When dinnertime rolls around and your stomach starts growling, it’s easy to fall into dangerous black-and-white thinking when your tummy is calling the shots. You’re starving, and you think your only choices are between an organic, free-range kale and chia seed smoothie, or a greasy burger from the local fast food joint. Don’t succumb to the misguided belief that you must either shell out ten dollars for a teaspoon of organic bee pollen or suffer the stomach pains that always follow from stuffing yourself on cheap French fries. Here are some easy tips for health eating on a budget to help you next time you have to navigate mealtimes when your bank account is looking low.
Replace Meats With Other Proteins
Beans and legumes are an affordable and filling addition to any healthy diet. When trying to enjoy healthy eating on a budget, fill your cart with these incredibly inexpensive protein sources. Gram for gram, you’ll maximize your dollar and your satisfaction. Plan for one or two days each week where you enjoy meatless meals. Not only is this a healthy choice for your body, it also saves a lot of money. I recommend enjoying cinnamon oats with chia, fruit and nut butter for breakfast. A vegetable sandwich for lunch with an apple and hummus. And for dinner, a buddha bowl packed with a variety of vegetables and avocado.
Shop In Season
Produce that is in season is usually cheaper than buying off season. In peak summertime, grocery stores are practically giving away strawberries and peaches, but if you try to buy them in the fall, you’ll pay double the amount. Shopping in season means fresh ingredients and more affordable groceries.
Stock Your Pantry
Buying foods in bulk will often save you a lot of money. Check if your grocery store has a bulk section with nuts, seeds and grains. I recommend purchasing nuts, chia seeds, oats, and quinoa. A great way to save you money by allowing you to buy exactly the amount you need. Whole grains can keep you full when you’re enjoying healthy eating on a budget. Packed full of minerals, this fiber-rich energy source is a great way to tie a meal together. Choose brown rice to complement your stir-fry, or make a huge pot of cinnamon chia oatmeal for breakfast during the week. Speaking of oats, this delicious grain will satisfy your sweet tooth and energize you for the whole morning. Top off with peanut butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a sliced banana on top and your morning will be off to a nutritious start.
Befriend Your Local Grocer
By simply subscribing to your favorite grocery store’s newsletter, you’ll get a head’s up on what’s on sale that week and first dibs on money-saving coupons. Don’t be afraid to shop around, either. Swing by Trader Joe’s and spoil yourself with their affordable fresh produce, coconut oil, almond butter, and decadent dark chocolate. Then head to The Fresh Market to see what seafood and meat is on sale. Invest in the foods you love, this is a much more affordable and healthy option rather than going out to lunch and dinner each day.
Trader Joe’s Shopping Guide
- Flax Chia Peanut Butter
- Red Lentil Pasta
- Coconut Oil
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
- Edamame Crackers
- Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread
- Riced Cauliflower
- Bell Peppers
- Envy Apples (taste like candy apples)
- Avocado (super affordable here)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Organic Eggs
- Chicken Breast
- Frozen Berries
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- RX Bars
Healthy eating is very affordable and a smart investment. Browse sales, use coupons, shop in season, plan ahead and reach for inexpensive protein sources and you’ll be confident that you’ll be able to love and nourish your body while ensuring healthy eating on a budget.
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