Eating Economically: 10 Nutritious Tips for Any Budget
Health and Nutrition Eating healthy foods shouldn’t be limited to those who can afford it. These tips will have you eating healthfully and nutritiously even if your budget is tight.
1. Eat at home
Food purchased from the store—fresh-cut produce, frozen meals or prepared foods—is, on average, one-third the cost of eating out. So, eating at home and packing a lunch are two of the most important things you can do to save money! Try packing lunches after dinner, including leftovers, for the next day, so you’re ready to go in the morning. No refrigerator at work or school for your lunch? Freeze 100 percent juice boxes and use them as ice-packs and a beverage.
2. Plan and cook smart
Planning your meals in advance helps streamline your purchases and ensures that what you buy doesn’t go to waste. Prepare and freeze soups, stews or other dishes in advance to save time and money.
3. Reuse ingredients
Select recipes that make use of similar ingredients to help reduce the size of your shopping list and eliminate waste from half-used ingredients.
4. Stick to your list
Translate your weekly meal plan into a shopping list and don’t stray from it. Don’t shop while hungry to make it easy to pass tempting foods.
5. Use coupons
Check the local newspaper, online and at the store for sales, coupons and specials that will cut food costs.
6. Buy in bulk
Purchasing bulk quantities of foods you buy often can save dollars, especially if items are on sale. (But don’t buy bulk or use coupons for items that you don’t use or need!)
7. Buy store brands
Store brands often provide the same or similar product for a cheaper price. If your grocer has a membership card, sign up for even more savings.
8. Stock up
When frozen, canned, dried fruit and vegetables as well as 100 percent juice are available in the home, more fruit and vegetables are eaten. These other forms of fruits and vegetables are as nutritious as fresh, they last longer and are very convenient.
9. Celebrate the season
Seasonal produce is usually less expensive and at peak of flavor. Some fresh fruit and vegetables don’t last long though, so purchase small amounts more often to ensure minimal waste. Overripe fruit is great for smoothies or baking.
10. Try gardening
Plant your own vegetables—in the yard or a pot on the porch. Easy to grow items that can save a lot of money: herbs, peppers, tomatoes, leaf lettuce and spinach.