10 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

There are so many different ideas of what “healthy eating” is that it can get pretty confusing. But the truth is it’s easier and cheaper than you might think to have a healthy diet. Here are 10 tips for eating healthy on a budget.

  1. Avoid foods that come in a box, bag, or can. They’re pricey and usually loaded with salt, fat, or sugar. The two exceptions to this rule are low-sodium canned beans and canned tomatoes.

  2. Eat frozen fruits and veggies. This is often a cheaper option to buying fresh produce and frozen foods may even have more nutrients than fresh stuff.

  3. Buy cheap sources of protein. Replace meat with cheaper (and often healthier) sources of protein like beans, nuts, eggs, greek yogurt, and canned chunk light tuna.

  4. Ditch the cereal and make some oatmeal. Kids go through cereal quickly, and the dollars add up fast. Instead, choose oatmeal made from rolled oats for breakfast, which happens to be packed with fiber, takes only one minute to cook, and is one of the most inexpensive foods in the supermarket!

  5. Eat one cup of veggies with lunch, and one cup with dinner. Veggies like broccoli, spinach, kale, and carrots are not only super healthy, they’re super affordable! In fact, they’re some of the cheapest foods you can buy. Eating veggies at every meal not only does your body good, but is a surprisingly smart choice if you’re on a budget.

  6. Give beans a chance! Beans are an incredible source of lean protein. Dry beans are cheaper than canned beans, but do require quite a bit more prep time.

  7. Don’t drink sugar. You could save a bundle by cutting out sugary drinks like juice, sports drinks, and soda. These are also bad for your teeth and filled with calories. Instead, make water your drink of choice. From the tap, it costs next to nothing.

  8. Don’t buy brand-named foods. You’re paying for a pretty label. Instead go for the cheaper generic version. Once it’s out of the package, you’ll never be able to tell the difference!

  9. Eat at home. Meals you buy at restaurants (even fast food places) can be made for a fraction of the cost at home, and usually with fewer calories. If you know you’re going to be out of the house for a while, bring some home-made snacks with you.

  10. Save time by eating it raw. Don’t have time to cook? Grab a piece of fruit, a small handful of nuts, or some raw veggies like carrot or celery sticks.

Tricks for Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthy

Sneak in blended fruit and veggies: blend some spinach and put it in pancakes. Kids can’t taste the spinach, but they love the fun color! Another idea is to blend steamed cauliflower and mix it in with mashed potatoes.

Make fun shapes: Use fruit to make a funny face on a plate using grapes for eyes, a slice of apple for the mouth, and a banana slice for the nose. You can also do the same thing with vegetables.

Serve raw veggies with dip: Let’s face it. Sometimes those raw veggies just taste a whole lot better when you have something yummy to dip them in. But instead of buying a pricey pre-made dip or dressing, mix inexpensive greek yogurt with some salt and pepper and parsley in a blender. Celery also tastes great covered in peanut butter, which is also one of the more affordable items in the grocery store. Finish with some raisins on top to make the classic kids snack, “Ants on a Log.”

Give them a choice: Give kids a choice between three different vegetables to have with lunch or dinner. It’s a psychological trick that makes them feel like they were the ones who made the decision to eat the veggies, but really they were gonna have to eat them anyways.

Mix it in with their favorite meal: Put spinach into quesadillas, throw some veggies into pasta sauce to serve over spaghetti, or mix chopped steamed broccoli into mac and cheese.

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