Despite popular mythos, eating healthy doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. In fact, it could actually save you money if you follow these tips!
Save money with grocery lists or shop online.
A list will keep you on track when you’re grocery shopping and help prevent you from buying things you don’t need. Similarly, ordering your groceries online from stores that offer pickup or delivery services can help you stick to your healthy eating diet. As an example, H-E-B offers Curbside Pickup at certain store locations.
Never shop when you’re hungry!
Studies show that it doesn’t matter whether you’re buying food or non-food items—people tend to purchase more when they’re hungry. If you’re trying to save money, it may be a good idea to fill up on energy-dense foods like almonds or walnuts before you shop. You may also want to drink a glass of water or milk since dehydration is often mistaken for hunger.
Buy in-season produce.
When you shop according to the season, you’re buying food that is at its nutritional peak and its supply peak. This makes it cheaper to harvest and ship the produce, in turn reducing the cost to the consumer at the grocery store. By following the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Seasonal Produce Guide, you’ll always know what’s in season and what’s not. Some of the foods that stay in-season throughout all four seasons include apples, bananas and carrots.
Purchase frozen and in bulk.
Many people don’t know that frozen produce is usually just as nutritious, and sometimes even more nutritious, than fresh produce. This makes it easy to stock up on fruits and vegetables without having to worry about the short shelf life of fresh produce. You’ll save money by purchasing in bulk and won’t have to worry about food going bad before you can eat it.
Eat less meat.
Some of the most expensive items on most people’s grocery lists are meat. But you can get your fill of protein from other less expensive foods and save meat for special occasions. Quinoa, for example, is a protein-packed grain that cooks similarly to rice. A single bag of quinoa can produce dozens of servings of protein. Eggs are also a good source of protein and often cheaper than meat. Seeds and beans pack tons of protein, and you can buy them in bulk, saving you money.
Fill up on healthy whole grains.
Whole grain foods are usually found in the form of oatmeals and cereals. Since whole grains have fewer calories packed into higher density food, you’ll feel full relatively quickly and reduce your risk of overeating. Because of this, adding whole grains to your diet strategy can be helpful if you’re trying to lose weight and save money on food.
Drink more water.
As mentioned before, dehydration is often mistaken for hunger. Filling up on water helps ensure you don’t accidentally overeat while keeping you hydrated throughout the day. Even better—water is one of the cheapest drinks you can have (as long as you’re not buying it pre-bottled or otherwise packaged). Most restaurants will serve water for free, and drinking from the tap is inexpensive. And if you’re worried about the quality of your tap water, purchasing a water filter may be a good investment. Sure, it’ll cost you cash up front. But over the long run, it will probably save you money on drinking water.
Make your own salad dressing.
Salad dressing is surprisingly easy to make on your own! A solid base for a good dressing is one part vinegar and three parts oil with salt and pepper to taste. Play with the flavor by changing either of those components. Try using apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar. You can pair it with olive oil, sesame oil or canola oil. You can also add extra zest with lemon juice or another citric fruit. A little garlic could also take the flavor to the next level!
All of the money-saving tips in this blog can be useful on your healthy eating journey, but only if you have a strong financial foundation. If you’d like a little help building a new budget for your healthy lifestyle, take a look at our free Monthly Budget Tool on Generations Academy. Good luck and happy eating!
Samantha Salazar is a University of Texas at Austin alum who has worked in the finance and marketing industry since 2011. She has a background as a CUNA Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor and is a Class II graduate of the Latina Leadership Institute (LLI). True to her millennial nature, Samantha loves coffee, covers her home in hanging plants, lives a frugal lifestyle, and works hard so that her dog, Olive, can have the backyard she deserves.