Eating healthy on a budget is tough, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. With the right strategies and tools, you can whip up nutritious feasts at home and kiss those restaurant bills and unhealthy meals goodbye. To get started, put the following tips into action.
Invest in Quality Cookware
If you want your meals to come out as delicious and nutritious as possible, you’re going to need the right tools. Incorrect prep and cooking can strip a meal of its flavor and nutritional value, so it’s worth investing in quality non-stick cookware, sharp knives, and any specialty cooking tools you need for your favorite dishes. This may cost a bit upfront, but it will pay dividends over time.
Not only is meal prepping a great way to save time and energy during the week, but it can also be helpful for your back pocket. Buying in bulk usually works out to be quite a lot cheaper. Since you won’t have to visit the grocery store quite so often, you’ll also reduce the temptation to impulse buy. Best of all, a well-thought-out meal plan makes it easier to use all the food you have without wasting anything.
Don’t Underestimate Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Frozen fruits and vegetables are often significantly cheaper than their fresh counterparts. This is due, in part, to the reputation that frozen goods have for not being as healthy. The truth is that frozen produce has been found to have as much nutritional value as fresh produce (if not more).
The good news for budget-conscious shoppers is that you can capitalize on the misconception that frozen produce is less healthy. You can create nutritious meals on a tight budget, and you’re far less likely to waste frozen goods since they can be safely stored for so long.
If you’re dubious about the health benefits of frozen fruits and veggies, it may help to learn that they’re snap-frozen at harvest. This ensures they retain the vast majority of their vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. In fact, unless you’re buying produce directly from a farm, there’s a pretty good chance that the frozen options may have more nutritional value.
You don’t have to become vegetarian or vegan overnight, and we recognize that this isn’t an option at all for some people. However, going meat-free just one night a week can help slash your grocery bill. Proteins like lentils and beans can be turned into delicious, budget-friendly meals. As a bonus, you’ll also be broadening your food horizons.
Check the Unit Price
Finally, the cheapest option at face value isn’t always the cheapest option overall. So, it’s worth taking the time to compare unit prices rather than always going off the total price. This is particularly important with multi-purpose ingredients that last a while. You’ll often get far better value by purchasing the larger packet, even though a smaller size may have a lower price in the short term.
Unit price is written in a far smaller font on the item tags, and some products don’t have direct comparison values. So you will have to put effort into finding the best deals. Once you start saving money on everything from milk to macaroni, however, it will become a habit you barely have to think about.
Tight budgets can be tricky to work with, especially if you want to eat well. However, if you shop smart, it’s possible to meet your financial goals while taking care of your health. Follow the tips above, find some healthy recipes online, and go live your best life!