Anyone who’s ever considered revamping their diet in an attempt to eat healthier tends to run into the same obstacles. Some are unsure how to prepare lean proteins, fish, or vegetables in a way that will make them as delicious as they are nutritious. Others have trouble falling into ruts or with getting their families excited about new foods that may be healthier and lower in calories than what they’re used to.
Just about everyone balks at the comparatively high costs attached to the healthiest options at the grocery store. However, it’s far from impossible to make the switch to a healthier diet without going broke in the process. It simply requires smart shopping and know-how on your part. Here are some ideas to start with.
1. Reach for the organic versions of store brand products.
More and more major grocery stores are starting to offer healthier, organic versions of the same store brand products that have been saving people money for years. Store-brand organic options usually cost considerably less than the name brand alternatives. They can even be cheaper than name brand options that are not organic.
2. Cut down on meat consumption.
Lowering your consumption of animal proteins is already an excellent way to lower your intake of fats and overall calories at the same time. However, it’s also an excellent way to lower your grocery bill, as animal proteins are incredibly expensive in relation to other foods. Try raising the quality level of the meat you buy, but eating less of it on the whole. Replace the extra meat you’re used to with healthful portions of bulky, nutrition-rich legumes and whole grains like red beans, brown rice, and barley.
3. Buy basics in bulk.
When it comes to items you and your family use frequently, it pays to buy in bulk when and where you can. Focus on non-perishable items with long shelf lives when it comes to your bulk buying. Examples include pasta, dried fruit, nuts, beans, whole grains, and flour. People who are not interested in investing in a membership to a dedicated bulk store like Costco or Sam’s Club can typically find these items in bulk at any grocery store.
4. Buy seasonally when and where you can.
Choosing seasonal foods whenever possible is more than just a great way to fill your plate with fresher, more nutritious options. Since the items you’re purchasing don’t need to be shipped from the other side of the world to find their way to your table, they tend to be less expensive. If you and your family have seasonal favorites that you absolutely can’t live without the rest of the year, then consider stocking up when prices are at their lowest and then canning, drying, or freezing some of your haul to enjoy once the season is over. This is a terrific way to preserve the nutritional value of your favorite fruits and vegetables while staying well within the budget.
5. Pay attention to coupons and sales.
Don’t dismiss coupons as some outmoded throwback to your grandmother’s day. Smart, frugal shoppers know that even the smallest discounts can add up over time and make feeding your family healthy, wholesome foods affordable. Yes, clip-friendly paper coupons still sometimes appear in newspaper mailers and magazines. However, some of the best deals these days are digital in nature. Follow your favorite brands on social media for special deals, and comb the Internet for virtual options that can be downloaded to your phone or printed if you prefer.
6. Get into growing some of your own food.
Starting a homegrown veggie and herb garden is a fantastic way to keep your fridge stocked with fresh, organic, flavorful seasonal produce all year round. Maintaining your garden as a team is also an excellent way to make cherished memories with your spouse or children. Start small with forgiving, easy-to-grow veggies like radishes, carrots, lettuces, zucchini, and beets. When you’re ready, research additional options that grow well in your area and branch out.
Eating healthy on a tight budget is not complicated. All it takes is an understanding of how to shop wisely, combined with a knack for being resourceful at home. Explore the possibilities today.