Other than rent, nourishment and food costs are what compose the bulk of most of our budgets. However, in a bind, most of us turn to fast food or other not-so-healthy options. The following are 7 Ways to Eat Right for Cheap. But always remember the most important fact, we can pay now or pay later (in suffering and doctor bills etc) – when it comes to our dietary discipline and choices.
1. Choose Produce not Packages: People think eating healthy is about buying a lot of expensive boxes and packages of processed foods, but that isn’t the case at all.
The cheapest most nutritious foods in a grocery store can be found in the produce isle. Fresh fruits and vegetables. Trying to buy costly packaged goods, potato chips and sugary juices and all kinds of over processed items, even at a health food store is when the budget starts to soar. When we feel we don’t have time to cook we often go for a lot of “quick fix” items like pizzas and pre-cut bags of French fries and stuff like that. That’s where the money adds up. But if you fill your basket with fresh greens and fruits and some basic staples like rice, noodles, beans you will not only have an optimal basket of nutritious foods … you will have saved a great deal of money on the food bill and subsequent doctor bills. Eat real foods and save real money. If you are worried the fruits and veggies will spoil before you eat them, read on to number 2!
2. Cook Big and Save Some for Later: Cooking meals in large batches and freezing the leftovers for later in the week or month can save you a lot of time and money.
Instead of buying fast food or eating out at restaurants, or even cooking a full meal every time you get hungry, it’s way more cost effective and time saving and healthy for you to pull something out of the freezer and warm it up than it is to wash/chop/slice/boil/bake/wait in line/wait to be served etc.
Pre-preparing and freezing weekly sized portions of rice or salad choppings or beans etc will simplify your meal duties. Even if you have to do a little cooking you will still save money and time seven days a week. Spend an hour or so over the weekend like on a Sunday evening preparing food for the week. Then, during the week, all you have to do is pull something out of the freezer and heat it up.
3. Soup Up your Options: Large vegetable soups over brown rice or whole grain noodles pack in vitamins and nutrients, fill you up and are easy to make and delicious. Also Bean burritos, chili, and bean soup can be easily prepared, cheap and good for you. Going totally meatless a couple of times a week (or for good) also helps your budget and gives your palate a variety to enjoy. Frozen veggies, which are inexpensive, work great in Soups. Nothing compares to that good, filling, feeling of a hot and hearty bowl of Soup. Cheap, packed with nutrients, and easy to prepare.
4. Make A Plan and See Where Ya Values Are: Budgets help us see where our money is really going not where we feel like its going. Budgeting is also a master ingredient to financial stability in general, so not only will it help identify funds that can be used toward more healthful food choices; its an essential tool to manage our financial responsibilities better in general. Usually when we make a budget we can see plenty of stuff we can do without to make room for healthier eating choices. You may say “shoot, I dont make enough money to budget it!” lol, but you don’t have to make a lot of money to benefit from budgeting. Budgeting helps what ever we make stretch farther and get more of what we truly value out of what we have. When we values ourselves more than our things we make healthier choices. Budget, prioritize and prosper. But in our best interest, We have to value our health above all these other things, and make eating healthy a priority in terms of how we spend the resources we have.
5. Season your Food: Eat fruits and vegetables that are in season, that is! Otherwise you’ll be paying a much higher price. For example, if you live in the north east United States and you want some watermelon in the middle of the Winter of December, it’s going to have to be shipped from wherever it is in season to your local market and you pay that extra cost. Also, eating foods that are current in their natural growing season helps strengthen your immune system for that season. Seasonal Fruits can be frozen and blended to smoothies. Frozen vegetables also can be used to make a stir fry. They’re convenient and they don’t spoil quickly like fresh fruits and veggies.
6. Join a Co-op or Local Community Garden: You get discounts on your groceries by being a member of grocery store co-ops. In exchange for your minimal volunteer work hours per month, you get your groceries at Co-op member’s only price. Same thing goes for community gardens. And not only that you get to learn a WHOLE lot about nutrition and health being in that kind of environment.
7. Drink more water. Many times we think we are hungry, it may be actually a sign of thirst.