While spending money on food is a basic necessity, it adds up fast if you stop paying attention. But if the notion of healthy food being pricey is preventing you from making changes to your lifestyle, think again! Because eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t stick to your budget
Here are seven clever ways to eat healthy while sticking to a tight budget:
Order From Pocket-Friendly Restaurants
Step one to eating healthy and budget-friendly is to start cooking your meals. That being said, you can’t transition into a full-time home-cooked lifestyle instantly and are allowed to order food once in a while.
Ordering meals online doesn’t mean you can’t stick to your budget or diet plan. There are many restaurants and food chains that offer healthy food at unbelievably low prices. For instance, you can order Quesadillas from Chipotle for $5 or get a healthy Corn Chips & Salsa Snack for $1.95 only.
Always Create A Grocery List
Before any grocery shopping trip, make sure to create a list of ingredients that you need. When you don’t have a list, you will grab onto things you don’t need. So make it a point to write things down and then stick to your list.
Another pro tip is to never shop on an empty stomach. If you buy groceries when you are hungry, you will cross your budget and bag unhealthy items like sugary drinks and packaged snacks.
Plan Your Meals In Advance
Meal prepping will help you in creating a discipline for your diet as well as spendings. When you already have planned your meals for the week, the urge to impulsively order a pizza when you are hungry will also simmer down.
Plan your meals keeping into account the days you won’t be cooking, or might need to cook more for some guests, and so on. It will help you pinpoint the ingredients you will need to cook your meals. Clean out your pantry and refrigerator to see everything you already have so that you don’t end up buying things you already have stocked. As a result, you won’t be spending on anything other than the absolute necessities.
Buy Frozen Fruits And Vegetables
Don’t underestimate the benefits of frozen vegetables and fruits. You can find them on sale in large portions, which means you end up paying less for more. Besides, unlike fresh fruits or vegetables, frozen food will never rot, and you can stock them in your freezer for long periods.
And as long as you avoid vegetables that have added salt or sugar, they are just as healthy. You can use them for cooking, making healthy smoothies, or add them as toppings for oatmeal or yogurt. Moreover, frozen fruits and vegetables don’t have the limitation of being available in selective seasons. You can shop these bags throughout the year without any price inflation.
Don’t Throw The Leftover
When you cook in large quantities and eat smaller portions, you are bound to have leftovers. Instead of creating waste and throwing them away, you can reheat your food and enjoy it the next day without worrying about cooking new meals. It will ultimately result in your grocery supply lasting much longer.
You can freeze leftovers in Tupperware, and soon enough, you will have a freezer full of homemade meals ready to heat up and devour. Plus, leftovers can be reused in cooking stews, stir-fries, salads, burritos, and much more
Learn Portion Control
Learning portion control is a great step towards regulating expenditure and calorie intake. Instead of eating 3-4 large meals in your day, try to break down your meals into smaller portions at frequent intervals throughout the day.
You can also use smaller plates when serving and measure staples (Rice, Quinoa, or Pasta) at the time of cooking to avoid wastage. Not only will you have more leftovers for the next day, but you also won’t need to shop as often as you would otherwise - hence cutting down on your monthly expenditure.
Replace Your Meat With Other Substitutes
Meat is any day more expensive than a bag full of vegetables. By replacing meat with other protein substitutes (eggs, legumes, canned fish, etc), you can eat equally nutritious food for cheaper. Besides, your vegetarian meals will last much longer than a steak or sausages.
But if you still feel like cooking a non-veg meal, go for cheaper cuts of meat like chuck steak, braising steak, whole chicken, or ground meat. These work best with burritos, casseroles, soups, stews, and stir-fries. Granted, they will take slightly longer to cook, but slow cooking will break down the fibers, giving a delicious taste to your food at a low price.
Make smart choices and start eating healthy without scorching a hole in your wallet. Even when you indulge in those occasional takeout nights, you can choose healthily and enjoy a delicious meal that is good for both your health and wallet.