By simply perusing the organic aisle at the grocery store, you may be forced to believe that eating healthy while sticking to a budget is the opposite.
However, contrary to this belief, making intelligent, delicious, and healthy choices on what goes to your plate does not have to cost an arm and leg. The not-so-healthy fast food and convenience meals can easily sneak up on you and end up being extremely expensive in the long run. Eating healthy can be affordable, fun, delicious, and end up saving money in the long run. Eating healthy not only saves you money that would otherwise be spent in a doctor's clinic but also, by using a few tricks, saves you money in your kitchen. Sticking to a few simple guidelines when shopping, selecting, and preparing your meals will allow you and your loved ones to enjoy healthy, delicious meals. So how do you save money while eating healthy?
Start By Spending a Bit More Time in Your Kitchen
Sometimes, convenience can be your most prominent enemy. Not having to do any dishes and buying food is very convenient. However, by selling you convenience, food stores will raise the prices of already prepped foods. So if you want affordable, healthy meals, avoid paying for packaging and brands and prep your food yourself. The advantages of home cooking cannot be overstated. Not only do you have total control over what you eat, but you get to enjoy trying out new recipes and dishes. Cooking your meals also means carrying packed lunch. With a bit of dish fore-planning, you will comfortably save while enjoying delicious, healthy, homemade meals.
Buy Generic Brands
A visit to the grocery store will reveal to you that, in many instances, foods are stocked both by brand names and generics. Generic brands offer a similar quality, safety, and nutritional value as their name-brand counterparts. Generics also are cheaper as compared to name-brand versions and, as such, cost-effective. However, it is advisable to compare ingredient lists and nutritional labels on brand and generic food products. Comparing ensures that you are not compromising price over quality.
Plan Your Meals
Meal planning in advance helps you save time and money. Take some time weekly to draft a meal plan, a shopping list, and a period to prep your weekly meals. Focus on ingredients with a shorter shelf life (Fresh fruits and vegetables) and switch between various spices, whole grains, and legumes. Weekly meal planning can help streamline your shopping list while diversifying your diet. While planning your meals, consider going for less meat. Meat can be pricey as compared to plant-based protein. Swapping meats with legumes or whole grain is way cheaper and lasts longer in your fridge or pantry.
Eat Seasonal Produce
Seasonal fruits and veggies are fresher, more flavorful, and cheaper than foods prepared out of season. Seasonal produce is often harvested at peak ripeness and not transported far, making it spend lesser time from the farmer to your grocery store. While planning your meals, use online guides detailing the veggies and fruits in season and the market nearest to you. You can also decide to visit a local farmer's market to serve a similar purpose.
Save Your Scraps
You will often discard many parts of your meats and produce while preparing home-cooked healthy meals. Finding creative and exciting ways to utilize your food scraps can comfortably save you some cash while grocery shopping. You can decide to cut stale bread into cubes and oven bake them into homemade croutons, freeze leftover herbs, or use vegetable stalks and stems to make soups.
Buy Frozen Produce
Utilizing all your fresh fruits and veggies before they go stale can be a challenge. Frozen produce comes as a cheaper and readily available alternative. Produce is often cut up and frozen at its prime. The latter ensures that frozen food will have a similar nutritional value as fresh produce but have a longer shelf life. Longer shelf life means that you will comfortably cut back on waste and thus make more savings. The utility of frozen food cannot be overstated. Frozen fruit can be tossed into a smoothie or mixed with yogurt or oatmeal. Frozen vegetables are a great addition to stir-fries. You can also decide to bake them, saute, or roast them to create a simple, healthy, and delicious side meal.
Start a Kitchen Vegetable and Herb Garden
Vegetable waste and kitchen refuse is an excellent way to create compost in your kitchen. The compost can then be utilized to start a vegetable and herb garden. Fresh herbs and spices are excellent for boosting the flavor of your favorite dishes. However, fresh herbs and spices can have off-putting prices. Growing your spices, veggies, and herbs can be your cost-cutting hobby. You do not need to have any agricultural training. Having some soil, seeds, and a well-lit, sunny backyard or window is enough to sustain an indoor garden. Indoor gardening is quite trendy and is a hobby you can pick up. If your apartment is not well lit, do not despair. An indoor hydroponic garden with LED lights can achieve the same objective.
Buy in Bulk and Proper Storage of Your Food
Buying in bulk is very cost-efficient. When bought in bulk, certain foods are cheaper, and thus you can eat healthy foods on a budget. Grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes are excellent options to consider buying in bulk. However, when buying in bulk, steer clear of most animal produce. Dairy, eggs, and meats have a significantly shorter shelf life. Proper storage involves using air-tight containers and freezing your food. Avoid keeping your dairy on the door of your fridge. Freeze your meats if you are not using them immediately. Using the above tips, you will comfortably eat delicious, healthy meals even when on a budget. Healthy foods are not necessarily boiled, tasteless vegetables. There are recipes for delicious, healthy, home-cooked meals.