Are you trying to eat healthy on a tight budget? For some reason healthy eating seems to have an expensive reputation. There’s a big misconception that in order to eat healthy you have to have a rather healthy budget to match and that is absolutely not true. While you could easily rack up a rather hefty bill eating organic acai bowls and the latest trendy super foods, eating a balanced, healthy diet is easy to manage on a budget. As with all shopping, it depends on where you shop, what you buy, and what you do with it!
Our 5 best tips for healthy eating on a tight budget
1. Buy what’s in season
Fruit and vegetables that are in season are cheap! With the exception of people living in remote areas, there are always at least 2 or 3 fruits and vegetables for under $2 a kilo. Fruit and vegetable markets are generally cheaper than grocery stores, but even if you are limited to the big stores they always have some on special. Plan your meals around the cheapest fresh produce and you’ll be amazed at what you can make. By making an effort to eat only cheap, seasonal produce you will find yourself getting a lot of value (and nutrition) for your money.
2. Eat more vegetarian meals
You don’t need to become a vegetarian, but aiming for one or two meat free meals a week will certainly save your money. Beans and lentils are unbelievably cheap as well as being extremely nutritious. They also easily fill you up, so a little goes a long way. Popular recipe sites have plenty of simple vegetarian recipes to get you started and if you can’t commit to a full vegetarian meal try adding beans or lentils to traditional meat dishes like bolognaise or chilli to bulk them out.
3. Buy in bulk
Most items are cheaper when you buy more. Think about the healthy foods you like to eat and buy larger portions of them. Buy bulk meat, fish and chicken when it’s on special. Separate them into smaller portion sizes and freeze them. Think about the other items you eat lots of like brown rice, beans or lentils and buy them in bulk too.
4. Make it from scratch
Cooking from scratch will save you a significant amount of money. Even the fanciest meal is cheaper made at home, but if you keep it simple you can easily keep your costs per serve low. Casseroles and stir fries are always cheap and you if you cook extra you can have the leftovers for lunch as well. Use your in season vegetables in as many main meals as possible and also as healthy side dishes.
5. Organize a co-op
If bulk buying and cooking doesn’t fit in your budget, organise a co-op with friends or family. Shop in bulk together and split the costs of the items (this works great for bulk buying meat or fruit and vegetables). You can even organise a co-op for cooking. Cook bulk healthy meals and share them with each other. This way you all get a fridge or freezer full of different healthy meals without having to spend a fortune on different ingredients.
Remember healthy eating on a budget is easier than you think. With a little bit of planning and organising you can eat a balanced, healthy diet on a very limited budget.