Healthy Eating on a Budget 

by | Jul 1, 2024 | Holistic Health

You know your health is important, but let’s face it—eating healthy can be pricey. It’s so much easier to just cruise down the frozen food aisle, grab a $5 boxed pizza, and go on with your day. In truth, eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank if you know how to do it right. Here are a few “eating on a budget” tips to keep in mind the next time you’re thinking about skipping the produce section. 

Plan your meals. 

A basket is filled with vegetables.

It can be easy to get off track at the grocery store when you don’t really know what you’re there for. That’s why it’s important to come in with a solid plan. 

When eating on a budget, it’s helpful to write out your family meals for the week ahead of time and make a list of the ingredients you’ll need to make them. Check out these meal-planning tips

Here are examples of key items to include when planning your meals: 

  • Protein (e.g., chicken, fish, tofu, eggs) 
  • Vegetables (e.g., spinach, peppers, broccoli, carrots) 
  • Fruits (e.g., oranges, strawberries, bananas) 
  • Grains (e.g., brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal) 

Get creative with your meals and switch them up often so that your family doesn’t get bored with eating the same things every single week. Pinterest is a great resource for fresh ideas—check out this healthy meals Pinterest™ board for some inspiration. 

Buy generic brands. 

Ingredients to make pasta sit on a table.

It’s tempting to buy name-brand products just based on recognition, but the generic or store-brand items are often a lot more cost-effective AND nowadays, still offer organic options. 

In a lot of cases, there is no difference in the taste or quality of a generic-brand organic product. Oftentimes, the only reason name brands are so expensive is because they usually need to factor things like advertising into their prices, while store-brand products generally won’t pay for as much advertising. So, if it were essentially the same product, would you rather pay $5 or $2 for a box of oatmeal? 

Stay on the perimeter of the store. 

A basket is filled with carrots.

A good rule of thumb is to stay on the perimeter of the grocery store as much as possible. This is where you’ll find most of the unprocessed foods, from produce, to lean meats.  

If you reach your budget limit by filling up your cart with these foods first, you’ll be less likely to buy things from the center aisles—where most of the highly processed, less nutrient-dense, and oftentimes more expensive foods can be found. 

Eat before you shop. 

Peaches are being cut up.

Going to the store while hungry is one of the easiest ways to give into buying less healthy items. For this reason, make sure you’ve eaten something before you go shopping… it’s far more enjoyable this way! 

Don’t have time to make a full meal before going to the store? Grab something easy like an apple or yogurt. It’s also a good idea to store some quick snacks like protein bars in your car, so you can access them when you’re on the go. All you need is something that will help keep you full until you’re through the checkout line. 

Eat at home as often as possible. 

A salad sits on a table.

Date nights and family nights spent eating out are great for bonding, but they shouldn’t take place every single night. Eating out is expensive and it will add up over time. Making your food in your own kitchen is also a great way to know the exact ingredients going into your meal. 

You could turn cooking at home into a family night by getting everyone in the kitchen, making dinner together. Experiment with creating your own version of foods from your favorite restaurants, or maybe even try making some foods you’ve never had before.  

Need a little inspiration to get started? Check out this list for some ideas of healthy recipes for kids and families

Make Healthy Eating on a Budget a Routine.

Eating healthy requires planning and willpower, but by no means does it need to be expensive. By following these simple hacks, you should be able to pick up some habits that help you establish a routine over time. 

Don’t worry if you slip up every now and then. Forcing yourself into a completely restrictive diet 100% of the time is almost always destined to fail. Instead, focus on incorporating as many whole foods into your daily routine as possible. Your body will thank you! 

Want some more healthy tips from us? Check out this blog post on “Three Time-Saving Ways to Stay Healthy.”