It’s almost impossible to miss the constant reminders that you should be eating food that is good for you, but the cost of fresh, healthy food can seem daunting to families on a limited budget. The good news is that eating healthy doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Check out these budget-busting tips to enjoy hearty, healthy food that won’t break the bank.
Plan your grocery shopping. Supermarkets are very adept at finding ways to encourage you to spend more money, but if you plan your trip carefully, the Iowa State University Extension claims that you then can knock 15 percent off the cost of your weekly shopping trip. Look out for items that are advertised at reduced prices, plan meals and recipes that include those ingredients, and build your grocery list around the best items to buy during your visit. Make a list and stick to it. Don’t let the promotional advertising lure you into buying things that you don’t want.
Plan ahead and cook ahead. Great, healthy meals can often be prepared in larger quantities that you can divide into portions and save for another time. Making a big batch of a particular meal can be more cost-effective, and you can simply freeze what you don’t need. This also takes away some of the burden of cooking for busy families, as cooking time on certain evenings can simply be a case of reheating a frozen meal. Try to ensure that there is plenty of variety in your menu plan. Eating healthy quickly becomes boring if you eat the same things.
Eat seasonal, local foods. Food that is produced locally is generally cheaper than food that has to be shipped in from a long distance. Seasonal food is generally the freshest, tastiest food that you can buy and is normally cheaper, too. Don’t rely solely on supermarkets, either. Local farmers’ markets can be a great way to buy fresh food directly from the supplier, reducing cost by cutting out the middleman. Check out different online tools if you need help finding out what’s in season.
Get smart with coupons. Many retailers and manufacturers continue to offer discount coupons, either on specific products or on a minimum-priced purchase. Sadly, retailers are more likely to use coupons and promotional offers to entice customers to purchase unhealthy, processed foods that are high in fat and sugar. Don’t be enticed by discounts to buy inferior food. Stick to coupons that allow you to save money on your total purchase or target healthier products.
Learn about nutritional labeling. Health claims and nutrition information on food is governed in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA exercises strict controls over what claims mean and which foods can display those claims. Become a savvy shopper by learning about food labeling and making informed choices about the foods that you buy for your family.