Whenever you put together food and budget in the same sentence, most people automatically think of limited grocery options and bad eating habits. This, however, is nothing more than a common misconception that has been perpetuated over the years. Sure, being on a budget means not being able to give in to temptation and splurge on gourmet or expensive foods or eating out every night but it certainly doesn’t limit your choices in terms of nutritional value and quality. Not convinced? Read our tips below and then see for yourself.
The Power of the Plan
The two most important things when grocery shopping on a strict budget are the weekly meal plan and the shopping list. Make a plan together with your family, taking into consideration new recipes and seasonal options, then write your shopping list accordingly. These two things alone (provided you stick to them) are guaranteed to shave dollars off your grocery bill in one go.
Buying locally “harvested” products doesn’t only benefit the community and the environment, it is also good for your budget and health. Why? Locally produced foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat, imply less packaging and reduced distribution costs while also being tastier, more nutritious and certainly fresher than their long distance counterparts.
Although it might sound like a strain on the budget, buying in bulk can definitely save you wads of cash in the long term. From legumes and whole-grain flours to trail mix and coffee, bulk shopping is a smart and effective move when it comes to cutting down grocery expenses.
Less [Meat] is More
Reducing meat consumption has been proven by countless studies (read more here) to have huge health benefits, reducing the risk of conditions such as Obesity, Diabetes and Cancer. Even more so, cutting meat out of your diet can increase your longevity while considerably decreasing your household food costs. If you’re worried about protein intake, there are many plant based alternatives that can offer the same nutritional value, if not better: rice and beans, whole soy, lentils, different types of nuts, peanut butter etc. Quite the yummy alternative, but in case it is hard to let go of chicken and pork, at least go for turkey, cow or fish – no more than 70g/day.
Food to Go
Why buy your workday lunches (other than convenience) instead of making your own? Homemade salads and whole grain sandwiches are just two from the many healthy options which are quick and easy to prepare. Make a habit out of preparing your own lunch the evening before and your body and wallet will thank you for it.
We all need to indulge from time to time, this is absolutely true! But what’s good for the morale doesn’t have to be bad for your health nor for your budget. You just have to change your strategy a little bit: instead of eating highly processed desserts, choose a fruit you have never tasted before or, if you’re a safe player, go for a fruit with a flavor you love. Better yet, why not make your own fruit popsicles and smoothies? If you’re worried about how your children will react, you can make these fruity desserts a resounding success by adding cocoa and vanilla powder to the mix.
Tasty, healthy and cheap – what more could you want? Follow these simple rules and you’ll see a big improvement, not only on your grocery bill but also in terms of health, tonus and lifestyle.