When you have a tight budget, eating healthy meals on a consistent basis may seem impossible. However, with some small changes to your routine, you can eat healthier AND save money on your weekly food costs. You just need to implement the right shopping and food preparation strategies to eat nutritious meals without spending a fortune.
We’ve compiled proven techniques to help you get maximum value for your healthy food budget.
Plan your meals for the week
Meal planning will save you money on groceries because you will only purchase exactly what you need. Planning meals in advance will also save you from ordering takeout during the week. Grab the weekly flyer and consider basing your meal plan on items that are on sale.
DIY snack packs
Don’t buy snacks already bagged into single servings. It’s usually cheaper to buy a large bag and measure out servings at home. Use your Precision Digital Kitchen Scale to accurately measure servings and store servings in reusable containers. The Precision Kitchen Scale is an economical choice and has a recessed platform allowing you to effortlessly weigh items on the scale itself and the plastic design is easy to clean.
Make a grocery list
Don’t go to the store without a list and stick to what is on the list. This will save you from impulse buys which can drive up your bill.
Buy what’s in season
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are less expensive because they are more readily available and aren’t shipped in from other countries.
Buy in bulk
When you need staples, such as grains, beans, dried fruits, or nuts, the bulk bin is the cheapest method, even at pricier grocery chains. Plus, you get to choose the exact amount you need.
Buy frozen foods
If your produce tends to go bad before you can use it, consider buying frozen instead. It will last longer, requires little to no prep work, and it cooks quickly.
Use coupons and rebates
Take advantage of store coupons, manufacturer coupons, and rebate apps. Most stores also have customer loyalty cards and send you coupons tailored to your recent purchases.
Buy cheaper cuts of meat
Less expensive meat can be cooked in a slow cooker or a pressure cooker for a flavorful meal. These cooking processes help create a tender piece of meat, no matter what cut it is. A quality food thermometer can ensure your meat is cooked to perfection, resulting in less waste. Our Precision Pro Food Thermometer has a small 1.5mm probe that keeps the juices in the meat for a flavorful meal. The thermometer has a built-in temperature guide right on the casing, so you will always know when your meat is cooked to a safe temperature.
Stock up during sales
Stock up on staples and pantry items when they go on sale. They generally have a longer shelf life and won’t go bad quickly. If you have the room, stock up on meat when it’s on sale and freeze it for use at a later date.
Maximize your ingredients
Think beyond your initial dish. When you make a roast chicken you can use the leftovers for sandwiches, soups, stews, tacos, and a variety of other dishes. Roasted vegetables can be used in sandwiches or other casseroles and scraps from peeled and chopped vegetables can be used to make a vegetable soup.
Eat less meat
Meat is generally the most expensive part of a meal. Instead use beans and legumes to round out meals. Dried beans are inexpensive, high in protein, and filling.
Shop the perimeter
The freshest foods are found on the perimeter of the store. Skipping the center aisles means you’ll save money on prepackaged foods and you’ll avoid over processed foods.
Get the store brand
Store brands are often made by a major brand for the store and the store puts their own label on. Food manufacturers have to adhere to national guidelines for safety and quality.
Hit the farmers market
Not only will fruits and vegetables be at their freshest, farmers markets are usually a fraction of the price of stores. Hit the market toward the end of the day and the farmers will mark down their produce so they do not have to take it back with them.
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For more inspiration, Greatist compiled a list of 44 healthy foods that cost less than a dollar.