plant dense diet, try to aim to spend at least 50 percent of your budget on produce. Having something to strive for will help to keep your spending focused to meet your budgeting ideals.
Have the right support
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average american household spends 62 percent on housing, transportation, and food, groceries accounting for roughly $7,000 on average. Knowing the facts, setting a goal for spending certainly becomes easier. When it comes time to put this into action however, keeping track of numbers can be overwhelming.
Recruiting the help of financial management tools can work to save stress and money. Mobilized banking is a brilliant way of hitting your budget friendly healthy eating goals. Accessibility is key to regularly monitor your transaction history and ensure you’re spending within your limits, which is why a mobile bank account that streamlines this process for you can be your best shopping companion. Additionally, having a clean, concrete visual of your finances will help you be mindful when beginning to steer clear of your grocery goals!
Keep an inventory
Without proper planning heading into your shopping trip, this can easily and unnecessarily double. Do a quick run through of your pantry, fridge, and freezer at least once a month, and again right before shopping. You may be surprised by the amount of items you can omit from your list due to having plenty in stock to make it through another week! Being mindful of what you truly need and don’t need can help curb wasteful spending.
Fit the list to a menu
Do some research on healthy, hearty meals that you’d be interested in incorporating into your diet. Use your budget and nutritional goals as additional guidelines to make realistic decisions on what meals will be most appropriate for your lifestyle. To get the most out of your groceries, try to pick 5-7 meal ideas that utilize similar ingredients. Not only will you prevent yourself from having to buy excessive ingredients for each individual recipe, but being able to stretch a specific set across multiple meals will also allow variation in your diet.
Build your grocery list with these meals in mind so as to ensure the foods you bring home are the most beneficial to your goals. Once you have a set list, go through and price shop for each to fit the most into your set budget.
Meal prepping post-shop
After you’ve shopped, don’t be tempted to immediately put your groceries away! Preparing your selected meals in advance and storing them to maintain freshness will help stretch your food until your next trip. Neglecting to take a few hours to prep will make you vulnerable to over portioning your meals, causing you to eat through your supply quicker than necessary and thus spend more money to replenish your kitchen. Additionally, this practice not only helps to save money but teaches mindful eating through the habit of portion control. After several weeks of conscious meal planning, you’ll find that this method of healthy eating has become a lifestyle while simultaneously incorporating money management into your routine!
I hope you have learned something from reading this article. Meal prepping is definitely something I plan on using to reduce the cost of my food budget. For that to happen, I have to embrace the suck of grocery shopping, and follow the advice given above.
Unless, someone wants to volunteer to do all of my grocery shopping for me. I’ll pay you $30/hr. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What are some ways you save money on groceries?
- What is your favorite grocery store?
- Have you considered becoming a vegan?
Jerry is a Business Insider Contributing Writer who is obsessed with personal finance. He believes you can improve your financial situation by applying principles taught by the financial independence community to your financial life.
If you are having trouble saving, he recommends that you join the SaverLife Savings program where you can get a $60 reward after six months (no income requirement). All you have to do is put a minimum of $20 a month into a savings account. Easy, right?
For a fun read, check out his article 10 Signs You’re a Personal Finance Addict to see if you are a personal finance nerd.
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